Darryl King interview - USGP and Lommel
Interview Wednesday 09th June 2010 By Geoff Meyer
Younger brother Shayne was able to clinch a World 500cc title in 1996; however the closest Darryl came was twice second. The older of the King brothers also won five Grand Prix’s in his career and was always a strong performer in the season ending Motocross of Nations.
Always a nice guy and always a professional and steady racer DK will go down as one of the riders who probably should have been World Champion once in his career, however it never happened.
Still racing at the age of 40 DK returned to International competition at the World Veterans race at Glen Helen a couple of weeks ago and nearly walked away with the victory. In the opening moto King looked brilliant as he had a race long battle with Glen Helen favorite Doug Dubach, and then crashed out in the second moto, losing his chance of the overall victory.
We just had to catch up with DK and ask him about his love of the sport that took him all over the World and continues to give him so much pleasure.
MXlarge: Darryl, so why did you go to Glen Helen?
King: I would have gone to Italy and England, so I wanted to do some veterans races anyway, and when you are back in New Zealand you lose contacts easily, and you need to do a race early and I thought why not come to America. I mean when you are 40 years of age and don’t ride a place like Glen Helen for that race you would be pretty stupid.
MXlarge: Where you surprised by the competition in that Glen Helen race?
King: I kind of figured Dubach would ride, it was going to be interesting to see how some of those guys run. It’s pretty nice to have guys like Kurt Nicol, Dubach, Matasavich and so many of the other guys, plus just catching up with the Grand Prix paddock.
MXlarge: You must have been happy with the opening moto?
King: I had a good start and battled with Dubach for a while, passed him, then he passed me back and we passed each other like six times. The second moto I had a big crash in the opening laps and that pretty much messed it up for me, but I had fun.
MXlarge: What do you do in New Zealand now?
King: In New Zealand I run the Yamaha team, and we also race the Australian Championships on a 2-stroke. I did okay in some of the races. The young kids ride every day and the Australian riders have gotten really fast. They have that Supercross series and the Motocross series has the shorter motos, so those kids are improving all the time.
MXlarge: How is the New Zealand series?
King: The New Zealand scene is going strong. We have our series just before the Australian series which gives the New Zealand kids the chance to race the Australian series. Some good changes.
MXlarge: Do we have any future World Championship riders in New Zealand at the moment?
King: I would like to say there are some fast young New Zealand kids, I mean some of them are racing in Australia at the moment, but really you need to give them a year or so. Hamish Dobbyn is probably our best hope; he finished third in last year World Junior championship which Eli Tomac won. He just needs some luck to ride in Europe.
MXlarge: When Ben (Townley) came to Europe he probably wasn’t expected to do that well, but he won a World title.
King: I mean Ben (Townley) was New Zealand champion when he came to Europe, but it’s what happens after you turn 16 that matters, the people you hang around with and the people you hang with, they can make the different, good or bad. You need to stick with it and not lose track.
MXLarge: Will you do some more races before you retire for good?
King: I want to go to Europe at the end of the year and do Lierop or Lommel, and also do the pro-Lites in Australia. I mean we lived in Lommel when we were there, so we lived in the sand, I wouldn’t mind coming for one of those. We also do a lot of training schools back home and stuff like that.
MXlarge: What makes a 40 year old want to come and race in Europe again?
King: You pay everything yourself, so it’s a $15,000nz trip, but I work hard all year and to go back to Europe and just catch up with everybody, that is pretty cool. Years from now I want to come back to these events, I want to stay in the sport somehow.
MXlarge: Do you miss racing in Europe?
King: Definitely, all the time, the best years of my life. I spend 10 years over here. It was just so much fun, all the riders used to stay at the track and catching up with everybody. It’s gotten a lot more professional now, and I wouldn’t say that is bad, but in that era I raced it was so much fun, just a travelling circus going from race to race.