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Interview: Tom Vialle on that debut ride in Houston

Interview: Tom Vialle on that debut ride in Houston

We caught up with Tom Vialle to talk about his super impressive debut supercross ride at Houston, adapting to the USA and supercross and we touch on that epic world title battle with Jago Geerts last season.

Tom, pretty amazing debut ride last weekend, led your first supercross, and you were on for a podium, how do you look back at that event, are you happy with your speed or disappointed your couldn’t hang on for third?

A little bit of both, but I would say pretty happy for my first supercross. It’s really new for me, my first time riding supercross at night in a stadium, it was really huge to be honest. The rhythms are big! When you watch on TV you are like, ‘aw that’s easy,’ but when you are here and riding it’s really different.

Overall, pretty happy but a little bit pissed with myself to make a mistake so close to the finish riding in P3 but, overall it was good.

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The track, just walking it here, it is a lot more narrow than it looks on TV, did you feel that riding?

The riding is a little bit better to be honest but when you walk the track, you are like this is huge but on on the bike it’s a little bit smaller to be honest. The rhythms are really sharp, you need to be precise but that’s what we work on training during the week. I am pretty happy with how the week’s training goes and also last week during the race, my riding on the track was pretty good.

Did you expect to be running top three pace straight away or did you expect to work your way up?

Yeah, I didn’t expect to be so quickly up front with those guys like Hunter and all those guys up front, they are riding so many years supercross, and they have a lot of experience in the races. Training is one thing but the race is something else but it was pretty nice, I still have a lot to learn but that’s why we are here.

How are you adapting to living in America – you are based here in Florida with Aldon Baker? How has that been compared to training in Lommel in the winter?!

For sure, different! Like today, the weather is like this every day, it’s pretty hot. I am training hard, but I was also training hard in Belgium. The training is not really different, but what makes it hard here is the heat, it’s really hot and humid every day so you sweat a lot. Riding supercross every day for me is new for my body also, it is much more intense than doing a 30 minute moto in Lommel for example. Physically that is also hard but different, a lot different, so I need to get used to it and in three or four months it’s pretty difficult to get used to, but I am getting better each week.

At the MXON Jago (Geerts) jumped on a 450 and was running with Eli, Maxime (Renaux) won a race as well. You have obviously raced them for years, did that give you any confidence coming here, that you could be up there, especially outdoors but even coming into supercross?

For sure, when you see Jago riding really nice in the Nations and we fight all year together so we have the same speed I think, it was really nice to see him in front and riding with Eli, to jump on a 450 only two weeks before I think, so be straight up in front, that was pretty nice to see.

Just on your world title, that was one of the most incredible final rounds I have ever seen! You made a mistake, Jago crashed into you and you won the title. How was that for pressure, you don’t really make many mistakes but that was a white hot pace.

Yeah, it was a crazy race, just remembering, if you watch, it was more pressure than being in the race, it was okay, you don’t think so much about it. It was a really nice battle with Jago, it was so close, it was a nice season battling with him.

You are getting a lot of support from your GP colleagues, even Jago i think is happy to see how well you are doing, is it nice to see that support from home?

Yeah, we rode together, so when you go somewhere else and do okay it is nice to see that the guy you are riding with can do it there, so it is pretty nice to see.

So I will be in Hawkstone in two weeks, it will probably be cold and wet – do you miss those pre-season races?

A little bit! Hawkstone is a tough race, it is raining pretty much every year but it’s a nice race.

Interview and image: Jonathan McCready