If there’s anything this interview uncovers, it’s that despite Kerim Fitz-Gerald being one of SA’s best MX riders and competitive athletes – he’s surprisingly down to earth and incredibly easy-going. Kerim seems so laid-back in this interview you almost forget what a machine he is on the track. Almost. There’s no denying that however much Kerim may be a nice guy, you’re still likely to see his dirt if you’re up against him in a race. We caught up with Fitz-Gerald just before he was about to leave for the US to take part in the AMA Outdoor MX Series.
Full Name: Kerim Fitz-Gerald
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa
Machine of Choice: KTM
Years racing MX: This year will be my 21st
How did you get into MX?
My uncles raced and then my older cousins and then my brother started racing, so it’s just been in the family and I pretty much grew up at the tracks.
So you are leaving for the US to do the AMA Outdoor Series! Explain what the trip involves and how long you will be over there racing?
I leave now for a few weeks to go get stuff ready and sorted. Then I come back home to race Cape Town National and then go back to the US to do the first couple outdoors. I will be coming home to do the nationals here and see how things go.
What are your goals while racing over there?
I want to do the best I can, I have no expectations and I’m not going to say where I should be ‘cause I have no idea. [Those guys] are the best in the world.
What class will you be racing?
I will be racing the MX2/Lites class.
What bike will you be racing?
I will be racing KTM, Franziska [from KTM] managed to get me some bikes and I can’t thank her and KTM enough!
How did you land the deal to get into racing the AMA Outdoor Series?
Well I wanted to go race there this year full time but Franziska from KTM wanted me to stay and we worked something out and here we are, KTM has given me an awesome opportunity to go race there.
Where are you hoping to place and are there any riders that you are confident that you’ll be beating?
I am not sure, like I said I’ll take it step by step and once we have done some races I’ll know where I am and where I want to be or should be.
Do you think you can hang with our two other SA riders who will be competing in the same series Tayla Rattray and Gareth Swanepoel?
Ha-ha! Swanie and Tyla are fast and are two of the best riders in the world, I would just be happy to learn from them and get to ride with them.
Are you worried about anything holding you back like the difference in their tracks etc? Like anything you have to get used to the different conditions and tracks but I have been there before and we obviously watch it whenever we can on TV but I want to go there with an open mind and see what happens.
How have you been training this year and for this tour?
I think the biggest thing for me going over won’t really be the physical side but more the mental side. I just want to try and be as mentally prepared and ready as I can be for the first race and see how it goes.
What drives your passion to race motocross?
I love motocross, it’s almost all I know. I have done it all my life and there is always a challenge whether you winning or losing there is always something new and exciting around the corner.
Explain the best feeling you can have on a bike?
I think racing itself; there is no better feeling than being out on the track doing what you love doing!
Generally MX riders have been stereotyped as “bad-ass” – what’s your take on this?
Ha-ha! No, I don’t know what that’s about, I don’t know why people think that. We are all just normal guys racing bikes and having fun. Well I am a good guy anyway.
How do you prepare for race day?
I just try make sure that everything we need for the weekend is ready; I want to not have to worry about much on race day. Obviously there are things that happen that we can’t control but when race day is there I have awesome people around me that make sure all I have to do is race my bikes the best I can.
Anything specific you do on the start line to keep you calm and to get a good start?
Not really, I am a pretty calm and relaxed guy, I try not let too much get to me on race day.
What goes through you mind while you’re sitting on the start line?
Not too much, I just make sure I have a good gate and focus on what I need to do when the gate drops.
Do you ever suffer from arm pump? How do you deal with it?
I did have a little bit of arm pump trouble a couple years ago but I am fortunate enough to not battle too much with it. If I ride a lot it seems to keep it away so I’ll keep doing that!
Any people you want to thank?
There are a lot of people and sponsors that make my racing possible. RedBull, KTM, Thor, Oakley, KTM Hardparts, Pirelli, Motorex Oils, KD Tube and Wire. Franziska, Jim, Eury, Ryan Payne, Raymond from Pirelli, my mom and dad, my brother, Sven,Franco and of course my girlfriend Chloe. I know I have left someone out but THANK YOU!