He dug deep to win the 2014 Enduro 3 World Championship title, and earned the respect of just about everyone in the EWC paddock in the process. Now, as he prepares for this year’s ISDE in Argentina as a key member of Australia’s strong World Trophy team, Matt Phillips shares his thoughts on a season full of highs and lows…

“I knew I was coming to Europe for seven months this year, so I knew I had to make my stay here worthwhile. The goal was never to sit on my ass on the coach and watch other riders do better than me. Yeah, my goal was always to win.

 “I feel like this E3 championship is definitely a title I’ve earned. Yeah, Ivan got injured. But so did I. It’s all about how you deal with an injury and how much you let it affect you. I just tried to stay calm, managed to get some great people helping me during my recovery, and things worked out like I wanted them to.

“It’s been a really long season. I learned such a lot, mostly from my team-mate Ivan Cervantes, who I’ve been fighting with the E3 title. Being in the same team with the same dream of winning the title, it’s been pretty intense at time. But we’ve remained friends and it’s been a really open fight. I’m really excited to have won first time out in the senior classes, and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

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“Winning a title, especially after the year I’ve had, serves up a strange set of emotions. I knew all I had to do was get the bike home at the end of the second day in France, get it in the parc ferme, but that ride back into the town seemed to go on and on. Getting back to the team was when it really started to sink in.”

“I’d been training so hard before the GP of Italy, the race that I got hurt at. I was training every day, going to bed tired every night. The first day went perfectly. I was the overall fastest rider and just felt so good on my bike. I really thought I was well on my way to the E3 title. That’s when I got dealt my injury. I went from being on such a high, to such a low.

“The first thing I said after my operation was that if I could walk I could ride the final round in France. I decided to walk to the toilet two days after my operation, broke my cast and ended up with a fever and stuck in bed again. It’s been a lot of physio, a lot of hard work from a lot of good people, and finally we got the job done.”

“This year was the first time I’d ridden a two-stroke, so at first I was in wrong gears all the time and wasn’t where I wanted to be with regards my suspension. Finally, I got fitter and we got the bike set-up great and from then on I was able to get the first win. I’d been close to winning a few times and threw it away. But once I nailed that first win in Greece I knew I could be strong to the end of the season…

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