Unfortunately for Team HRC’s Mitch Evans, 2021 was a total loss in terms of racing as the young Aussie was sidelined with a lingering wrist problem.
This meant that instead of lining up alongside former world champion Tim Gajser in the MXGP championship, he was back in Australia to recover and prepare as best he could for a return to the campaign. 2022.
Next year is fast approaching and the start date is February 20.e on the horizon we caught up to # 43 to see what it was and how he was progressing after one of the toughest years of his career.
Where are you and what have you been up to recently?
I am currently in the southwest of France. I finally moved here, after almost two years of finding accommodation. I’m pretty happy to be back in the area, having stayed here when I joined the Livia team (Honda 114 Motorsports) in 2019. I’m getting the house ready and just trying to get back to a routine. I rode and there are a lot of good trails here, a lot of physically demanding trails so I enjoyed it a lot. It’s good to be back in Europe to build a base for next year.
How do you feel, physically and mentally?
At the moment, I feel really good. I’ve been working a lot on my mental state when I’m not on the bike so I’m in a good state of mind right now. I try to enjoy everything and be grateful, and I try to make the most of each day. Physically, I am in a good position. Fitness wise, I’m a bit limited by my wrist but it gets better every time I’m on the bike so I’m going to keep working hard and it will be 100% before I know it.
How difficult was it to miss an entire year of racing?
It was really hard to miss a whole year of racing. 2021 hasn’t really happened for me, it’s just a blur and it’s been really hard to just sit there and watch. 13 months is by far the longest I’ve gone without a bike, and even before that I had a hiatus of about four months, so I feel like it’s been a very long time since ran. Luckily you never forget how to ride a bike, you just lose fitness and intensity, which never took me very long to come back, so I’m looking forward to that.
What did you do that year?
I’ve been back and forth to Australia several times, spending about a month in hotel quarantine, so it wasn’t too much fun. But being in Australia, I was able to meet friends and take a little personal development trip. I discovered a lot of things about myself and it opened my eyes a bit. It was the first time that I had to look outside of motocross to try and flourish and even then I couldn’t, because motocross has been such a big part of my life up to this point. It really shed light on what was important and gave me new motivation for next season.
Were you able to continue training to some degree?
During free time, I was still able to train; biking, running, rowing, but after each operation I couldn’t use my wrist for about six weeks at the gym, but was able to keep my legs, core and side right to my fit body. I still have a big imbalance in muscle mass because it was difficult to keep my left side so strong, but now it’s the goal to have everything equal. I’m glad I was able to do some things as it helped me spend a lot of time in those 13 months.
Were you able to watch the MXGP 2021 season?
I got to watch the 2021 MXGP season. It was hard to watch as the second bike normally started after midnight in Australia so most of the time I had to try and watch the second bikes in the morning or see the highlights but I wanted to support Tim and the HRC team and he did. great work throughout the year. It was difficult to see all the action though because I knew I should have been there so I didn’t watch as much as I normally would. It’s been a really tough season with a lot of high intensity action, and that’s another reason I struggled to see her because I felt deep down that I could have been up there with these guy and beat me up, so sitting at home and seeing it on the laptop im sure people can imagine how hard it is. I believe if I have a great winter and am 100% healthy I can fight these guys any day and that’s what I can’t wait to try and prove .
What are your plans for this 2022 preseason?
My plans are to stay in France as long as possible to prepare myself here. Now that I have my basic setup here I have some really good leads, I have a really good program so I hope to do most of my work here. I will go to Sardinia at some point with the team, to test and race for the Italian Championship, then come back to France and finish before the start of the season. I haven’t really looked at the calendar because at the moment the important thing is to take it day by day and improve each time I ride.
What are your goals for the start of the MXGP 2022 season?
My goals for next year are consistent top 10 performance. I want good starts, good bikes and slowly regain the pace of the race. By the time of the first MXGP gate drop it will take around 15 or 16 months so I’m sure people can figure the nerves will be a bit higher than normal and I don’t want to set the bar too high in terms of results. I just want to play smart and build over the year.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of the season, in a perfect world?
In a perfect world, I hope to have achieved some podiums in the general classification and some victories at the end of the year. Just being a top guy every weekend. If my wrist isn’t in pain I know I can be that guy so it’s all going to come down to my wrist because the rest of my body is perfect. I am in a better mental state than in my life so I can’t wait to get started. I also want to thank the members of the HRC team for staying with me, checking in and seeing how I’m doing. It hasn’t been easy with this injury, this trip and the global restrictions that have been put in place so it was good to get their support throughout the day.