He is the Champion of the Champions, he won everything in 2018, from EnduroGP Class to the "Brave One” Trophy and the Akrapovic Super Test Award… So, we had to talk with Steve HOLCOMBE (GB – Beta) to know his secret of preparation and what really motivates him!
Congratulations once again Steve! What a second part of the year it was! 5 wins on 7 possible in EGP and 10 in a row in E3…
Steve HOLCOMBE: "The second part of my season was almost my redemption for not being able to perform how I would've like in the first part. It was a situation I hadn't been in before being injured and it really did affect 3 GP's which in turn is 1/3 of the championship. The second part of the season was important for me mentally to make a statement and almost say, this is what I can do, I'm here to win.”
Taking a look back to the start of the season, you had a solid Finnish GP but then you suffered an injury in Spain. What happened exactly?
S.H: "Finland was awesome for me, better than expected. Like last year I chose to go to Finland off my own back and had the help and guidance of Snellman motorsport and Petteri SILVAN. There help was invaluable and gave me the experience I needed to be smart in the race and finish as highly as I did. Spain was tough, on the start of the 2nd lap on day 1 I had a silly little crash in the transfer and went down hard on my right side. I was helped up by Eero (REMES) and Brad (FREEMAN) but had trouble breathing and had a lot of pain in my right chest. This was the transfer before the water issue as well. So I toughed up and raced through day 2 and the pain was considerably worse for the next GP in Portugal. Thinking it was just bruising I pushed through but didn't have the best of rides in Portugal. I headed home and got checked out and I had cracked two of my ribs. We had three weeks until Estonia so I had a few days off and tried to ride but I was still in discomfort. I took the decision to take a complete week off training to let my ribs heal along with daily laser treatments to help the healing process. My fitness wasn't where I would've liked to be in Estonia but I was surprised at my performance considering the circumstances.”
With SALVINI dominating the first 5 GP's, did you ever thought you could lose the title?
S.H: "Yes and no, Alex had a strong beginning of season but I knew I would be getting stronger towards the end and he wouldn't be able to step up. There was some doubt especially when I had the issue in Spain and lost valuable points but I was confident in my program. I knew even with the points gap we had into the summer break if I won every day of the remaining three GP's I'd win the title. I ended up winning 5 of the 6 days so I'm really pleased with my riding.”
It seems then that you had a tough summer break with no holidays but only work and training?
S.H: "Yeah that was the goal. The majority of riders like to take a good few days to a week of rest and then build back up but I was so motivated after a disappointing Trentino GP I couldn't wait to hit the summer hard. With the French GP being a XC race you have to be prepared in a different way so that changed my training quite a bit. I just kept ticking along and ticking the days off until the Edolo GP.”
EGP & E3 World Champion, Mika Ahola "Brave One” Trophy winner for the second consecutive season, winner of the Akrapovic Super Test Award… You won everything this season…
S.H: "When I see all the accomplishments written in front of me it has been one hell of a season. Along with going unbeaten in the Italian championship, this season has been my best to date. I can't thank my team and the people around me enough for helping me to be in this position.”
What's next for 2019? Will you try a new challenge and change class?
S.H: "I will compete in the full EGP calendar and perhaps make some additional races on the side. We have my Beta 300RR set up awesome at the moment and the team have some new developments to test in the coming weeks. I have a saying if it's not broken don't fix it, so most likely I'll stay in E3 and chase the overall GP class again. Go for 3 in a row.”
Aren't you scared to lose motivation with how the things are going right now (4 titles in 3 seasons)?
S.H: "Not at all! I'm 24 years old in my 3rd season as a pro. I still feel I have a lot to learn and there's a lot of things I would like to improve on over this off season. I've managed to get a great off bike program in place this year so I'm looking to develop that and really take a step forward from where I am now physically. My motivation doesn't come from success, money or fame… it comes from not liking to get beat. I hate getting beaten. As long as the competition is like it is now I'm as motivated as ever.”