Half the World Away! We catch up with New Zealand Minibike racer Jeremy McKnight as he makes the Epic Journey to be part of the Minibike World Champs
With reckless abandon the days keep firing by as we look forward to ploughing headlong into what is going to be the biggest Minibike event on the planet, the Minibike World Championships which takes place from the 25th to the 27th August at Fatcat’s Motoparc. To some, getting to the super prepped Fatcat’s Motoparc is a quick jaunt up the motorway, others a ferry trip and van journey, but for the super enthusiastic Jeremy McKnight the journey is one heck of a lot longer as he takes on the almost day long plane ride to set foot on blighty from his New Zealand home some 19000km away.
From speaking to him you get the feeling that the arduous journey is merely a detail on his way to new experiences, new adventures, getting to race his dirtbike, fulfilling a destiny and having fun, which is after all whats it’s all about… onward to the interview…
Hey Jeremy, tell us about yourself…
I’m 32 as of last week, I’m from Timaru, New Zealand. I starting riding mini bikes around 5 years ago, and I used to race big bikes from age 12 – 22.
I had a couple of major injuries, eg I broke my back twice, once in 2004 where I shattered my back, getting told i’d be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I didn’t let that hold me back, my mindset about life changed, then some miracle happened and my feeling came back to my legs and I learnt to walk again.
I got back to full fitness then got the titanium out of my back and began racing again around 1 year later then within two years i was over racing in Australia in the MX1 national 450 class.
Then in 2007 I came home from Ozzy to race the New Zealand nationals and i made a mistake at the end of the start straight putting myself in the wrong position I got clipped, cartwheeled and got ran over and broke my neck and 4 vertebrae between my shoulders. With internal bleeding and other messed up things I decided then that I would change the direction of my life so I started my businesses but I kept them based around moto so I could stay part of the sport that I love.
I stayed off any bikes for the next 5 years then i got a mini bike to play on and to assist my coaching and because I feel they are safe and give that same amazing feeling.
So you’re a Kiwi, what brings you over to race in the UK and the World Champs, that’s a hellava way?
I raced in France last year and I didn’t finish the job.
Yea its a wee way but at the end of the day it’s a dirt bike on a track no matter where it is its going to be fun.
Are you looking to race anywhere else whilst you are in Europe?
No i am coming to race this event and then my partner and i will have a little holiday before we head home and become parents.
Have you been over to the UK before? Will you be doing a spot of sightseeing while you are here?
No I haven’t, yes we will be having a look around.
So what’s the Minibike Racing scene like in NZ?
It’s very small to be honest its basically non-existent. I have a goal to create a massive fun minibike scene here in New Zealand, I’m the New Zealand distributor for YCF we had our first fun day/ race day last weekend we had 28 YCF on the line.
Are the people and Motorcycle Media in NZ following your trip?
Yes people are following my trip.
Have you raced overseas before, and if so what was it like?
Yes i raced big bikes in Australia for 2 years it was an experience you have to be mentally strong and don’t over think things, when your younger it can be easy to head fuck yourself. I raced in France at the World Cup last year it was good, it was a learning experience.
Do you know what to expect from racing in the UK, have you seen any footage of the racing?
The minibike scene is big there, yes I’ve seen footage it looks rad.
Is there anyone coming over with you?
Yes my partner Kara is coming with me.
I see your competing in both the 110 and 160 classes, how are you bringing your machinery over?
Yannick from YCF has sent a 160 to my friend Dave Goormans in Belgium and he will bring it with him, and I purchased a 110cc in the UK.
I see from your Social Media you have been getting in a lot of practice do you feel prepped and ready for the challenge?
Yes I’m 100% ready
Are you looking to arrive in the UK early and get in some pre-event practice?
Yes, ill arrive on Saturday the 19th and ill test my bike on Sunday 20th
What does it mean to you to be racing in a World Championship event and flying the New Zealand flag?
It means so much to be from such a beautiful country, i’ll fly our flag with pride. We have had some amazing motocross riders come from New Zealand, Shayne King 1996 World Champion, Ben Townley 2004 World Champion, Darryl King, Darrel Hurley…. I want to have my name among those.
Do you have a goal or position in mind or is it all out to be World number 1?
I think the answer to this question is spelt out already lol
Here’s your chance to thank your sponsors and those you support you;
Shayne King from Crown Kiwi Enterprises, Alpinestars, Bell, 100 percent, Backflips Clothing, un4seen decals , Honeygrips, South Canterbury Hydraulics, BCC, YCF , Jamie Courtney for making this opportunity a reality, GP Cube, Dave Goormans, Bens Bikes, Renown Apparel, my employees for making my set up on point, Karlton my personal lap scorer lol, my family and my amazing partner Kara for believing with me.
Where can we follow you on Social Media?
instagram – jeremymcknight139
facebook – www.facebook.com/jeremy.mcknight.12