WINNING YOUR FIRST 450 GRAND PRIX MUST HAVE BEEN A GOOD FEELING. Yeah, for sure it was. I grew up in the GPs and have been racing GPs since I was 16. I’m 25 now, so it’s been nine years being in the paddock. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people and had a lot of good times—along with some definite bad times in the past four years. When I took the overall win at Lierop, it was a very special day for motocross. For someone to come out of a small team like I did, with no factory support, it was amazing. I think that it’s the first time in five or six years that someone not on a factory team has won a GP.
WHY DID YOU SWITCH TEAMS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON? I just was not getting along with the bike or the TM team, so I went out and bought some Yamahas. It’s no question that the TM had potential, or else I would not have signed with them in the first place. It was just frustrating that they would not listen to me.
DO YOU AND YOUR DAD WORK AS A TEAM? I wouldn’t be here today without my dad, so I think that it’s time to just forget
about the past few years and move forward with our small team within a team. If a team doesn’t want to accept that, then they should move on to the next person.
YOU GOT VERY FAST AT THE END OF THE SEASON. In spite of having some of my worst luck at past Motocross des Nations, I was riding right behind Justin Barcia this year. If you had told me earlier that I would be right on Barcia, I would have laughed! It has been a joy to ride this bike at the end of the year, and I’ve been having more fun on a dirt bike than ever in the past three or four years.
WHAT TEAM WILL YOU BE RACING FOR IN 2014? I will be riding for the HM Plant United Kingdom KTM team in 2014. It is a team that I have been on before. It will be different going back there, as my dad and I will be running our own little setup within the team, but the KTM is a good bike. KTM has their heads screwed on right, and I think that the bike has had a lot of development on it. I’m looking forward to racing the KTM, and I don’t think that we will be very far away from where we need to be after a few weeks of testing.
YOU’RE NOT A FACTORY- BACKED RIDER. DO YOU MAKE MONEY RACING THE GRAND PRIX SERIES? The top guys can really earn a lot of money, but then it really drops off. A factory-backed guy finishing seventh in the World Championships can do very well—a factory bike, big salary and big bonuses. For a guy like me, who finishes in ninth, the money drops off to virtually nothing. I’m scraping around to find money just to make it to the races. I’m happy at the end of the year if I break even! It’s a shame. Everything is tight, like tires, engines and materials. But, that is the good thing with KTM; they give a good package that covers everything needed for the season. It’s not over the top, but they give you what you need to do your work. That is all I can ask for.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS NEXT YEAR? I think with winning the last GP for 2013 and running in the top six many times, my mental strength is good. With good winter testing and my confidence from the end of 2013, there is no reason I cannot be a consistent top five in the GPs. There is definitely no question in my mind that I can do that. ;
By Jim Kimball