Irish MXoN Stories: Trevor Cubitt – Part One
Trevor Cubitt might not have had a long Motocross career because at the age of 23 he decided to stop racing but despite a short Motocross career he done a lot of things most riders from this country can only dream of.
Not only did Cubitt win an Irish Championship in 2000 during his last year of racing but he also represented Ireland at the Motocross Des Nations on two occasions in France and Spain. Part one of our interview takes a look back at those events, part two is coming soon.
Gatedrop: What year(s) did you represent Ireland at the Motocross Des Nations and at what tracks/countries?
Cubitt: 1996 in Jerez, Spain and 2000 in St. Jean D’Angely, France.
Gatedrop: The first time you got the call to represent Ireland at this event, how did it feel to get selected?
Cubitt: Yes, it was awesome. At the time, in 1996, I felt I was comfortably the third fastest rider but was initially picked as the reserve rider. Philip Neill was an accomplished 500 rider and I had no 500 so that was that. In those days you had to have a 125, 250 and 500 rider, later it was changed to the Open class. When Philip got injured, I got the call. The trouble was that I was a skinny 19 year old with no 500. My good friend at the time, Brian Steele lent me his 500 Honda. I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity if it wasn’t for Brian and Tony Steele, I have much gratitude to them.
Gatedrop: What top riders were you up against from other countries to give people an idea of the level – do you remember which nation and individual riders that won (also who were your Irish team mates)?
Cubitt: In 1996, as well as myself, team Ireland was Brian Steele and Gordon Crockard and in 2000, Gordon Crockard and Adam Lyons. In 1996, the Americans dominated the event with Jeremy McGrath on the 250, Jeff Emig on 500 and Steve Lamson on the 125. They were awesome around the Jerez track. It would have been similar to the American tracks, there were lots of jumps which would have well suited their riding styles. Everts was a 250 rider at the time but dropped back to 125 for the event. Paul Malin had just finished second in the world to Tortelli, who was virtually unbeatable that year. I think it was in practise, Paul injured his back, casing a massive triple jump. Sadly, that marked the end of Paul’s career. None of team Ireland attempted that triple.
Again in 2000, team USA won with Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Hughes and Travis Pastrana. Ricky Carmichael was brilliant but a young Travis Pastrana was amazing to watch. All the hype was focused on the 125 race between Pastrana and Grant Langston. Langston would later move to compete in the States alongside Pastrana. I think it was the qualifying race that Langston got away first, followed by Pastrana. It was an amazing race to watch, both riders were immense and it looked like Pastrana couldn’t find a way past the South African until he hit a downhill jump completely flat out and from the side angle it looked like he jumped right over Langston to get braked enough not over-shooting the 180 degree hairpin at the bottom. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the last time they banged bars that weekend.
Gatedrop: What were the tracks like at the MXoN you rode and did you feel you were well enough prepared for them?
Cubitt: Jerez was probably the best track I ever rode. St. Jean D’Angely is a fantastic track too, but really quite stoney, it’s still a world class track and continues to be in use today, with some changes. The closely laid out track at St Jean D’Angely was a good venue for spectators to get close to the action and also good for the riders to feel the energy from the spectators all around the track. On the bike you could see the fans so clearly it felt they could reach out and touch you. I don’t think I ever really felt well enough prepared in that level of competition. The majority of the other riders were professional and I was working full time, only racing at the weekends.
Gatedrop: How did Ireland do at the events you represented them for?
Cubitt: In 1996, we finished 11th, it was the best finish the team had had for about 25 years. Given that Gordy’s best years were in front of him, it was a great team result. We all had similar results, I think Brian had the best results on the 125. I was very proud that we all gave it our best as a team, all came home with well-placed consistent results and produced a great overall finish. In 2000, again we finished 11th as a team, admittedly it was Gordon’s results which greatly helped the team result.
Part two of the interview is coming soon.
Article: Andy McKinstry