Caleb Tennant finished up a respectable 3rd in this year’s South African National Motocross Championship in the MX2 class. With results like that you know he’s damn fast on a dirt bike. We put together this sweet interview for Caleb to answer, check out what he had to say.
Full Name: Caleb Tennant
Hometown: Cape Town
Years racing: 2013 is my 15th year racing
Machine of choice: Kawasaki
Sponsors: Fast Powersports/ Rockstar Energy/ Kawasaki Team, Thor, Asterisk, FMF, Arai, Renthal, Von Zipper, Indy Oil, Gazebo World, Gaerne Boots, Racestar Graffix, Shay King & Brodalka Photography, Wetherd Designs, Mashobane Electrical, Prepsol Engine Cleaner, Cecil Penny Racing, Pelotrain, SFS Freight and Circa.
You have raced in both the international and local circuits. Tell us about some of your highs and lows over the years?
I have had lots of great moments so far in my career but also a lot of disappointments. A couple highs have been my 4 South African national championships, especially my championship in 2009 coming back from a DNF at the second round and winning every single heat the rest of the year. Also had a lot of great moments and finishes racing in the States. The racing I did there was not in a series though just raced qualifiers for Loretta Lynn’s and any other races I could get to. In the States I did really well in the qualifiers but unfortunately did not get to race as I had to get shoulder surgery a month before the event. A great result for me there was winning the Amateur day at Budds Creek which is the race the day after the pro race.
My big disappointments have been in 2011 when I was full time racing in the States having to come back just before Loretta’s for shoulder surgery which put me out for 5 months. The next disappointment was when I decided to race the MX2 class in SA in 2012 and three weeks before the first national I broke my collarbone. Another big disappointment was the same year at the Cape Town national whilst battling for 1st place dislocated my shoulder more than half way through the race and having to get surgery on the other shoulder which put me out for another 5 months.
What are some of the biggest differences between the local scene and the international scene?
The international scene is on another level. There are more tracks, more riders, more money and more focus on the sport. If you want to make a career out of motocross, overseas is where you need to be.
“I feel my mind is completely free while riding my bike. While riding I have nothing else in my head other than the task at hand”
SA has potential international talent. What does it take to get overseas and secure yourself in an international circuit?
South Africa does have a lot of talent! We have a bunch of really fast riders here that have potential of making it in motocross overseas, but you can’t just go over and expect to do well. You need to gain international experience, which means staying over there for a while, getting used to the intense pace and the tracks. Most of all if you want to compete with the top guys over there you need an extremely good bike. So to do this obviously requires a huge amount of money and it is a big gamble as you might not get any return on it, so there are not many people able to spend that kind of money.
What do you miss about international racing?
I miss everything about it, I miss riding those awesome tracks, I miss racing with 39 other guys on the line, and I miss the energy and the vibe of that racing over there. Would do anything to go back!
What are your goals in the South African national championships?
Well this year I had a lot of bad luck and I was not very consistent but still managed to end up 3rd in the MX2 class in the South African national WOMZA championship. I learnt a lot this year and am definitely going for the win in 2014.
How often do you train and what type of training do you do?
I train 5 to 6 times a week and I spend a lot of time on the bike but also spend a lot of time in the gym, running and the odd mountain bike ride. John Wakefield (Pelotrain ) makes up my training program so everything is scheduled through the year, either focusing more on intensity, strength, or endurance.
Do you ever suffer from armpump? If so, what is your best way to combat it?
I do often suffer from arm pump but only my first moto for some reason. There is unfortunately no cure from arm pump other than riding and learning to try and push through it.
In your opinion, what is the best thing, feeling about riding a dirt bike?
There are so many amazing feelings I get while riding. Nothing can ever compare to hitting a big jump for the first time, hitting a corner absolutely perfect and most of all crossing the finish line first after a race.
What goes through your mind when you’re on the bike?
I feel my mind is completely free while riding my bike. While riding I have nothing else in my head other than the task at hand. I try keep relaxed while riding and focus on every point of the track, myself and the bike.
What’s your key to getting a holeshot?
To have a clear mind on the starting line, to visualize yourself getting to that corner first and to have the confidence to know you can beat everything to the first corner.
Any shot outs?
Most of all I would like to say a massive thank you to my dad for all his effort, time and money over the years. Also a big thanks to Shaun Pautz for always sticking by me and doing such a good job of keeping my bike in one piece. A big thanks to Cecil Penny for all the help and efforts on the bike. Also a massive thanks to Shane and Dustin for backing me this year and making this team run as successfully as possible. Last but not least Hylton Beattie from Thor USA for always being there for me and sorting me out with everything I need since 2002.