Rabaconda Rider Taylor Robert [Q&A]
Taylor Robert has been riding dirt bikes since he was 3 years old. Until 2016 he competed in different motosport disciplines in the United States, but this season made a debut in the Enduro World Championship with KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team.
How did you get started in dirt bike riding?
My Father bought me a bike when I was 3 years old and I started riding it with training wheels before I could even ride a bicycle without training wheels.
What has been your best moment as a pro rider?
Winning an X Games gold medal in 2013 was a pretty amazing feeling. There are only 3 people including myself that have won an X Games gold medal in Enduro X, so it feels pretty cool to be a part of such a small group.
You rode desert races, Endurocross and SuperEnduro in US that are quite different from “old school enduro”. Where did the idea to attend enduro World GP came from?
It was something that I wanted to try since my very first Six Days back in 2010. I really liked the format and how fast everyone was. I told my boss here in the US that it was something I had interest in. After Six Days last year Fabio (Fabio Farioli – KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team manager) came to me and asked me if I wanted to race on his team. Of course without any hesitation I told him yes!
You have done successful racing in Europe during ISDE and competed against world’s best riders from Europe and other continents, but mainly raced in US. What are your impressions today when your debut season is almost done (only French GP is to ride)? Did the competition level surprise you or did you know already from ISDE that winning won’t be easy like a walk in the park?
I knew the competition was going to be really tough. There are so many fast guys over in Europe and it feels like they never make any mistakes. To have a good result you have to be on top of your game, hit all your lines perfectly, and be very aggressive. I guess the thing that has surprised me the most is how hard the races have been. It has rained at almost every event which makes for some very exhausting days.
What have been your strengths during this year GP’s and what do you want to improve in your riding?
I think my biggest strength this year has been adapting to all the different terrain. Since I live in the desert I don’t get to practice in the mud very often, but I had to learn very quickly with all of the wet races we have had this year. The thing I want to improve on, is being a bit more consistent and minimizing my mistakes. Most of the time I know I have the speed to be near the top, but little mistakes here and there have cost me a win or podium at certain races.
Which GP has been your favorite one on this season and which one you would like to forget (if there was any)?
My favorite GP was Greece. Even though it was wet, I really enjoyed the tests there. They seemed like they had the most flow to them. I would definitely like to forget the race in Finland. Luckily it wasn’t super wet there because the tests were already very difficult and dangerous in sections. I was so happy when I finished that race with out any injuries.
As you live in US, do you travel back home between GP-s or do you stay in Europe?
I travel back and forth between the US and Europe for most of the races. I did stay in Europe for 6 weeks from the GP of Finland until the GP of Italy. It was really cool getting to travel around Europe and visit other riders along the way. I spent some time at both Antoine Meo’s home and Ivan Cervantes’s home. Both of those guys are super nice and have some pretty amazing training facilities.
Do you suffer from jet lags or doesn’t it bother you at all? If yes, how do you come out of the jet lag or how many days earlier do you have to arrive GP country to come over the jet lag?
The jet lag is definitely difficult the first day or two, by the time the race come around I am usually pretty good though. I usually fly out on Monday and get to the event on Tuesday. I try to sleep as much as I can on Tuesday night. Then walk Wednesday through Friday. By the time Thursday and Friday comes around I am usually adjusted to the time and ready to race!
You have been selected to 2016 ISDE Team USA and your team mates are the same from last year, but due to regulation changes there are 4 of you not 6 like before. What does this mean to team strategy and what do you think of this change?
I think this change is good for us. We have 4 really fast guys and as long as we can stay healthy and keep the bikes together, I think we will definitely be challenging for a win. I think for us as a team we need to make sure we start strong because that kind of sets the pace and the mood for the whole week. Last year our team started really strong and we were looking good, but we had way too much bad luck last year.
As you are used Rabaconda tire changer for many years now can you tell us how fast you would dismount and mount a tire with Rabaconda?
The Rabaconda tire changer is amazing! I always tell people that with the Rabaconda you can work smarter, not harder. My fastest tire change with a rim lock was 84 seconds.
What do you do when you aren’t riding? What are your hobbies?
I like to go out and have fun with my buddies. Usually we are mountain biking, jet skiing, or snow boarding.
Check how Taylor handled his tyre change at Enduro GP 2016 round 1 in Morocco at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-B1FCq26EQ