After an impressive start in Morocco and then clinching his first EnduroGP victory in Portugal, we have decided to have a chat with one of the brightest prospect from the UK: Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta)… The Beta rider gives his impression about his start of season, why he has chosen Beta and learns us more about him…
Hello Steve, you appeared in the World Series just last season. Can you tell us more about yourself? Your background? Your life before Enduro?
Steve HOLCOMBE: “I raced motocross from the age of six up until the age of 14 and then decided I needed a change. I took part in some three-hour races and then at 16 I entered my first British Enduro Championship event. I haven’t looked back since.”
Why did you choose Enduro?
S.H: “My main reason is the challenge and the adventures you can have. And the great people you meet along the way. The scenery we see and the terrain we ride on at each event are just incredible. Very few people see, do, enjoy and achieve what we as riders do on a daily basis. I enjoy riding motocross but it doesn’t take me very long to get bored. In enduro each lap is different and you need to ride smart and think fast. For me, that’s exciting.”
It’s just your second complete season in Enduro and you are already fighting for the title in EnduroGP… Did you expect to be this competitive so early in the season?
S.H: “No, I certainly didn’t. My plan for this year was to finish on the end-of-year podium in E3 and to get one or two day wins. Beta gave me a great opportunity this year to be a part of an awesome team and to learn from two experienced and highly professional riders. To have three day wins and to be leading the E3 class after the first two rounds is beyond my expectations. It’s been an amazing start to my first season as a full-time rider.”
“I have learned a great deal from both, AUBERT and SALVINI…”
After that start of the season, are you looking now for the EnduroGP title?
S.H: “No. I’m not going to get too carried away with things. I’ve made a great start, but my main focus is fighting for the E3 title. It’s very easy to get mixed up in the GP results during the day and lose focus on what’s really important – for me that’s the E3 title. Sure, I would love to win the EnduroGP title – I’m sure all riders would – but it’s a long season and the guys I’m fighting against in EnduroGP have a lot more experience than I do.”
You quickly signed a contract with Beta last season. Does that mean you didn’t receive any other offers?
S.H: “I was fortunate to receive interest from a number of teams but obviously I decided was to stay with Beta. Being a part of the Boano Beta team last year was fantastic. I got on really well with everyone in the team and they supported me with all they could. I owe Jarno and the team so much. But it’s been awesome to move onto the Beta factory team. I’m excited to be working with such an awesome bike and an incredible team of people.”
You have two World Champions as new teammates: SALVINI and AUBERT. Do they give you advices? Do you train together?
S.H: “I have trained with both Johnny and Alex and am currently living at Alex’s house in Italy. It’s great to see how these two world champions train and go about their racing. I have learned a great deal from them both, and am still learning from them. I’m very grateful to them both for letting me train with them. It’s fun to be at the races with them both.”
Why did you choose the Beta RR 300cc 2 stroke?
S.H: “At this stage of my career it’s the perfect bike. The bike is incredibly easy to ride and the perfect tool for the job. Moving into the senior classes for 2016 was my big change. I wanted to be racing a bike that I knew and enjoyed.”
“2016 is a learning year for me…”
Looking back to your 2015 season, don’t you have any regrets in not participating to the opener in Chile? Making this Grand Prix, you could be the 2015 Junior Champion.
S.H: “It would have been great to ride in Chile. But I prefer to look at the positives from 2015, and not wonder ‘what if’. It was a long way to travel and would’ve cost me a lot of money. I was still working more or less full-time then so I made my decision. That can’t be changed now. With how the year panned out it would have been a great to fight for the championship with Jamie and Giacomo, but I’m more than happy with finishing third. That’s what’s catapulted me into 2016."
On Sunday night, PHILLIPS told us: “When I saw Steve with a big smile this morning, I knew he will win today. That guy loves mud!” Is it really your favorite type of terrain or you feel comfortable in any conditions?
S.H: “Wow. It’s great to know that Matt said something like that. I have huge amount of respect for him, he’s an awesome guy. Yes, I enjoy riding in muddy conditions because coming from the UK you have to get on and learn to ride mud. You’d soon become miserable if you didn't! More often than not when we race and ride in the UK it’s wet, but not always super muddy. I feel comfortable in any conditions really as I have a great set-up and feeling with my Beta, which gives me great confidence. I’m less experienced on hard-pack and rocky terrain because it’s difficult to find any enduro courses with that terrain in the UK.”
You’re young but already very fast. What areas can you improve, to get even better?
S.H: “There are lots of areas where I think I’m able to improve. That’s why I’m a little surprised but excited to be in the position I’m in now. 2016 is a learning year for me. That doesn't change just because I’ve had some good results. Experience only comes with time, so I just need to keep competing to improve that.”
Steve HOLCOMBE Digest
Name: HOLCOMBE Steve
Nickname: “The Exmoor Beast”
Date of Birth: May, 16th 1994
Place of Birth: South Molton (UK)
Race Number: 70
Bike: Beta RR 300
2011: BEC Clubman Champion
2012: BEC Expert Champion – BSEC U19 Champion
2014 : European Enduro Junior E1 Champion – BEC E1 Champion – BSEC Elite 3rd
2015: 3rd EWC Junior – W2C Champion – BEC 2nd