Miguel de Waal is one of the hottest up-and-coming Motocross riders on the South African circuit. With only five years of riding under his belt, he is already competing for the regional 125cc championship as well as battling for podium positions in the national championship.
We caught up with Migsta26 to get his views on the sport and what it means to him.
Full name: Miguel de Waal
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa
Years riding: 5
Machine of choice: I really like a bike that is responsive on the bottom end and handles well. I can’t wait to experiment with 4-Stoke bikes. Having only every raced an 85cc and 125cc it is difficult to choose but I think a 250cc 4-Stroke is going to loads of fun to ride
Sponsors: Out of Africa Racing, Yamaha South Africa, Motul South Africa, Fox Racing South Africa, Aqua Rush Vitality, BlackSpade Racing, Greasetec, FMF via TRP Distributors, Pirelli, SBS Brakes, Renthal, D.I.D Chains and Acerbis.
What does Motocross mean to you?
Motocross means absolutely everything to me. It is my pride, passion and joy.
How did you get started, when was your first race and how did you do?
I think it started on one of those black plastic bikes from the fuel station, just like pretty much every other motocross rider. My first race was in 2015 and I think my result was a little different to what I imagined [laughs].
Now racing in the 125cc High School Class, how is the 2018 season going?
The 125cc Class has taken some getting used to coming from the smaller bikes. The bigger bike has some added advantages over the 85cc. Currently I am leading the Northern Regions Championship after 3 rounds and I’m tied for 4th place on the SA National Championship after 3 rounds. 2018 is going well and we are pretty much on track for some good results for the season.
Who is your main competition?
In both the Regional and National championships there are some tough contenders with some serious titles under their belts. I think that anyone who has their head and heart set on a goal can be considered as my main competition.
What have been some highlights of your racing career?
For sure my biggest achievement so far, and one that I am extremely proud of, was getting the chance to represent South Africa at the Motocross of African Nations in 2017 where I placed 2nd overall. A few other highlights would be a few podiums in the SA Nationals in 2017, as well as my first ever win in the 125cc Class at round 2 of the Northern Regions Championship.
How much time do you spend on the bike and training to make sure you are at the top of your game?
I try my best to ride at least twice a week and if I can manage three times it is always great. If I had a choice I would ride every day but then again, so would everyone who owns a dirt bike because it is so much fun. Thanks to BlackSpade racing who have provided me with a top-class Mountain Bike, which helps make my off-the-bike training a total breeze and a blast too.
What goes through your mind when you are sitting on the start gate?
The start gate is definitely a place every rider takes seriously. It can be the best place on earth and the most overwhelming place at the same time. There are millions of thoughts that go through my mind, but I try not let my thoughts get the better of me.
How would you best explain the feeling of racing motocross?
It is honestly impossible to describe the feeling of racing and only a racer will know what it truly feels like. But, to briefly explain, it is like a rollercoaster ride, you never know what to expect, it’s full of fun, nerves, and excitement.
Which are your favorite tracks to ride?
I enjoy racing on a loamy, rutted and rough tracks with lots of jumps. When I’m training, I enjoy tracks that test my fitness, technique and my ability to think fast.
What changes would you like to see on the local circuit?
Racing-wise, I would really love for the races to be a little bit longer, just to really test your fitness and capabilities, and also to allow the track to break down a bit more and get a little rougher. To have more jumps would be amazing too, not necessarily huge ones, but just jumps to fill in the flat-out straights to slow it down a bit and give the fans some more action.
Which local and international riders inspire you?
South Africa has produced so many international superstars and that alone inspires me. Currently on the international circuit I have to say that Dean Wilson inspires me in so many ways. For someone who has dealt with so many setbacks and struggles he still manages to have fun and enjoy the sport and is competing at the highest level of racing.
What are your main goals on the 2018 season?
I would love to keep the championship lead in the Northern Regions Championship and to keep moving forwards in the National Championship, and hopefully finish off on the podium for the year.
Where would you like to see Motocross take you?
Motocross is what I would like to take on as a career when I’m older. I would love to build a name for myself like so many South African riders who have made it to the top of the world stage. I look forward to making loads of friends and enjoying each new place I race at. I try and learn something about every town that I race in.