The results that Tommy Searle acquired at the sixth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship do not truly indicate the improvements that were made throughout the weekend. Searle finally got to a place where he is happy with his bike, which was a massive leap in the right direction and left a cloud of positivity hovering over the BOS Factory awning. What is the next step for the Kawasaki pilot? Everything is discussed in this exclusive MX Vice interview.
MX Vice: It looked like a good weekend. I have no clue what happened in the last race though… You went from fifteenth to twenty-fourth or something on the last lap, so what happened?
Tommy Searle: With a couple of laps to go, I felt the clutch going a little bit and then all of a sudden it was gone. I think we had a problem with that on the last lap. We did have a problem, so I did not finish the race. The weekend was more positive at the beginning. After last weekend, we changed the settings to what I have been asking for and the bike felt a lot better from the start. I am a lot happier in that way that we got a bike that I can race now. I feel a lot more comfy and I feel like I can start to build a bit of confidence again to get back into it now. This weekend went really great other than that.
Yesterday I had a tenth and then the first race a sixteenth. Then I was fourteenth, I think, until the clutch went with two laps to go and then I had to roll. I was trying to manage the bike to get round because I thought, it is slipping a tiny bit, but I can still make it to the finish. Not a problem. Then all of a sudden it was gone, so that was a bit disappointing, but overall the weekend's been a lot better in the way that I am happy with the bike now. The team did a good job on the settings that we now have back in the bike. I can look forward and be positive now, get my confidence back and look forward to France.
Are you hard on the clutch? Was that user error or was that just something internally that went bang?
I could not tell you, really. This track is not really hard on the clutch. Last week we had a really muddy race. We have had muddy races at FatCat and Valkenswaard, where there have been really sandy races and I was probably hard on the clutch. We have had no issues at all. I have not had an issue with the clutch all year, so it seems a little bit strange, but the team will look into that and find out.
This was your suspension from the second moto at Canada Heights then? Did you have to make many changes through the weekend? It is kind of similar to Canada Heights, I guess, with square-edge bumps and the surface.
No, the suspension was good from the off. We used the forks and the shock was very similar to that and a couple of other settings. Small changes in it, but I was happy with the suspension from the off this weekend. We did not make too many changes. A couple of clicks here and there through the weekend. I was happy with the suspension, so that is a big positive for me now.
Obviously you are happy with suspension now, so I guess it is like your season starts now? Onwards and upwards? You can start to build this thing and get to where you can be?
Yeah, I was happy at the beginning of the season as well. We came in really good. I think we just went a little bit the wrong direction for a couple of races, but now we are back moving in the right way. I am going away from here. The result was not great, but I feel like now I have to go back and work hard. There are plenty of races left I need to get some results now. I am looking forward to it and hopefully it starts now, so I can put in some good results.
You mentioned the first few races and you said you were on a stock engine in Argentina and that. Is that still the case or have you developed that?
No, we are still on a standard engine but I do not have a problem with the engine. I feel that is just what's best at the minute. We did try and get some other things and they did make it faster, but overall I am really happy with the standard engine from Kawasaki. I think they have done a great job. I cannot fault it. My starts have been good. I got a really good start yesterday in the heat race, from the outside. I got a good start in the first race. I just had a bad first lap, but my starts have been good and I cannot fault the engine at all. Now the engine is better and the suspension is better, so I have no excuses now. I need to get some results.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX