Features 13 May 2020

Fast Thoughts: Wilson Todd

DRT Kawasaki newcomer on injury-affected 2020 campaign so far.

Words: Simon Makker

This year current MX2 MX Nationals champion Wilson Todd took the leap to contest the MXGP World Championship with DRT Kawasaki. The 22-year-old experienced a torrid start to his two-year stint with the England-based outfit and is now warming the couch back home after undergoing a knee reconstruction. MotoOnline caught up with him to get his thoughts on how 2020 has gone so far.

Image: Supplied.

Knee injury and surgery…

This is the second time I’ve done my ACL and it’s nowhere near as sore as it was in 2015, as they’ve used the same screw holes they did then. I kept this knee injury pretty quiet – it happened in the same first-turn crash at Valkenswaard where I crushed my fingers and fractured my tibia. At the time I didn’t realise I’d torn my ACL, but later that day my knee started swelling up. I went for scans and they confirmed I needed surgery straight away. I put the photo of my torn fingers up on social media, but I deliberately didn’t say anything about the knee. At the same time the whole coronavirus thing blew up, so I had to self-isolate for 14 days and missed my elective surgery date by four days as a result. That felt like a wasted month, really! I’m out for six months, but I’ll wait four or five months and see if I can then get back to the Dixon team and slowly start easing into riding again.

The first two rounds of MXGP…

It was rough. I only got on the bike a week before the first round at Matterly Basin and it rained all week, so we didn’t get to do any testing on it. I struggled in qualifying and trying to get my head around the formats, the track and the whole scene. In the first race I started at the back of the pack and got arm-pump with the lack of riding. In the second race I got another bad start, but I was able to work my way forward and was reeling in the guys in front of me a couple of seconds a lap. My times were on par with the top five guys, so I know I have the speed, I just need more time. At Valkeswaard my bike blew up in qualifying, then I crashed out of the first race in that first-turn pileup, so yeah, I feel like I haven’t really gotten into racing yet – I’m sure it’ll be good fun once I get into it.

Working with the Dixon Racing Team…

It’s very laid back. It feels a bit like the DPH Motorsports Team I was with last year, but not quite so much a family. Steve [Dixon], the owner, can’t help himself but try and do everything to make the best bike possible. My mechanic is a cool guy, but I haven’t had a whole lot to do with him yet. I have a two-year contract with the Dixon Racing Team and with a few more races I’m sure I’ll settle in with the team and it’ll be good.

Image: Supplied.

The current COVID-19 situation…

Where I’m living in Cairns it’s non-existent and we’re pretty much living our normal lives. The only positive thing is that it’s stopped racing while I can’t race, so in that respect, it’s kind of helping my situation. With my injuries I’ll be off the bike for a long time and even my hand is still a long way from being ready for racing. My index finger exploded between the two knuckles when the rider ran into me and dislocated it as well. I had surgery that night in Holland, but then at a check-up a week later they discovered I needed more surgery and wires to bring all the bones back together. Even now they’re barely touching, but at least I’m on the road to recovery. I’m still hoping we get to go racing at some stage this year.

Outlook for 2020…

As soon as my knee is good enough I want to get back on a bicycle and rack up some road miles and hopefully I’ll be back practicing in September, with the aim of being back racing later this year. The Dixon team hasn’t put any pressure or expectations on me, they just want to see me improve as the year goes on, but I have expectations on myself that are higher than that. Once I’m healthy and happy with my bike I know I can be up front – I know how uncomfortable I felt at the first two rounds and my pace wasn’t as far off as what I thought it’d be. That’s given me confidence that I can be at the front of the MX2 field when I get back out there.