Motocross

Katherine Prumm anticipates exciting 2008 campaign

Women’s World Cup winner Katherine Prumm tlaks about 2008 and the switch to Yamaha

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2008 will be a big season in the short but spectacular career of double Women’s World Cup winner Katherine Prumm. The new Yamaha recruit is busy getting to grips with her new YZ250F in her native New Zealand and will shortly travel over to Europe to begin tests with the Van Beers team in preparation for the first ever FIM Women’s World championship, beginning at the MX1/MX2-GP Bulgarian Grand Prix on May 11th. Articulate and friendly Prumm is a very worthy ambassador for her discipline and a fine figurehead for the rapidly increasing popularity of women’s motocross. The 19 year old speaks here about her transfer to the ‘Blue Army’, her victories in 2007 and the perception of women’s motocross four years after the competition entered the international stage. Insider: 2006 was going so well with wins on both sides of the Atlantic but 2007 was probably the harder world cup win. How do you rank your results of last season? KP: 2007 was definitely a harder year for me because I had had six months off the bike with a knee reconstruction to fix my cartilage and snapped ACL ligament. Then my first race back at the end of January at the NZ International Grand Prix I crashed on a big double jump that was wet and compressed the T9 in my back by 60%. This left me with a further 6 weeks off the bike and by the time I got riding again it was only a month out from the first round of the World Cup. I felt like I had the speed to win the opening round in Germany and should have done so but crashed in moto 1 whilst leading and did the same in moto 2. I was really disappointed with round 1 but the points were still close, so I just focused on trying to come back strong for Sweden. I made sure that I got to Europe with plenty of time to recover before the final round of the World Cup. I waited 5 days before I first rode and my brother, Matthew came along to train with me also. I learnt a lot by riding in the sand as we don’t have sand in New Zealand like that of Europe. Coming into Lierop I didn’t really know how my speed was compared to the other girls but I was confident with my riding and this showed in qualifying when the track was rough and I managed to set the fastest lap time by 5.5 seconds. Sunday I had two bad starts but recovered by the middle of the race to win both motos by 25 seconds. It was really awesome to finish the season on a strong note and also to win my second World title. Afterwards there was no time to rest it was back home to NZ, a week and a half to recover and then into the first round on the NZ Motocross champs where I competed in both the Women’s Championship and the Men’s MX2. I had my best season ever this year and finished 12th overall in the MX2 class and my best race finish was 10th as well as taking my third women’s title. My goal for the season in the Men’s was top 15 and I was really proud to have achieved it. During the NZ Championship I also competed for the country in the Oceania MX Champs in Melbourne where I won the Women’s Championship and finally to finish the year I went across to the WMA American Women’s Cup in Texas where I won both motos in freezing temperatures of 2 degrees! Along with the Aussie title it was a good collection of results through 2007. Insider: You were so dominant in the sand of Lierop. How did you manage that? KP: I worked really hard in the sand in the weeks leading up to the race with my mechanic, Serge and also my brother, Matthew. He is a great training partner and can show me areas that I need to work on. We also got to race against each other and this helped me to learn a lot. Insider: Have you seen many changes in the conceptions of women's motocross since your involvement on a world level in 2005? KP: The sport has grown a lot in the last three years and the number of women competing has also increased dramatically worldwide. The women’s class was more of a side-show compared with the men in 2005 and now it is of equal importance and a full blown world championship. Insider: With Papenmeier and co. coming up, the level of competition in the women's series is expanding beyond the usual trio of girls isn't it? KP: Honestly I think every year the level of competition rises. Being based in New Zealand it is difficult for me to know how my speed is developing compared to everyone else but I am sure that 2008 will be no different to previous years with everyone stepping up their speed. Insider: How will it be having 5 rounds in 2008, especially for you being based on the other side of the world? KP: In 2008 I will base myself with the Van Beers Yamaha Team during the World Championship season. This will help me a lot as I won’t be flying 36 hours to Europe from NZ all the time and won’t have to battle the jet lag. I may also have some races in Australia for the Australian Women’s Championship if the dates allow. Insider: Will you change anything about your preparation for 2008 in light of the 5 races and also having to be based in Europe for longer periods? KP: I will make sure I have plenty of time to get over the jet lag this year through being based in Holland for the majority of my time with Van Beers. It’s a new bike for me this year so I want to make sure I have everything set up 100% and that I am comfortable for the first round. Insider: Any plans for AMA competition again this year? KP: At this stage I will be racing in Australia for the Women’s Motocross Champs, New Zealand in the Women’s and MX2 champs and then in Europe for the FIM World Championship. We haven’t made any plans for the US this year but maybe I can do the race in Texas again. Insider: How did the Yamaha deal come about and what was the main factor in making the new switch? KP: Yamaha came up with a really good world-wide package for me so that I would have support in all the countries that I race in. The Yamaha deal is an exciting opportunity that will allow me to be a part of a new environment with a new team and bike. Yamaha is behind me 120% and I feel that they will give me the best chance of success in 2008. Insider: Tell us a bit about your link with Yamaha Australia and Yamaha New Zealand? KP: In New Zealand I am part of the Subway Yamaha Racing team which is managed by Darryl King. They are a great team to be a part of and have won many national titles over the years. Yamaha NZ is an amazing company to work with and they are already pushing to have me in the media and involved in PR activities. Last night I did an interview on TV for ‘Pitlane’ which is a motorsport programme in NZ. Yamaha Australia will also play a big part in supporting me and if dates allow I will be competing in the Australian Women’s Championship to defend my title. They are really supportive of Women’s motocross and are looking to boost the industry and women’s level of racing there. Insider: The YZ250F is one of the dominant machines in MX2. Have you ridden it yet? What are your impressions? KP: I’ve had my new bike for just over a week now and it took me a while to get used to seeing the blue machines parked up in the work shop! I actually had my first race on it over the weekend at the Valley Champs which is a regional event. I was in the 250cc Men’s class and finished 11, 8, and 7 for 8th overall. I got better and better each race as I got more comfortable on the bike and actually almost got the holeshot in the last race. I am still getting used to everything and every time I learn something new about the set-up or the way I need to attack stuff in the turns. I really liked the way the bike handles in the turns from the first time I jumped on it and I can’t wait to get everything dialled in to exactly how I want it.

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