Interview: Grant Langston
Grant finished sixth and eleventh in his motos (first and second 125, respectively) against 500cc and 250cc bikes, and assisted the South African team to a magnificent fifth overall.
Grant began racing at the age of five and quickly established himself as one of South Africa’s top riders, following in the footsteps of Rob Herring and Greg Albertyn. He currently rides for the Netherlands-based Champ KTM team and is moving to the USA to ride for KTM in 2001. Grant and Andrew are both gentlemen and sportsmen, and Grant has the drive to win as all champions must possess to excel at this level.
Dave Richardson: Congratulations on winning the title this year; it is quite an achievement. Was this your first season to race Grand Prix?
Grant Langston: Thank you. It was my third season. I was 15 when I started to race Grand Prix.
DR: Did you race full time for all three years?
GL: Yes, in 1998 I did full time. At first I wasn’t really qualifying but then towards the end of the season I started scoring some points (He finished the season in 35th place). And last year I was injured during the beginning of the season and I came on strong toward the end of the year and I got tenth (with two moto victories). And this year I had a pretty good year and won it.
DR: What was your favorite memory of this season?
GL: I’d have to say Finland. There were two tracks I liked actually, Slovenia and Finland. I chose Finland as my greatest memory because I did everything there. I was the fastest in every session of the whole weekend, free-training and qualifying, won both motos, had the fastest lap time, won the overall and won the World Championship, which was the perfect weekend. I did it in style and that is a great memory to me.
DR: Going into next season, the tracks and style of racing in America is much different. What are you doing to prepare for that?
GL: Actually I am going to go to America at the end of the year to start preparing. I have never raced a U. S. National but I was in America twice before. In ’96 I did the World Mini GP in Las Vegas and won both heats and ended up third in the final. Then last year I did some riding and a bit of supercross there. And from what I see on TV I like their tracks like Unadilla and Red Bud. And Southwick really suits my sand riding. I don’t really like hard slick tracks, it’s not really my style. I’m the type of rider who when a tracks starts getting a little bit of loose sand and a bit choppy that’s when I excel.
DR: What about supercross?
GL: Well, I don’t have much experience. And like I said to my sponsors, don’t expect much from my first season. I expect myself to be in the top 10 and if I can get a single podium in one of the rounds I will be very happy with that.
DR: Where are you going to live?
GL: My mom’s actually lived for four years in El Cajon (California) and I know there are a lot of tracks around Corona and that area. When I go over at the end of the year I will stay with my mom for awhile until I find a place to move into. KTM is building a practice track, they’ve got some property in Corona, and I think so that should be good. David Pingree just signed with KTM and he’s good at supercross so I can learn a lot from him. I can train with him and that should help me.
DR: Congratulations once again on your great season and good luck in America.
GL: Thank you.