Great Britain’s Tommy Searle may have began his pro career in 2005, but it was his outstanding 2006 rides in the FIM World Motocross
MX2 GP’s that got him real notice. One of those that noticed was the Red Bull KTM Team who quickly signed “Tommy Gun” for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. As a member of the “orange squad” Tommy would finish second place in points – both years. Now following his dream of AMA Racing Tommy is a solid top five contender in this summer’s Lucas Oil AMA Motocross
250 class – and he’s still with KTM
under the Muscle Milk MDK KTM team. We recently caught up with Searle who took his first AMA podium at High Point Raceway; which coincidently is the day that he turned 20.
Tommy let’s begin with when you first began thinking about racing in America.
"I want to be top three in this series for my first year; I think that’s a realistic goal." - Tommy Searle
It was a couple years ago when we first started talking about it; I actually was meant to come last year, but didn’t think I was ready - so I stayed another year back home. All last year I knew it; it was already a done deal. I signed my contract quite early in 2008; so it was always my intention to come. When the year finished off, then I came out to California.
Talk for a minute about starting out your AMA Pro career in motocross as opposed to supercross.
We always thought that this (starting out in motocross) was best for me, KTM, and the people around me. That’s what we always planned to do; so we just stuck to that. I’m happy with the way we did things; coming into the outdoors strong, and with no injuries - I think it was a good choice.
What have you found so far to be the biggest difference from your years of racing in the World Motocross GPs to the nationals here?
The tracks are a little different, but overall they’re really quite the same - it’s still racing like any other race. The guys here are very fast in the beginning, while some guys push really hard all through the race. I think the top guys here are fast; maybe faster than the guys in Europe. After you get outside the top 15 here it starts tailing off a little bit; but there are definitely a lot of fast guys up front.
With that in mind; have you found that it hurts you that you haven’t raced any of these tracks before?
I think it’s definitely not an advantage with not racing them. I would like to have ridden some of these tracks before, but I haven’t - it’s just hard with how much little practice we get. Normally you’d get like an hour or more on the track where back in Europe, but here we only get like two sessions of 15 minutes. So it’s really short - and you have to be able to learn the track in that time.
(left to right
) Searle took fourth overall at the season-opener at Glen Helen; After a poor showing in the second round he came back to take sixth at Freestone; At High Point the Brit took his first podium of the season in Moto 2, claiming third overall.
I’d like to hear your thoughts about KTM in Europe versus KTM here. I, along with others, have the impression that in Europe KTM is by far the best team to be on. Here, they’re probably more equal to the other teams.
They really (KTM in Europe and KTM America) are not so much different, but it’s definitely the best team to be on back there. If I went back there, I would want to be on that team, but out here I’m really happy with my team too. I think the bike’s probably better out here than what we have there actually. In Europe there are a lot of teams that don’t have that good of bikes; like the Honda teams back home. Where out here they (Honda
Red Bull) have good bikes and a lot of great people are behind them that want to win really badly. Obviously I think each manufacturer has a good team over here, where back home the main factory supported MX2 team is KTM.
How do you feel about competing against some of the guys you raced in the GPs, like Tyla Rattray and Chris Pourcel?
Yeah, it’s good to have those guys out there, just too kind of know where you’re at. It’s like anything; it’s nice to have familiar faces around you while you’re doing stuff.
In spite of it being early in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross series; how do you see yourself finishing this series up - where do you want to be?
I want to be top three in this series for my first year; I think that’s a realistic goal - I just need to find myself. As long as I ride how I know I can, it’s not a problem. I just need to make sure I’m doing that on weekends, not tensing up, and riding bad. Like at Hangtown; I felt I rode badly - I wasn’t happy all weekend. You know, like I said, as long as I ride how I know I can, I won’t have a problem.
Thanks Tommy; anything I missed or you might want to add?
Just big thanks to the team, and my mechanic - who’s been great. Everyone’s been really supportive when I’ve been out here, so thanks to those guys.