James Noble, the 2010 Red Bull Pro Nationals MX1 vice champion, decided it was time to hang up his boots after a long and successful racing career at the end of last season. Or so we thought until we managed to drag him out of retirement for a guest ride at Whitby at round three of the series on June 11-12.
RBPN: How has retirement from motocross been treating you?
JN: “Not too bad really, I’ve been that busy it’s just been real hectic. I’ve been working on the Selby Bridge, it needed stripping down and rebuilding – we started on Valentine’s Day and we just finished it last week. That took up a lot of my time but I’ve finally managed to get that finished now. I haven’t really had much chance to miss motocross really, it’s just been that busy, I think now might be the sort of time that I start to struggle with it, now that the weather’s better and I’ve got more opportunity to go riding.”
RBPN: What is it that you do for a living now?
JN: “Basically I’m working for my old man’s plant hire company now, doing anything from groundworks right up to the bridges! I finished riding the back end of last year and got involved with…well I’ve always been involved with my dad, I’ve always been doing work in between riding, you know in the off-season, doing bits here and there. This job (Selby Bridge) came up at the end of last year, I wasn’t put on it to run it but to make sure everything went smoothly. I’ve been doing seven-day weeks for I don’t know how long, starting at half past four in the morning, finishing at 8 at night. It’s been good for me really because it’s been something for me to focus on away from motocross, something to knuckle down and get on with and I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been good.”
RBPN: I think people can forget that unless you become a multiple world champion that you will probably have to have a life away from motocross, that you will have to have an alternative means to be able to provide for your family once you retire.
JN: “Oh yeah exactly, there’s only a few riders who make enough money out of riding a motocross bike to live off of. It’s such a short career, I mean you’re finished at 35 and you need to cover yourself for the rest of your life so you’ve got to make a lot of money in that short space of time.”
RBPN: By the sounds of things even when you were riding and winning you were still working for your dad during the off-season so you always had something to keep your feet firmly on the ground?
JN: “Yeah, my old man always tried to keep me grounded, always kept me working. We’re not from a massively wealthy background – it’s not like we’re multi-millionaires – but he was able to provide a camper for us when we were doing the British championships and schoolboys and stuff like that. I always had to earn my stuff from him, I was never just given it and I think that’s why I’m the way I am now.”
RBPN: A little bird told us that you’re in for Whitby!
JN: “Yeah, I would have liked to have done other events up at Whitby but I’ve been that busy at work that I’ve not managed to get there just to watch, let alone ride! I haven’t actually ridden a bike since the last round of the British last September so I’m definitely going to go riding tomorrow with a couple of lads and I’m looking forward to that because like I say I haven’t sat on a bike for six months!”
RBPN: Is it right that Whitby is your brother’s track?
JN: “Yeah, it’s not his land or anything but he’s the one who runs it all and does the track, he’s the driving force behind it basically.”
RBPN: So you’re going to rock up having not ridden for the past six months and with maybe two days worth of practice behind you?
JN: “Well I just thought that I’ve got such a good track right on my doorstep, one of the best tracks in the country. I would have liked to have done other meetings there but just haven’t had the time. I thought that I wanted to have a go at the Red Bull Pro Nationals there, I know that I’m not going to be competitive but I just want to go riding basically!”
RBPN: What bike will you be riding?
JN: “I don’t know yet, I haven’t actually got a bike of my own! I’ve had a few people offer me a bike to ride but I think I’ll just wait until it’s a bit nearer and then decide.”
RBPN: It’s been great catching up with you James, thanks for your time and we’ll see you at Whitby.
JN: “No problem, thanks guys.”