Newly-crowned champion reflects upon the Enduro-X season.
Newly-recruited CDR Yamaha racer Chris Hollis has put his new team on the front foot early in the 2014 race season by claiming the inaugural Enduro-X Nationals championship at Calder Park on Sunday.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 29-year-old from Port Macquarie, who had to aim for consistency around a tough circuit in order to bring home the title. MotoOnline caught up with Hollis earlier today to find out how it all shook out.
Chris, congratulations on winning the inaugural multi-round Enduro-X crown, mate. By all accounts it sounded like it was a pretty tough night for you at Calder Park.
Yeah it didn’t get off to a great start, that’s for sure. In the first final I got caught in a first-turn crash with Toby Price and sprained my wrist, then I went down another two times in the same race, one of which broke my clutch lever.
I finished that race in ninth then opted to play it safe in the next two finals in order to win the title. I basically went into damage control and just tried to get through those two races cleanly, as the championship was more important than going for the race wins.
What did you think of the Calder Park set-up?
I really enjoyed it. It was wet in the morning, but by the afternoon it was hard and dry. It was cool they used the side of the hill in the course and there was a lot of obstacles. The crowd was awesome too – they were all crammed on the fence and they went nuts every time someone fell off.
What are your thoughts on the new Enduro-X Nationals series as a whole?
For its first year I thought it was pretty good. The racing, tracks and venues were all good and I’d really like to see it take off. Enduro-X does a great job of bringing the bush to the city. I’m sure the organisers learnt a lot about running the events in different states and the logistics that go along with that.
The first round in Brisbane was probably a little too motocrossy but still had plenty of technical obstacles. Sydney and Melbourne were a lot tougher courses and you had to have pretty good bike control to get around them cleanly.
You won two of the three rounds of the series, and I guess with being such a short series, consistency was more important than ever.
Oh definitely. Consistency was super important out there, and the weekend pretty much proved that. The tricky thing with Enduro-X is if you don’t get a good start, you can’t really control what happens.
In that first race on Sunday there was a rock pile that had people stuck on it. I thought I spotted a gap to get through and ended up hitting a hole and going over the bars.
If you get a good start and you’re up the front, you don’t have to worry about people getting in the way or falling over in front of you. And because the finals were only five laps you didn’t really have to worry about catching lapped riders either.
Last year you finished second to Daniel Milner in the AORC championship, and this year you’re teammates with him. How’s that all working out, and what’s it like being back in the blue camp?
I’m really enjoying it, hey! Dacka and all the boys are great. Everyone gets along well and I felt like I fit straight in. There’s a different feel to the team from when Ballard’s ran the Yamaha team, but in a good way. As for Dan, he’s a good kid. We’ve always gotten along and stayed together during events. Nothing’s changed there.
Nice. It must feel great to already have a title so early in the year and on the new bike. How are your confidence levels now heading into the AORC season opener at Bulahdelah in three weeks’ time?
The confidence levels are pretty good at the moment. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I knew I could win the Enduro-X title and wasn’t surprised that I came away with the title. At the same time, the off-road championship is totally different to Enduro-X. You’re holding it pinned between the trees and it’s a lot scarier in that respect.
I think this year Dan and Pricey will be the two to beat, but the likes of Glen Kearney, Tom McCormack and Josh Green will be biting close at our heels. I can’t wait to get back into it.
Neither can we! Thanks for the chat, mate. We’ll catch up with you again soon.