The MXGP Grand Prix of Switzerland saw the welcome return of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle; one of Britain’s most popular riders and a three-time FIM World Championship runner-up. The 27 year old has been through a mental and physical grinder since the tail-end of 2016 when he needed a left knee reconstruction and then broke a metacarpal bone in his left hand on the verge of a first Grand Prix appearance this season.
Searle has had to show restraint and patience in abundance to wait until the fifteenth round of MXGP to reach the necessary level of fitness and form to be able to share the track with a host of athletes that have been pushing the limits since the beginning of the campaign and across a range of terrain.
#100 took fifteenth place at Frauenfeld – squarely in the middle of the pack – but battled within the top ten in the early phases of the first moto and was also gunning the KX450F among his peers in the hot second race and around a bumpy and testing circuit.
Searle now has three Grands Prix remaining in 2017 (he will not make the trip to Florida for the USGP) to reach a satisfactory level of performance and was buoyed this week with selection for Team Great Britain and the MX2 slot at Matterley Basin on October 1st. It was a surprise call-up but the veteran aced the 250 class at the 2014 edition in Latvia and the memory of his 2012 British Grand Prix win at the same venue is still so fresh.
“It will be tight but the only chance will be Assen and Villars and the Nations,” he said on his opportunities to show some of the Searle-of-old. “It has been ‘one of those years’ and mentally tougher than any other season. I just hope I am ‘out the other side’ now and things can be a lot more positive until the end of the season.”
“It has been such a hard year and I haven’t ridden, people may think I have just been sat at home but when I cannot do what I love or my job right then everything is s**t and life is not fun, you are just going through the motions. You feel like you are training for nothing. Just to be back and be here is a relief.”
On the subject of the Nations Searle had his hopes up before Switzerland and was given a vote of confidence by Team Manager Mark Chamberlain to again thrill the British fans. “It is obviously Mark Chamberlain’s choice but I’d love to race and represent the country at the Des Nations and by the time the race comes around I’ll be in good shape,” he said at Frauenfeld. “I’d love to be there.”
MXGP gathers again this weekend for the Grand Prix of Sweden across the slippery and stony hard-pack of Uddevalla.