INTERVIEW: LEWIS CORNISH
We spoke with the Round 1 winner in Thailand, UK rider Lewis Cornish, to find out how he got into professional supermoto racing, how he is finding riding in Asia, and what advice he’d give to young riders trying to get into supermoto.
How did you get into the sport of supermoto racing?
When I was about 3 or 4 years old, my dad bought me a little PW50 Yahama. Just an automatic machine, but I guess you could say that’s when I started riding! It was never anything serious, but then I got my first supermotard when I was 12 and started to ride properly.
As soon as I got my bike me and my dad got down to the track to race, and it carried on from there.
Was this around the UK?
We didn’t travel all-round the country. I started to race up in Wigan, in the North of England, in 2005. I’m from Norfolk so it was a bit of a drive, but the racing was worth it.
When did you start competing in Asia?
I went out in late 2014 for the International Motorcycle Festival in Malaysia. That was just a one off thing. I actually didn’t end up racing because I broke my ankle 2 days before flying out! I was practicing on my mountain bike and the landing didn’t go so well…
I got involved with Kenny Motorworks whilst at the festival, and they invited me out for the first FIM Asia Supermoto Championships in 2015. So that was my first real competition in Asia.
What’s the competition like in Asia?
You’ve got some really good riders out in Asia, considering the facilities aren’t quite as good as they are in Europe or the USA. The top 3 or 4 riders are really talented – I’ve definitely got my work cut out this year for the overall Championship.
How do you balance racing in Asia and Europe?
It’s not easy! I’m doing America this year as well. It used to be a novelty, but now it’s just really hard work. I’m constantly jet-lagged – which isn’t ideal for racing. But, I still love it.
How easy is it to switch from your bike at home to the Husqvarna in Asia?
It’s really difficult because they don’t feel similar at all. I’ve spent so many hours riding my TM at home it feels like an old armchair, so riding a different bike in Asia takes a bit of getting used to. Massive thanks to Kenny Motorworks for providing me with a bike to ride out there though.
What do you say to young supermoto riders trying to compete professionally?
Social media is massively important these days. You’ve got to try and boost your profile and get your name out there. That way you can get noticed, especially by sponsors. And always keep training to get the results!
Is there any training you do that helps with supermoto racing?
I ride mountain bikes, and I think that helps. Anything on 2 wheels will probably be good for you to do, the more extreme the better as supermoto racing has off-road sections that requires a lot of skill.
Are Muhd and Trakarn your biggest rivals this year?
Yep, definitely. Those guys are both quick.
Are you confident for the rest of the 2017 Championship?
Well, when I had a walk around the track in Thailand I didn’t think it would be a track that suited me at all. It had a big off-road section and I don’t really come from a motocross background. Both Trakarn Thangthong from Thailand and defending Champion Muhd Habibullah from Malaysia are both motocross champions in their respective countries, so I thought it was going to be difficult.
But I won in the end, which was a massive surprise. So that has given me a boost of confidence going into the next rounds.
Next stop of the FIM Asia Supermoto 2017 Championship:
Kota Surakarta, Indonesia 14-15 October.
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