Part 2 – Living the dream with Jemma Wilson
If you missed Part 1 of this three part exclusive series with Jemma Wilson in the Enduro World Championship, then go back and catch up before reading on.
At some point almost everyone I know has had the dream of becoming a profession motorcycle racer. By no means am I there yet, but this past week I’ve caught a glimpse of what it’s like when I spent time in Southern Sweden with privateer Honda team, Johansson MPE. Despite not being a factory-supported team, they were voted Most Professional Team at the 2011 Enduro World Championship, and I agree! Apart from the obvious perks that being on a professional team brings — like someone washing and working on your bike, doing paper work, and having your name on a tool box — I’ve also had the chance to check out the team’s set-up and be able to train like a pro.
I have always thought the biggest thing that separates a privateer from a professional is a pro’s ability to train all day, everyday. Just eat, sleep and ride. I spent my week living at their workshop, where they have one of the coolest training areas ever — with grass track, steep gullies, hectic rock sections and hills. I would wake up, walk out of the trailer and straight into the workshop. Then it was out the door to hit the track.
Alternatively, there is 10 motocross tracks within an hour’s drive, which are open for practice during the week. With so many options so close it was easy to ride everyday, which I’ve been taking full advantage of. Plus, when you live alone in a tiny village in a foreign country and your only mode of transport was a scooter with a top speed of 45km, what else is there to do but live and breath racing.
Johansson MPE has it all. The big truck, the huge awning, the large perfectly organized workshop, every spare part and tool you could ever need, ample helpers and the knowledge and experience to make it all work. Having access to all this is really going to make it hard to go back to my powerless two-bay shed and Sprinter van with tool bag and swag.
Being involved in the team has also allowed me the opportunity to learn from the team boss, Joakim Johansson. Joakim was an EWC podium finisher for almost 10 years, has seven world championship race wins under his belt and competed in 12 International Six Day Enduros, so he knows exactly what he’s doing. Joakim has been training me all week, and what I’ve learnt this week along is invaluable.
We have a lot of testing planned for the next week before Round 5 and 6 of the EWC in Italy, where it will be the first time I get to see the team in action on race day. I’m really looking forward to pitting with EWC’s most professional team. Then it’s back to Sweden for another week before lining up at a Swedish enduro. Keep your eyes on this space next month where I’ll recap everything that’s been happening.