Features 1 Sep 2015

Race Recap: Kirk Gibbs

Newly-crowned MX Nationals MX1 champion talks 2015 title.

KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs is genuinely one of the most well-liked personalities in the MX Nationals pits, a mainstay in the sport domestically and on track a true competitor in every sense of the word. Following a long road to the top, the South Australian finally claimed his first national title on Sunday at Coolum, clinching the MX1 title after a dominant season. MotoOnline.com.au spoke to Gibbs Sunday afternoon to get his take on a championship-winning year.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Kirk Gibbs, the 2015 MX Nationals MX1 champion, delivered for KTM – you must be pretty pumped?

Yeah, it’s a surreal feeling, something I’ve chased for a long, long, long time. It’s just one of those things that I’m going to cherish for as long as I can and once it’s over, we get into supercross and then come out next year and try to defend it. I’ll just try and cherish it right now, I’m just so happy to finally get one, and it’s just such a good feeling.

In moto one you wrapped up the title, it was actually a good race and a good battle for you, then the celebrations. Has it had a chance to sink in since then?

Yes and no. Obviously having everyone there straight after the race was pretty cool, it made it feel like it had come through, so it was a pretty cool feeling having everyone there. Just obviously making me realise that the year was done and dusted and that I was the best rider of the year, so it’s such a cool feeling and I don’t want to lose that. I’ll definitely go home and do my homework again to come out swinging next year.

You’ve had those number two plates a lot in terms of championship results and had that injury here in 2012 as well, a real scary accident at the time. Since then you’ve teamed up with KTM and it looks like you’ve found a real home with this team.

Yeah, for sure. I was down in the dumps that year in 2012 when I crashed here and didn’t have a very good year on the Lites bike either. Obviously that crash put a massive damper on things and, you know, it’s just one of those things waiting to see if you’re actually going to end up with a ride or if you’re going to go to work. For me, I made the decision that day that I wanted a 450 ride and that if I couldn’t get a good one then I was going to work, so I’m just so thankful to Rob T for putting me on and I’ve just found such a great place in a great environment. I’m just so lucky to have them all behind me, and obviously my family and crew, stuff like that. It’s just so many years leading into this, so it’s just so cool to finally get one.

Going back further before you were on the radar with Serco, you came into the MX Nationals as a privateer rider, very little known. You worked your way to the top, you’ve been around for a long time, and this is the result of a lot of years hard work ever since. Could you even picture this back then? Tell us about that feeling.

[Laughs] not really. You know, it’s so crazy to think that 10 years ago was my first year of seniors and it was just me and day, my mum – she didn’t get to come to a lot of them – but just cruising around in a HiAce. You see some of the privateers doing it now and you just a hope there’s a champion in one of them that just keeps digging deep, because it takes a lot of work and perseverance, because it doesn’t come easy in this sport and you just need to keep grinding and keep after it. Like you touched on, it’s just so many years of grinding [laughs]. The privateer days were hard, we didn’t have the best bikes or best of equipment and I didn’t really know much better – I just went out there and tried to ride my best. I was lucky enough to finally get picked up by Serco in 2009 and since that day I’ve just tried to put my best foot forward. Obviously I came close to a few championships, but yeah, to finally get one now is just a crazy feeling.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

You didn’t get selected for the MXoN, obviously a bit of a difficult scenario there with guys over in Europe already understandably, but is the plan to do the Glen Helen MXGP confirmed? Can you even speak about it?

Yeah, like you said, the des Nations didn’t go my way, but obviously they have the right people choosing the team and it just didn’t fall my way. I’ll keep plugging away, keep trying my hardest, and hopefully in years to come I can go over there and represent Australia. I’m 100 percent confirmed for Glen Helen. I’m going, I found out like two days ago. Once I didn’t get the des Nations gig we tried really hard to get over there and I’m really looking forward to it. We’re getting a bike and support from KTM and I’m going to be pitted out of the Troy Lee Designs team’s truck. I’m really looking forward to getting that overseas experience and obviously witness how fast those guys are over there. Hopefully just go there and put in some good rides, you know? I’m coming back to 100 percent now and really confident to go in there. I’m going to put in a couple of weeks hard training and hopefully get some good results.

Just quickly, I know you want to go and celebrate, but moving forward for next year is an international career still on the radar or would you be happy to come back and defend this title?

For now I don’t think the international thing’s going to work out. Obviously I need to get noticed, so this Glen Helen thing’s a good step in the right direction, but they probably wouldn’t know too much about me just yet. Hopefully this is a big step and hopefully I can do well and get noticed, for maybe in the years to come. I think next year I will be back here to defend this title. I’m glad we got a couple of rides in on this new bike because I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but 100 percent by next year we will be coming out swinging, hopefully kick it off with a bang like we did this year.

No worries, well done once again to you and the team, it was just an amazing performance.

Cool, thank you very much.