Dirt bike racing has been in South African Andrew Langston’s blood since the beginning; first helping his brother Gerald out, and later working on nephew Grant’s bikes. When Grant eventually left KTM in the mid 2000’s, Andrew stayed on working with then KTM
Team rider Brett Metcalfe, and later doing engine work in-house. Joining forces again with nephew Grant, the two earned the number 1 plate in the AMA Motocross
Championship! Grant’s diagnosis of eye cancer stopped their defense of the title, but soon Andrew was back at KTM and helping Mike Brown win the 2009 WORCS
Championship! In Las Vegas I was able to catch up with the newlywed. When he is at the track, it’s all business, but away from racing Andrew spends his spare time with wife Erica, and planning his honeymoon.
Firstly Andrew, congratulations to you and Mike Brown capturing the 2009 WORCS Title for KTM - that had to be huge.
Andrew Langston, uncle to Grant Langston, worked with KTM and Mike Brown to earn the 2009 WORCS Title.
Thank you Jim. If you take a look at the WORCS races they are basically a two hour motocross, so you want to build a fast bike, but in turn you need to build a bike that your rider will be riding – not the bike riding the rider. The nice thing about KTM’s is that they are built as their slogan says “Ready to Race”. At the Glen Helen round Kurt Caselli rode an out of the box XCF450 with only the suspension settings adjusted for him – and no one had anything for him! All we have done in Mike’s case is that we have tailored the bike around his riding style. For Mike to win this championship in his first year, with a new bike, new team, and new mechanic says a lot about the bike and the team that we have.
I would imagine that a WORCS race is very tough on a rider and the bike, but I was really surprised after a recent Endurocross to see how badly the bikes get beat up!
You know, I had never been to an Endurocross until about a year ago. The top guys make it look so easy, but when you are watching the guys trying g to make the night program it is there where you really see that track take its toll on both rider and bike. You often see bikes coming back with bent sprockets, bent brake discs, broken foot-pegs, holes in the engine covers, or even bent frames. Of all the racing that I have experienced, Endurocross is by far the toughest on a bike. Along with that, a guy like Mike Brown never holds back; that old saying of “ride it like you stole it” really rings true for Mike – he constantly keeps me on my toes!
How does all this “Off-Road” racing compare to your days on the motocross and supercross circuit?
Well, it definitely was an education to move from supercross and Motocross to all the different series that we did this year! From Taddy (Blazusiak) making an Endurocross look like “child’s play” doing all the different things on a motorcycle that was not possible, to seeing three WORCS riders coming over the finish line after a 2 hour race covered by a blanket, to watching riders race as hard as possible without DNF’ing to one of the natural elements including trees and mud-holes in a GNCC
race, it’s been very exciting and interesting. Probably the “funnest” race for me this year was when I was a part of the “chase crew” at the Vegas to Reno event. From staying in all the old Cowboy one-horse towns to chasing the riders around the desert like you were on a high speed treasure hunt. There was actually times that we would be doing 90 mph on the highway, and next to us in the dirt would be Dave Kamo or Dave Pearson in sixth gear pinned, butt off the back of the bike – and pulling us! On the last day, with 30 miles to go both the 1st and 2nd placed riders hit a “not so well marked” obstacle at around 85mph causing them both to crash. As it turned out they were knocked out; then came to and helped each other to the last checkpoint. Our bike was badly bent, but we had a fresh rider to do the last stint. There rider had a massive gash above his eye that required 18 stitches and barely knew what day of the week it was! After a 1000 mile race, I believe that we won it by just 2 minutes!
Since we are here at the Las Vegas Endurocross finale, and KTM’s Taddy won the title, what are you hoping to accomplish?
Well, we are hoping to end the year with a 1 – 2 finish, and cap off a very successful year.
What are you doing after this race
Having just got married, my wife and I are hoping to go on our Honeymoon! We will probably need to test a bit at KTM in early December, and then we will figure out where and when we will be going.
Will you then be back with the team and Mike Brown next year?
Yes, both of us have resigned with KTM. I think that Mike and I have built a very good foundation this year in both WORCS and Endurocross – Mike will defend his WORCS Championship, and go for the wins more in Endurocross.
What makes you so motivated to stay in the world of dirt bike racing?
Racing is my passion, and it has been ever since I was a little kid. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some great champions and riders, as well as being around some amazing people – that on its own is enough motivation. But the hardest thing about winning a championship is being able to defend it – so we will have our work cut out for us in 2010!
In wrapping things up Andrew; what would you like to add?
Let’s hope that things pick up in 2010, and that more people can afford to go racing – no matter the series. I would also like to see the organizers do all they can to make racing safer; we are hearing of way too many injuries that are sometime beyond the rider’s control. Racing and riding dirt bikes is certainly not the safest thing to do on this planet, but we can all help make it a safer sport for everyone.