BLOG – KNIGHT’S EWC WEEKENDER
Normally when you decide to take on a round of the Enduro World Championship it’s something you probably put at least a couple of weeks planning into. You work on things like training, fitness and most importantly bike preparation. Generally it’s well thought out.
Doing things rather differently, David Knight’s decision to contest the penultimate round of the EWC in Italy was more than just last minute. Heck, he was still at home in his garage scrabbling together the makings of a bike when everyone else was in Lumezzane walking tests. Sometimes though last minute is the best way to roll…
“Last Tuesday I was in my workshop tidying up and the next thing I know I’m on the phone arranging to go and race the EWC in Italy! To say it was a very impulsive decision is an understatement.
“A couple of mates said they would drive the van and bike down for me so I could fly over and get the tests walked. I arrived on Wednesday night. Mark and Jonathan arrived with the van on Thursday afternoon and it was all hands on deck to get sorted. We still had a bike to prepare, spares and service for the race to sort out and in between all that walk the special tests. As you can imagine we were flat out. I didn’t get to walk the tests as much as I’d like but we got almost everything done apart from test the bike – we simply ran out of time.
“Unfortunately that lack of bike time put a bit of a spanner in the works for the start of day one. My bike was straight out of the shop so it wasn’t setup properly for Italy. It was running far too rich. Lap one was my killer – it took some time to get the jetting figured out and then dial in the suspension for the tests. Having been out of EWC action for nearly 12 months I felt a bit wooden too. But as the day progressed we began to improve.
“The result was that on the final lap I was on the pace and had caught up to finish seventh, but more importantly was only 15 seconds away from the podium. I was really happy with my progress and excited for day two.
“Day two I was on the pace. I made a dramatic change with the forks for the second test and it made the bike handle much better. From there, I got into second position. Towards the end of the day I began to close in on the leader and felt I could win. I gave it too much on the final enduro test and crashed twice. The win was lost but thankfully second was safe.
“To say I’m very happy is an understatement. I rode just to enjoy myself and have fun. Italy is always a great place to ride, as the races are always fantastic. Mark and Jonathan had never been to an EWC before and they did a great job even though before the start they didn’t have a clue what they needed to do.
“Really it was a story of three mates going to a World Championship race totally unprepared and taking on the factory teams with a virtually stock bike and kit suspension.
“We ended up not only having a great time, but actually standing on the podium. I think we opened a few people’s eyes and I am happy with the progress I made during the weekend – not only with my bike but also myself.
“Finally I just want to say a big thanks to the people who helped and supported me. It’s great to know I have massive support out there. Also lots of people have said I’m back with KTM. This is not the case, I’ve bought my own KTM for the time being as it’s a great bike and I know the bikes well. But I’m free to ride what I want and I’m currently speaking to teams to get something sorted for the indoor season, which starts in December. Watch this space.”