Third overall in the 2013 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, KTM’s Jonny Walker is one of the main favourites for top honours when the 2014 series gets underway inside Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Sunday, November 17th. With the opening round of the season marking a home race for the British youngster, Walker is eager to get his year off to the best possible start. Hungry to win and determined to claim his share of the limelight in Liverpool, Walker is one of Britain’s best hopes to secure the top step of the podium inside the Echo Arena…
RedBull.com: November 17th is getting ever closer – how much are you looking forward to competing inside Liverpool’s Echo Arena at the SuperEnduro opener?
Jonny Walker: “I really can’t wait for this race to come around – I think it will be the highlight of my year. I’ve never raced a round of the world championship at home so I’m looking forward to that. Every racer will tell you it’s special when you get to race at home. The fact that an enduro world championship event is coming to the UK is fantastic, the fact I get to compete in it is even better.”
RB: How important will the support of a home crowd be to you?
JW: “I think it could make the difference between winning or not. Last year I saw how important it was for Taddy when he raced at round one of the series in Poland. Despite his injury, the support of his home fans drove him on to win. I’m excited to experience that. With the crowd behind you, urging you on, it gives you a huge boost of confidence.”
RB: What about the added pressure of performing at home, are you ready for that?
JW: “Personally I don’t think it will be anything to worry about. Instead I think I can feed off their energy and deliver my best performance on the night. Competing in the world championship means there’s pressure to perform no matter where the event is. Liverpool will be special, but it’s also just another race for me.”
RB: The biggest change for you is switching to KTM’s 250 EXC-f. Why have you decided to go down the four-stroke route for the SuperEnduro series?
JW: “Moving to the four-stroke is something that we’ve discussed doing for a while now. We’ve felt that the indoor tracks are more suited to the four-stroke. The power delivery is better. It’s smoother and more tractable if the corners become hard and slick. I’m also finding it a lot more stable in the rock sections and log jumps. Riding the same type of bike as my rivals will hopefully level the playing field a little.”
RB: Who are the riders you expect to be battling for top honours?
JW: “Obviously with Taddy Blazusiak starting the series as the defending champion he will be the guy to beat. But David Knight is going to be right up there too. It’s his home race as well and he’ll be fired up to win. Other guys like Alfredo Gomez and Kornel Nemeth will certainly be in the mix. But SuperEnduro is unpredictable – that’s what makes it so exciting – you just never know how the race will pan out so we’ll have to see who’s got the pace on the night.”
RB: With the SuperEnduro World Championship expanding to seven rounds for 2014 are you focused on getting your championship aspirations off to a solid start in Liverpool?
JW: “Definitely. It’s a longer championship for 2014, so it’s important to start the season strong in Liverpool. Last year I won a race at round one and it gave me a massive boost of confidence for the rest of the year. Proving that you are every bit as fast as the top guys in the series and ready to challenge for the title is something that I need to do as soon as possible. Once the start gate drops in Liverpool I’ll be giving it my all to win.”
Get down and dirty with Jonny Walker, Taddy Blazusiak, David Knight and their fearless friends with our Hard Enduro Video Series, bringing you the best action from legendary races such as Hell’s Gate, The Tough One and the Red Bull Hare Scramble.