Interview: Sam Yates on Revo Kawasaki, signing Tommy Searle and 2023
The 2023 season will be exciting for the GTCI Revo Kawasaki team as they contest the West Coast 250cc AMA Supercross season with Dylan Walsh as well as the British Championships. The team has entered Tommy Searle who has won three British MX1 championships in a row and Revo is hoping he can do a fourth with Walsh also in contention for the MX2 championship.
The team has also invested in the future with the signing of exciting British talent, Billy Askew.
We caught up with Sam Yates to chat about the team, the upcoming season and more.
GateDrop: Sam, let’s start with 2022. You’ve played generic AMA SX rounds. How did you find this experience as it is totally different from Motocross but the team and Dylan showed good potential…
Yats: We actually entered the entire West Coast, so not technically a wild card but definitely a rookie. We started a bit on the back foot as we opted to ship our bikes and parts from the UK instead of sourcing bikes from the US.
The flight crate was delayed for over a month, leading to very minimal testing before the first round. We finally bought a bike from a dealer and luckily had a race motor with us. The crate finally arrived which allowed us to continue the tests. The overall experience was brilliant, Dylan got better every week and the results were consistent.
GateDrop: I’m sure you learned a lot from this experience – what kind of things did you learn and it should prepare you better for 2023 and it’s exciting that you’re doing a full series…
Yats: Of course, we had plenty of time to develop the bike in the 2022 season, which gave us a great opportunity to be more competitive for 2023. Dylan and I will be heading to the United States on November 1 to start the training and testing. , it will give us a lot more preparation time to come out strong in the first round.
The bottom line is that we’ve set up a separate team in America alongside Cari Schehr in the grounds of Grindstone. This keeps us focused on testing the season with Tommy Searle and Billy Askew. The name of the American team will be Revo Grindstone Kawasaki.
GateDrop: You obviously competed in MXGP in the past, but now you focus more on AMA SX… What is the reason for the change in management? Are AMA Support Teams Better?
Yats: Yes, there are many reasons, MXGP was getting repetitive, there is no prize money for riders, you spend hundreds of thousands and get little to no reward as a private team. However, there are cash, bonuses even for Supercross qualifying. The stadiums are close to sale at every turn. and the atmosphere is amazing.
America is also a huge market for Revo’s core automotive business, so it makes perfect sense for us to be competitive there and expand our brand recognition.
GateDrop: For 2023 you have secured Tommy Searle to contest the British Championships in MX1 with Walsh in MX2… A solid team and the aim must be to fight for both titles?
Yats: 100% the goal is to win both classes. Tommy is uniquely motivated to win the championship for the fourth year in a row. Dylan has shown he has what it takes many times this year.
GateDrop: How did the Tommy deal go? I’m sure he wasn’t short on offers and you must be looking forward to working with him?
Yats: We’ve had a good relationship with Tommy for a few years now and have talked from time to time about his signing, but nothing really came of it. This year was a bit different, things fell into place really well and it felt like the right decisions for both parties.
GateDrop: Are there any plans for Dylan and/or Tommy to do a selected outdoor AMA? We’ve seen Gilbert do some this year and it’s always cool to see…
Yats: We talked about it, Tommy wants to do some as long as we are in a strong position with the British, it is our priority. Dylan feels the same.
GateDrop: I think it was planned to run 2 AMA SX riders, but now the focus will be on Walsh. What is the reason behind this?
yates: The initial plan was to organize a team of two riders, however, a few financial sponsors pulled out at the last minute due to financial uncertainty. So we decided, as this is a new team setup with a smaller scale budget, that it would be wise to walk before you can run. The only focus is on Dylan for the West Coast Lites 2023 series.
GateDrop: What are your thoughts on the UK Championship over the past two years? In terms of developing young talent, do you think anything can be done to help develop the next Searle, Mewse etc…
Yats: I think the Brits have improved over the past few years; however, it could be better. I am delighted to see how things have improved for the 2023 season.
To be honest it’s difficult, there are a lot of good youngsters but unfortunately there aren’t enough teams anymore, due to the lack of money from outside sponsors. It sucks to be honest. But that’s life right now. We recently recruited young talent Billy Askew to compete alongside Dylan and Tommy. Can’t wait to see him progress on the big bike.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Image: Nuno Laranjeira