Interview: Rob Davidson

The first round of the British Championship got underway a few weeks ago and one of the surprises of the weekend was Rob Davidson. The SJP Moto Husqvarna rider made a late decision to switch from the 250 to the 450 machine for the season ahead. Judging by his early season form, it looks to have been a very good decision.

He ended up fifth overall at the first round of the British Championship and backed it up with a second overall at the first round of the British Masters that took place at the weekend.

The MX Nationals series gets underway this weekend and Rob Davidson could be one to keep an eye on as if he keeps up this kind of riding he could be at the very front. At just twenty years old he has a long time in front of him on the 450 so there is a lot of potential there with his future.

We decided to sit down and catch up with Rob about his impressive start to the season.

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Gatedrop: You’re still young but you decided to switch from the 250 to the 450 for this season, what were the races for that decision to be made?

Rob Davidson: Well, I was fully expecting to be racing the MX2 class this year, we already had the bikes ready for winter training so it was a last minute decision really! I was just bored of riding the small bike as I’ve always had a 350 to train on and always enjoyed riding it, I just never raced one.

I’m not the smallest or lightest guy out there and was really struggling with starts, I was really not having a fun time racing as I was always at the back from the starts. But yeah, it’s always been in the back of my mind to race the big bikes and I just thought a change would be good for me and give me something new to work with and its worked really well.

Gatedrop: How did you feel when you first rode the 450 and how did your winter preparation go?

Rob Davidson: Yeah, from the start I loved the power of the bike, it’s really helped me and I have some good help from the guys at SJP Moto and my mechanic Leighton got the 450 setup just how I like it from the get go.  I had all the parts I’m used to riding with from the first ride so we haven’t been messing around.

The winter has been pretty good I had a bit of off time at the end of last year and got straight back into it around the start of December. I didn’t really have any problems so it was all good.

Gatedrop: The first round of the British Championship was good for you, you must have been happy with how it went?

Rob Davidson: Yeah, I was happy with the results and everything.  To say I had never done a start on the 450 till that day I was happy to get a second and a hole-shot off the start where I haven’t done that in years! But, yeah all round it was a good day and a real confidence boost for me and the full team.  We had put a lot of effort in over the winter and to get something out of it straight away is a good feeling.

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Gatedrop: Where you a little bit surprised by how well you did at the first round of the British at Culham battling with the likes of Irwin, Whatley and Anderson?

Rob Davidson: Well, yeah and no. Really, my target was top 9 and I was inside that all day and with two consistent races I got a 5th overall, which I would have snatched your hand off for at the start of the day.

It’s weird no matter how well you do, you always want more until your on the top step! There was definitely room for improvement and things I would change but for the first round I’m happy and it’s the best start to the year that I’ve ever had. For sure I’ve looked up to them guys for years and to race with them was strange but that’s where I want to be and I just need to treat them like any other rider on the race track.

Pic: Elliot Spencer

Gatedrop: You rode Hawkstone at the first round of the British Masters and again showed good speed, where you happy with how it went?

Rob Davidson: Hawkstone was just a last minute, Friday night sat at home and bored decision. I thought I would have a blast and get some racing on the 450 really. We had some stuff to test and to ride that track is always fun.

I was happy my speed was good and really should have been a better result, but I just had some problems that were my own fault and only I can work on it with some mistakes but its all heading in the right direction. I really can’t complain and it will come with time I can assure you that.

Gatedrop: Before the start of the season what were your expectations?

Rob Davidson: For the first British my target was a top 9 result.  I was happy with anything in that I didn’t know where I was going to be heading into the first round so I made a realistic goal, it’s always a win when you hit your target.

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Gatedrop: Have your expectations changed any since your speed and results have been good so far this season? 

Rob Davidson: Yeah, of course you always have to keep making new goals or you would be stood still! As I said my goal was a top 9 and my next goal would be a top 5 but I’ve made that now so I have my eyes set on getting on the box and I will be doing everything in my power to make that happen.

I have everything I need to make it happen and a really good program going at the minute with my mechanic Leighton Haigh, we seem to be making some good progress and it’s working so we will keep at it.

Gatedrop: What are your plans for the rest of the season? 

Rob Davidson: We set out to only race the British championship and the MX Nationals but we may do some one offs if we get the time.

Gatedrop: Will you compete at any races outside the UK this year?

Rob Davidson: I haven’t planned to do anything as of yet.  I may wild card into some of the MXGPs if we get a chance, it’s just a really big ask for us but you never know.

Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?

Rob Davidson: Firstly, I would like to thank my mum and dad for the endless support and hours of time and effort over all the years! The full SJP Moto Husqvarna team, Steve the team owner for the hard work. Leighton for putting in the over time week in, week out and having the bike perfect for every moto. All the sponsors for helping with all the little things in between I’m thankful for everyone’s help and happy to be getting the results everyone deserves – thank you.

Pics: Elliot Spencer