CDR Yamaha Monster Energy newcomer answers a variety of questions.
Following weeks of anticipation, Kirk Gibbs appointment at CDR Yamaha Monster Energy was finally confirmed on the weekend. It’s one of the biggest signings of the current silly season domestically, and the pairing is set to be a competitive one in 2019. We tracked down the former MX1 champion to ask him a Five Questions Why!
Why did you sign with CDR Yamaha Monster Energy?
There are a few contributing factors, obviously with KTM going away from a [in-house] factory outfit – I had been with those guys for a long time and had some great success. With that, and talking with Craig [Dack], the opportunity came up to work with him. It’s nothing against KTM – I loved the brand – but it just seemed to be the right time with that team going out and Craig being keen. After six years with KTM, it was the right time for a change. That’s majority of it, and talking with Craig, there were things that I wanted to hear from him and make happen or do, and we came to an agreement and I’m really happy with it. I’m really, really excited about it.
Why are you a motocross-only rider again in 2019?
I talked to Craig about exploring the supercross thing, but then again over the last two years where I haven’t been injured, I feel like my base has gotten a lot better. It came with not wanting to sit on the couch for three or four months of the year – at my age it starts taking a toll and I feel like I have plenty of years left in me, but I keep hurting myself at the extent that I was when racing supercross, then it would shorten my career. I’d probably only have a year or two left, but I want to keep on racing for at least a few more years. That was a huge contributing factor, and I’m more than happy to go about it that way. I’m racing in New Zealand too, so that will be great.
Why can we expect you to be the MX Nationals championship favourite next year?
That’s a pretty good question! It’s hard to say at the moment and it’s only early stages on the bike, but with the team, the environment and the boys, I just think it’s the right fit for me. I believe Craig will help me with a few little things that I was missing that didn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together. I guess if you want to call me the favourite, then that’s why. This time in my career, this is where I need to be to go ahead.
Why will you be heading back to New Zealand to defend your title?
Just to defend the title really. I really love New Zealand, it’s such an amazing place and I really, really enjoy racing over there. To go over there and defend the title, and to ride under Josh Coppins, it’s just so much more experience I can gain with someone who should’ve won a world title. The more information I can get from him, Craig and everyone that’s around the whole Yamaha team, I just think I can benefit from it a lot. I really want to come into round one firing and chase the championship.
Why does racing in New Zealand play an important role in your preparation?
It’s really important just to be ready. The guys over there are no slouches – guys like Cooper, Lamont, Carter – there are four or five different guys that are really fast. Sometime people don’t understand, but when you go over there and see it in real life, the tracks and dirt are so different, and they know how to ride that stuff. I’m guessing if some of the world’s best went over there, I’m sure Coops and the guys would stick it to them – those guys on home turf are unbelievably fast. To go over there and race them gets you 100 percent ready. I think it’s the best preparation, and to try and defend the title will be awesome.