Thomas Covington scored his first-ever MX2 moto and overall win in Mexico. Photos by: MXGP.com
After a standout career as an amateur in the U.S., Thomas Covington decided to take the road less traveled and go directly to the FIM Motocross World Championship series after graduating from Loretta Lynn’s in 2013. In 2013, Thomas finished up his amateur career with solid top five performances in Open Pro Sport (5th) and 250A (4th), but rather than chase the American dream of racing Supercross under the lights in big stadiums, Thomas chased a different dream: becoming an American World Champion.
Out of the gate the Monster Energy/Kawasaki rider looked poised to make an impression immediately when he finished 3rd in his second-ever MX2 World Championship moto in Qatar, but that success would take nearly two full years to repeat. For the rest of 2014, the rookie would finish every moto outside of the top ten and he would finish his rookie World Championship campaign in 17th.
Instead of throwing in the towel on his World Championship dreams, Thomas returned with the same team in 2015. While the American was still not lighting the world on fire, Thomas has been a consistent top ten guy all year long. For whatever reason, though, Thomas’ has struggled on the European tracks again in ’15, but the #64 has shown his potential with two 4th overalls in Thailand and Argentina and his first-ever overall win last weekend in Mexico. It was a huge win for Thomas, and with his home Grand Prix at Glen Helen just a week away, it could not have come at a better time.
After Thomas’ win, he sat down for a quick press conference Q & A and MotoXAddicts was in the house to record what the American had to say. You can hear from Mr. Covington below.
Thomas, congrats on your first-ever overall MX2 victory. You must be happy right now.
Yeah, beyond stoked! I didn’t know I had the overall win until I was walking up to the podium and I was asking, “Where should I stand?” I didn’t even know I won the overall. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s something I haven’t had in a long time, so it’s awesome.
There were two very different conditions for the races today. Very very muddy in race one where you finished 4th. A lot dryer in race two. In the second race, you got into the lead quite early on, but what were your thoughts initially when you started leading? Did those thoughts change as you neared the checkered flag?
Yeah, at the beginning when I passed the number 10 [Calvin Vlaanderen] I was feeling good and just wanted to put down some good laps and get a gap. Then towards the end, my mechanic started putting on the board “Gajser 13 seconds,” “Gajser 10 seconds,” and then the next time I came around “7 seconds.” I thought “Oh, man, he’s coming,” but I knew I had a big enough gap and the race was coming to an end there. I was able to come in comfortably.
It’s been a tough two years for you, hasn’t it? This is your second full year in MX2, and obviously today was a high point. Can you kind of fill us in on things that have affected your last two years. Were there injuries, bad luck?
No, I just think it’s tough for someone like me that came straight out of the amateurs in the US and go straight to racing GPs. It’s a whole different world, and it’s taken me a while to get used to the European tracks and the whole lifestyle. I think this year has gone significantly better than last year, a lot more top tens this year and consistently having good finishes. Yeah, to win here this weekend is just incredible.
Next week we head to the final round in the USA at Glen Helen. You now go into it a race winner and an overall Grand Prix winner as well. You’re not just an American on the starting line in a Grand Prix. Are you looking more forward to that now that you won here?
I don’t think it changes that much going into next week. For the past three months, I’ve been looking forward to this race. I’ll go in with the same mind-set I had before. I will try and get on the podium again for the home crowd—that’s the goal.