Former British MX1 championship ace Ashley Wilde has made the switch to two-strokes for 2018 and is getting ready for the opening round of the British Two Stroke Championship which is at the British Motocross Festival on March 29-April 2 at Culham.
Ashley missed out most of last season due to injury, but is looking to come back and battle hard for the British Two Stroke title, which runs as part of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship. We caught up with the Mancunian rider to talk about his preparation for the season.
How are things going in general for you?
“Things are going pretty good for me; a lot has changed for me in the last six months. I have stepped away from racing full time, to now working full time for the RMJ Academy, which is going really well. Coaching is going great; I’m once again taking care of the Rookie Academy and I am now also doing some work with the Pro Academy. RMJ is still the Pro Academy coach, but I am there to help and work with those guys. I am now racing a 2-stroke as apposed to the 4-stroke and also doing my own thing with Rich riding for the RMJ Academy Husqvarna UK team.”
How was last season for you?
“Last season started really well for me, but unfortunately I was struck by injury again. After my injury in 2016 I worked really hard to come back stronger than ever and I think I did, I was sitting in the top 6 in the Maxxis British championship and all was looking good. I gave it my all, it just wasn’t meant to be and that’s racing.”
This year you riding in the British Two Stroke Championship on-board the RMJ Husqvarna; how are things going with the team in preparation for this season?
“Things are going really well! I am having so much fun riding the Husqvarna TC250 and every time I start the bike and hear the 2-stroke it brings a smile to my face. The team is perfect for me; RMJ and I have managed to get some great team partners and I feel like I have the best people around me for me to achieve the goals I have for this season.”
So, what’s the main goal this season?
“The goal for this season is to be battling for the Maxxis British Two Stroke Championship title.”
What do you think to the Culham track? How have you gone there in the past?
“I really like Culham; it’s a nice big natural track that gets really technical. I have raced Culham lots in my time and I have had some really good races there. I always look forward to going back and racing at Culham.”
What do you think to the British Motocross Festival idea?
“I think the festival is a great idea. I think the UK needs to see this more often and hopefully this could be the start of something. It will be great for the younger riders to race the same venue on the same weekend as the best pro riders in the UK. I also think its great for the youth riders to get to watch the pros in the same weekend and also for the teams in the UK to see the rising talent in the UK. “
Any memories from being a junior and racing the junior ranks you want to share?
“I remember racing what was called the KWS back then, when the series was pretty new. I was racing a SW85 at the time and the series was a national championship, which also had the pros racing there on the Sunday. The event attracted a lot of big names in the pro ranks; this was a new thing in the UK at the time. I remember pulling onto the start line to race on the Sunday and the start was full of top riders watching the start of the SW85 class. I remember looking over on the start and seeing Pit Beirer, who was at the time still racing, stood by the outside of the gate. I told myself that I need to holeshot this race in front of all the top riders – I did and it was a great feeling. It would be good if the Festival could be the start of the youth riders riding at the same time as the best riders in British championship more often.”
What would your advice be to aspiring young riders?
“Always give 100% and work as hard as you can to be the best you can be! And never give up!”
How are you changing your training to suit your new goals?
“Not being a full time racer any more has changed my training approach slightly. I’m really lucky as part of my job and role in the RMJ Academy is to work with the pro guys as well, so I actually get to ride a bit with them which is great as it brings my speed on and also I get to do some intense training with RMJ. I also do a fair bit with them in the gym too over at Harris and Ross, so again I’m lucky I get to keep fit. I am confident my training will be good and I will be ready to compete.”
What do you think of the competition?
“The competition at the front will be good; there are a few guys that can go really fast. I’m excited to go racing and ready for the new challenge.”
Do you keep an eye on the juniors coming up through the ranks?
“Yes, I do! I have been involved with coaching on the youth scene for a fairly long time now, so I do keep a close eye on the youth ranks. Last year I was fortunate enough to go to the Junior World Championship and coach the Athletes in the UK squad, so it was great for me to see the talent from all of Europe. That was a great event and something I will never forget, it was also great to see the talent we have in the UK at the moment.”
Photo Credit: Red Sands MX Photographer