Tim Gajser hasn’t had the start to the MXGP season he was hoping for, after all the preparation done in the off season was lost in a split second back in February at the Italian International Championship in Arco di Trento, when the 2022 World Champion landed heavily after a big jump, breaking his right femur.
However, like with any racer, he just wanted to be on the mend and back in the starting gate and that’s exactly where he’ll be for his return at the MXGP of the Czech Republic on July 15/16.
"Obviously I’m extremely excited to have a date set for my return, to give me something to focus on a prepare for specifically and I feel that Loket is a good track, that I’ll have a lot of support at. I’ve been on the bike a number of weeks now and everything has gone well, the doctor has checked and confirmed this and given me the all-clear to return to racing. I have just over three weeks to make sure I am where I need to be, but just having that date makes things a lot clearer. A big thank you to everyone for all the support and I can’t wait to meet up with my Team HRC colleagues, and the rest of the MXGP paddock soon.”
However, since February things have not been easy for the Slovenian world champion as he saw the season slip away with the injury.
“You try and set these targets to hit, to try to be back as quickly as possible, trying to find shortcuts to allow you to get back a week or a day quicker. But you realise that that isn’t actually the best for your body and then you settle into the process that you will be not riding for a while and that you need to do all these things before you can and that time off is an important part of that.”
The plus side of being away is that he’s managed to do things that are often overlooked when you have a professional career as a rider, such as just having weekends free as an added bonus.
“The rehab schedule I’ve been doing has taken up a lot of time, just trying to make sure I’m doing everything to make my leg as strong as before. I get to spend a bit more time with friends and do ‘normal’ things, spending time with my girlfriend and my dog plus having a bit more of a regular life. I’ve tried to keep eating all the right things, I kept up my rehab and my general fitness as much as I can but I’ve also used this time to recharge after what has been some very intense years of racing.”
A new addition to Team HRC this season and what is a new teammate for Tim is the Spaniard Ruben Fernandez, the young hot shot who made his mark on the opening round at the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina, taking the overall win on his debut for the team.
“The MXGP season actually starting wasn’t easy because I wanted to be out there racing, but it was cool because Ruben won and I know how amazing that feeling would have been for him and the team. Everyone in the team works so hard for both of us riders, so I’m glad they got to experience that, even if I would have liked to have been out there. Big congratulations to Ruben for that win and for how he’s been riding this year, he has really been doing well and showing everyone that Team HRC is a top team, with or without me at the racetrack.”
Looking forward to his return in mid-July the 26-year-old Slovenian has been gently easing himself back in to the saddle aboard his Honda CRF450R at his Tiga243land track in Slovenia.
“I recently got back on the bike and it felt good. Well, actually, it felt a little strange because I hadn’t ridden in so long. I think this might have been the longest time that I hadn’t ridden a dirt bike. Ever! When it has been such a big part of your life, you really notice when you aren’t able to do it. And not just the riding, but all the little things about your day-to-day life. But it was a good feeling to be out there and just riding again, not trying to go fast but just enjoying riding.”
Now the focus is on to the Czech race Tim can reflect upon his time away from the paddock and friends too.
“It has really been a mixture of emotions in this break, but the overriding feeling is that I miss riding. I miss being at the races with everyone too. It has been part of my life for so long that I do miss it and I can’t wait to be back. Even the little things, the camping at the track with people, meeting all the fans, the interactions in the paddock with team members and other riders, because we all go through these races together, almost as a family, and I’ve missed being part of that.”