Harry Stafford talks about past, present and future with PaddockChatter

Harry Stafford first came onto the world motorbike racing scene in the Red Bull Rookies cup in 2008 following years of Minimoto racing. Finishing in the points in 2008, Stafford stayed in the Cup for two more

Harry won’t return to racing for at least the rest of 2013

Photo: Neil Dethridge

years – with his 2009 season being interrupted by a crash in Jerez which left him with severe concussion. In 2010 the 19 year old secured two podium finishes and finished the highly competitive class in 7th position. From there he made the move up to the 125cc class riding on an Ongetta Aprilia in 2011, where he struggled with inferior machinery. Following a year away from racing Stafford was back on an 1000cc MV Agusta, until his horrific crash at Oulton Park at the beginning of May. We caught up with Harry to see how the recovery is going.

Just how difficult was the transition from small bike to big bike?
The transition from 125 to 1000 was easier than I expected. The 125 was more difficult to ride because of it being a thoroughbred race bike it needed a certain type of riding with high corner speed, which was because of the lack of power and with the way the engine works.

You had a year out – do you feel that helped or hindered you?
In 2012 I had a long period without racing but I did one race at Silverstone which I won, and I did some testing for KTM Moto3 in Spain which was my first experience of a 4 stroke bike. It was a relaxed year but hindered slightly with lack of track time.

It was clear there were some difficulties with the bike after pulling out of the opening races, do you feel that you could sort them on your return?
It is difficult for me to say why we weren’t competitive on the MV Agusta but because it was a new bike we were always collecting data and also it was difficult for the team. The bike could have been competitive we just needed time.
We had many difficulties causing us to miss races but they could have been fixed with more track time.

How did it feel when you heard/saw so much love and support after your accident?
It made me feel very privileged with the support from everyone on twitter and from friends and family.

What’s your long term plan?
I will think about long term plans when I have been declared fit again.

Will we see you back on a bike racing again?
I will be out of racing for the rest of the year but depending on any lasting injuries it could be longer.

How long do you think your recovery will take? 
Next month I am visiting my consultant so that I will be told how my recovery is going.

Do you hope to be back in a world-GP paddock one day?
I would love to be back racing Grand Prix again but it is a difficult process from where I am now.

How did it feel to be racing in the MotoGP series?
It was fantastic racing in the world championship but also very demoralising with the bike not being competitive.

What are the differences between the BSB and MotoGP paddocks?
The difference between MotoGP and BSB is huge. Obviously BSB is only a national championship and the level of riders, track time etc is much lower than MotoGP.

Would you make the same move again if you had the chance or would you look at a STK600 ride instead?
After riding Grand Prix in the past riding Superstock is very demoralising but very competitive with good riders which makes it great racing.

You always reply/interact with fans on twitter – do you think it’s important to have a healthy relationship with fans?
I always try to reply to my followers on twitter because I believe they deserve a reply with all information directly from me.

Have you got a long term goal?
I take opportunities as they happen but my long term goal has got to be back racing in Grand Prix.

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