The Isle of Man and motorcycling are two expressions that have always gone hand-in-hand.
However, this story is not about the Tourist Trophy.
It’s about who grew up on this island located between England, Wales, and Ireland. It’s about how their passion made them practice a way of riding a motorbike which is very different to the Supersport competitions where they graze the walls during the most famous Street Race.
Enduro had arrived to Man long before David Knight was born.
“Isle of Man. It is perfect Enduro land, one of the best. We hold 3 ISDT 65/71/75 on the Isle of Man.”
Simply put, motorcycling culture is so strong on this island that it is almost impossible not to get on a bike when you’re growing up. On top of that, his father was a trial rider and David developed a visceral passion for two wheels at a very young age so in his case it was basically impossible not to ride.
It therefore becomes completely normal for this three-year old child to get on a motorcycle and race others. Nobody tries to push that boy to become a champion: his obsession with getting on bikes, starting them, and being the fastest of all once he’s engaged the first gear is more than enough.
“I never trained to be a pro rider, I just knew I could be the fastest and best rider in the world and I made my whole childhood geared towards that happening. I was obsessed and knew I worked so, so hard to make that happen as winning was the only thing I’d accept.”
David definitely managed to do this. You don’t win three world titles randomly. The secret to becoming – and remaining – the best for years doesn’t lie only with technical or physical aspects. Although it might seem crazy, he has remained this incredibly competitive over time precisely because of those childhood experiences. In those early days, that small rider riding the fields believed in himself and did everything in order to achieve his goals because of that pressure he felt.
“Enjoyment helped as you have to love doing it first and foremost, it has to be the only thing you want to do. Winning is addictive and that is what motivated me to always improve, you never stop improving. You must want to do it, not do it because you’re good at it and just to make a living. You must work every day to improve. I was lucky that I loved it so much, I wanted to ride nearly every day and had fun trying to go faster and faster and faster. You must be dedicated like in any professional sport.”
Enduro is a unique discipline that is different to the others. It’s a sport where the rider is at the centre of the world. He will never forget this feeling and it’s very unlikely that he will ever stop doing what is the most fulfilling for him: riding his bike. It’s a community that shares very specific values. Riders compete against each other, but at the same time they help each other during the races. It doesn’t matter whether they’re fighting for the world championship or whether it’s just about having survived an EnduroGP.
David loves Enduro. It’s a lifestyle he will never abandon. He’s been living it for years after having always dreamed about it.
“It’s my way of life, it’s pretty much been my whole life, everything I’ve worked for since I can remember. Very, very good times and some really bad times but I don’t regret one thing, the good times far, far outweigh the bad and I’m very lucky and very grateful that I’ve achieved all I have done and I’m still out racing having fun with many fans around the world.”
Yes, David hasn’t abandoned the World Championship. He approaches it differently now as he confronts himself with other, new riders, but he’s never lost the vice of winning races. He dominated the new-born Open Senior Cup. However, the results are actually a detail: it’s the passion for this sport that made him accept this challenge.
“I want to stay fit and I love racing Enduro. I could with lots of work still be competitive in EnduroGP but now I don’t have the time or the motivation and the body has a little too much pain so the open category is perfect, still very competitive, less laps so fitness is not so important. Ride full gas and have fun with everybody… oh and try to win a World Title.”
Nowadays David races the most important competitions of the World Championship. From the track he has the best possible viewpoint to observe how the world of Enduro is evolving. There are many fast riders but he gives credit to whom was able to reach the highest step of the most supreme podium. According to David, Brad Freeman is a great rider and his favourite in terms of his approach to the races and style of riding.
“I like a few riders, the ones with good drive and commitment. Brad Freeman is great to watch, aggressive, pushing the limit and spectacular to watch. He wants to win more than the rest and that’s why he is winning and why I like watching him.”
This is a huge compliment coming from a World Champion who has made the desire to win his creed.
We thank David Knight for his availability.