Circuit of The Americas (COTA) this week welcomed MotoGP rider and native Texan Colin Edwards and Moto2 newcomer Josh Herrin for a Q & A session in advance of their 2014 season.
Edwards and Herrin are two of only three U.S. riders competing in the World Championship this year – the other being Nicky Hayden. The colder than normal temperatures and bone-chilling wind kept Edwards from doing some scheduled COTA track laps.
But the intrepid Herrin, a 23-year-old Californian who now calls Georgia home, braved the cold and took a street bike out for several trips around COTA’s 3.4-mile racing circuit, in between bouts of strong winds that pummeled the track all day.
Colin Edwards, Team NGM Mobile Forward Racing
On expectations for the 2014 season: “We’re on Yamahas (engines) so it’s got to be better. Obviously we have a good package this year. I’ve tested a couple times. I’m headed on a plane in about a week to go to Malaysia to do our first test and I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got a couple things in the works, chassis-wise, and we’re building and it should be better absolutely.”
What it was like to race in his home state of Texas last year at COTA: “It was awesome. I think it’s the first track I’ve driven to in, I don’t know, 25 years… since I started racing. Just the atmosphere was… the only thing I can compare it to was when we went to Shanghai, China, and raced in there in 2007 or 2006. You drove up, and it was phenomenal how big the facility was. And I think that was my first real taste of seeing what can be built for a race track. And here was the exactly same way. This is in my backyard. So it’s a pleasure to come here and race because they’ve done a fantastic job of building this facility.”
On establishing the Texas Tornado Boot Camp riding school: “We built a hotel, covered a football field more or less. We’ve got three or four tracks on the property. Once you arrive nobody ever leaves. We ride motorcycles all throughout the day, shoot guns after lunch, and when the motorcycling stops, we have a few beers around the fire and tell horror stories. People seem to enjoy that a lot.”
Josh Herrin, Team Caterham Moto Racing
On his first impressions of COTA: “I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the Grand Prix last year or Formula 1 race and immediately when I pulled down the driveway I was like, this place is sick! It’s so much different than what I’ve seen as far as race tracks go. The coolest thing is that it’s in the U.S.; you don’t see stuff like that in the U.S. very often just because racing in general isn’t a big thing in the States compared to Europe. My expectations were blown away. I didn’t think it would be this nice. It was fun on the track. The design is really nice.”
On how valuable the COTA track session was for him: “It will make it so much better. Even though we didn’t get a lot of laps today having track time on a new track is so helpful. When I went to Jerez for the first time, I played a million laps on video games. I watched all of the on board footage. Even then it’s so different learning the track.”
On the challenge ahead of him this year in Moto2™: “Anyone that races AMA, it’s a dream come true to race on the world stage—any sport that you do really. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and to be the only American doing it, is really cool for me to represent my country. If anything there’s more pressure. With Nicky and Colin racing in the MotoGP class, you know they’re going to do well. Me being the new guy and the only American in Moto2™, they are going to expect me to do well.”