News 16 Jun 2009

Moto Talk with Craig Anderson

Multiple times national champion Craig Anderson took his first podium for Kawasaki in the MX Nationals on Sunday. We get the scoop on his efforts.

Anderson scored his first podium of the season last weekend in South Australia

Anderson scored his first podium of the season last weekend in South Australia

Many were expecting Craig Anderson to be a contender for the Australian MX Nationals Championship this year in his switch to the Kawasaki Racing Team, but the former 12 times national champion had a slow start to the season that didn’t see him land on the podium until last weekend.

Anderson finished third at South Australia’s Murray Bridge circuit after a consistent day that saw him finish with a fourth in moto one and a sixth in moto two to secure the final step of the overall podium.

Since finishing eighth at the opening round at Albury back in April, Anderson’s results have been consistently on the rise and he’s looking to further improve in the series’ second half in hope of moving up from his current title position of fifth. spoke with the 31-year-old about his progress to date and how he’s gelling with the KX450F.

Ando, congratulations on the podium result last weekend in South Australia. Is it a weight off of your shoulders now that you’ve finally finished on the podium with Kawasaki?

Universal Soldier divx

Definitely, it’s been a long time coming. Last time I was on the podium was at Newry last year, so yeah, we made a few bike changes before the weekend that suited me a lot more and took the pressure off. Well, it hasn’t really taken the pressure away because you always have pressure, but within myself I know that I can do it now and I just have to keep focussed and keep going forward.

You said in the team press release that you’ve been training in the sand over in WA recently, also changing the set-up of the bike. How much has that helped you?

I think the biggest thing was changing the bike to suit me. It was a fair way off from what I was wanting and it showed in my results really, but everything just came together for Murray Bridge. It was all those little one percent improvements that make you do good. It did help me going to Perth, but it also helped me having a bike that I could ride properly and be comfortable on, so yeah, it was good.

Do you feel as though this is the momentum you need heading into the second half of the season?

For sure. Wanneroo is going to be the most difficult round of the year for any east coast guy, you know, it’s deep sand and it’s fast. It’s tough work, but being over there last week I sort of know what the track’s going to be like and how rough it gets, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend and the last half of the season.

How has the switch to Kawasaki and the KX450F been so far this year after spending many years with Honda?

The switch was good, you know, the bike handles really good and changes direction really good, but I was just really struggling with the engine because it was really flat off the bottom and in the mid-range but strong up the top. That’s the exact opposite of what I ride like, because I ride a lot off the bottom and use a lot of mid-range.

We just took a long time to get it right for me and we’ve got a pretty good package at the moment, but I can still make it better for me and we’ll try to make it even a little bit better again. Once we get that sorted then I’ll be very comfortable on the bike.

You have your home round coming up at Lakes in New South Wales next month – are you expecting big things there?

Definitely. We’ve been there for two years and I’ve sucked both years. Last year was bike problems and the year before I was coming back from injury, but going into the third year it’s the round that I’d really like to win because I’ve never won there when the nationals are there. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be a good, tough round.

What are your thoughts on the series so far this year with the unique formats of sprint races at selected rounds and then the traditional longer motos at other rounds?

I don’t mind the formats because at least it’s something different, but I think the races should be at least 20 minute motos. I think two 30s or three 20s are the way to go, because while the four 15s are probably good for the crowd they just mean more goggles, more helmets, and more work to get everything ready.

So I’d prefer a maximum of three races on the one day and the rounds with two 30 minute motos are better for me, but it’s something different and you have to try it. It worked back in the Mr Motocross days so I guess they are trying to make it work again, but as a rider I didn’t really like the sprint races. At the end of the day it’s all the same for everyone.

Well thanks Ando, and good luck heading into this weekend at Wanneroo over in WA.

No worries, thanks.