Holeshot – with Sam Smith
Our own Northern Ferret gets up close and personal with one of Dubai’s hottest new MotoX talents, Sam Smith, riding under the Sandstorm Motorcycles banner once again this season.
Some time ago whilst chatting to Jonathan Crompton, owner of Sandstorm Motorcycles in Dubai, he informed me that he was awaiting the arrival of his new mechanic from the UK. Nice move I thought at the time, a young expat mechanic who had raced MotoX in the UK, would be a great addition to the team.
I met Sam at the workshop a few times not long after his arrival, he was quietly going about his work as I was chatting to anyone who would listen to me about my weekend rides in the desert…I happened to mention that I needed new tires fitting to the bike and before I could say “how much” they were fitted…
I went back in after a couple of rides complaining that I didn’t like the feel of the bike or the tires since fitting. Sam assured me it was the setup that I didn’t have right and gave me a few tips as to what to change…I took his advice and ‘what do you know’…the lad was right! The bike was transformed and I was riding with more confidence and faster (in my eyes) than ever before…Not too shabby for an old guy!
Having seen Sam up at the local Jebel Ali track, on the odd occasion I managed to make it up there for the races, you could see that he had a lot of ability but did lack race fitness which led to his performance dropping off as the race went on. Even so, to finish 2nd in his first season over here after a long lay off, was pretty impressive.
There is more to come from Sam and after catching up with him recently for a photo shoot, he chatted openly about how his first season had gone, the up’s & downs, and how he plans to take the #1 plate this season…Doubt him at your peril !
“My name is Sam Smith, 22 years old and have lived in Dubai for 1 year now. I am working full time as a mechanic for Sandstorm Motorcycles and also racing MotoX under the Sandstorm Team race banner. Overall my first race season here was pretty good, I got here a couple of months before the season started and didn’t really have a clue what to expect. Also I hadn’t raced for over twelve months so I was quite rusty and my fitness levels were not too good”
“I started the year on a 2008 Honda CRF 450R kindly supplied by Sandstorm. The bike was good but I didn’t really get on with it too well. The first few races at the local Jebel Ali & Umm Al Quwain tracks were ok and I was just breaking into the top ten. I knew I could improve on this once my fitness was up and I had more time on the bike. Half way through the season I switched bikes to a KTM 450, once again, this was kindly supplied by Sandstorm. After a few practice sessions on the bike to get it set up and get the suspension dialled in, I knew that I would be quicker on the KTM. My first race on the KTM was at Umm Al Quwain and I managed two third places giving me third place overall and my first trophy in the UAE – Yeah, I was chuffed! “
“From then until the end of the season I was constantly finishing in the top five. I was really happy with that especially as it was my first season here. Going into the final round of the DMX Championship I was lying second overall in the series. It was down to myself and Mark Ackerman for the title, he beat me on the day and won the championship by ten points so I finished the season in second place overall, which I was extremely happy with”.
“At the end of the season I entered the Supercross event at Festival City. I was riding a 450 KTM borrowed from Tim Trenker at KTM UAE, thanks Tim, – Unfortunately I managed to wreck it! Sorry Tim! The first race was good and I got second place, I was really enjoying the track but, in the final race I had a pretty big crash and broke my wrist. Not the ideal pre-race preparation but sometimes that’s how it goes…It meant that I had two months off the bike whilst recovering. With my wrist almost fully recovered and getting stronger week by week, I am now busy preparing for the 2010/2011 season. Sandstorm has stepped up to the mark once again and is supporting me with a brand new KTM 450 Nagl Edition (very nice!)”
“I’m training hard for the new season with plenty of gym work and trying to improve my fitness levels as well as fitting in as much seat time as possible so that I can try and go one better this time. I’m in the gym three to four times a week and riding twice a week so I know I will be ready for the first race in three weeks time. I’m also looking for a better season in the Desert X series this year. I didn’t have much luck in them last year due to crashes and punctures, etc, but I’m a lot more confident this year as I have more experience in the desert and with the navigation, which is a must if you want to be competitive, I have a good bike set up and pit support so overall it’s looking promising. I am hoping that the DMX Championship plus Desert X will be good to me this year, one thing is for sure, I will be giving it 100% in an attempt to take the #1 plates.”
“Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Jonathan and Christine at Sandstorm Motorcycles for all their support, without which I would never have done so well. Also thanks to my Mum, Dad and sister for their good luck phone calls and support from back home in the UK”
Circuit Pro Digital would like to wish Sam all the very best of luck for the new season. We will be following his progress throughout the season and hopefully Sam will be giving us a blow by blow account of each and every race through the pages of CPD….
TTFN – Northern Ferret…