The 2018 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) is only two days away, with that in mind AORC caught up with 2017 Women’s Champion Jemma Wilson. The returning Women’s Champion, talks to AORC about her off-season, her pursuit of a record fifth women’s title and her decision to retire from international racing.
Q1. How are you feeling heading into the 2018 season, confident you can make it three titles in a row and a record fifth Women’s Championship?
I’ll be honest I have had a pretty casual this off-season, and I’m looking to have a fun weekend at round 1 at Gympie, which will be a bit different for me but I really do want to win title number three and give myself a chance at becoming the first women to win the championship five times. At this time of year it’s hard to judge as I don’t know where I’m sitting compared to the other girls and their off season progress.
Q2. What can we expect from your local track(Gympie)? It must be pretty special to race at your home track on the national level?
Yeah it is really cool that we have these rounds at Gympie, I love it, as lots of my family and friends get to come and watch. In saying that though as it is Round 1, you don’t really know what to expect so it does add that extra little bit of pressure. The weather is looking good for the weekend and that has me excited to get out there and see how I go.
Q3. What have you been up to over the off-season, will we see anything new from you?
I am the same old me, you wont see anything different from me on the bike as I have all the same sponsors, which many of them have been with me for the past 10 seasons, and I’m so grateful for that. This off-season I have spent a lot of my time coaching and riding more so for fun than to train for the coming season. I have had to take a step back from my normal commitments with other priorities in my life taking over, but in saying that I am really looking forward to this season and to see how my new approach goes.
Q4. Who is going to be your biggest competition in the women’s class this year?
There are probably three girls who will be up the front the whole season, Emelie Karlsson, Sophie Coldicutt and Jess Gardiner. Jess is still working at it 100% as has always been a strong rival, Emelie is always there and going off her Instagram she has had a good off season and will be one to beat. Sophie over the last couple of years has been getting stronger and stronger and in 2017 had some wicked rounds, and she has some more support this year so I can’t see why she wont be up there. There will also be girls who pop up at certain rounds when everything goes right and I believe that will definitely happen again in 2018.
Q5. You retired from international racing, what was the reason behind that decision?
It is such an endeavour in terms of effort and financing the trips, I loved it but to do it for that many years it wasn’t just my life that I was changing, it was my fiancés life as well. I was so lucky that he was prepared to put his life on hold for me to continue my race career, but at the end of the day it was time to call it quits and move onto the next phase of life.
Photos courtesy of John Pearson Media