Ashley Wilde has been one of the most-improved riders in Britain in recent years and, through that time, he has always relied on Talon wheels. Although the 2016 season was more turbulent than initially expected, Wilde is looking forward to returning to the front next year with his third manufacturer in as many years.
Talon Engineering: Obviously it was a rough season for you, but that race win at Hawkstone Park must mean that you look back on it all with some positive thoughts?
Ashley Wilde: It’s definitely been a tough season! But, yeah, like you say the race win at Hawkstone was nice for me and all the people who helped me during my recovery. At first when I had surgery the plan was to try and make the last British. I was lucky enough to work closely with the guys at Harris and Ross, who pushed me really hard and I was able to get back for Preston, Hawkstone Park and Foxhills.
At both Preston and Foxhill I was tenth overall, but at Hawkstone I was able to win a race. Tenth at Preston, after being fourth overall there the year before, doesn’t sound great, but I was more than happy with that after only being on the bike for three weeks before. Moving onto 2017, I’m positive that after a strong winter with my new team I can be back up front where I want to be.
The injury was obviously a little more taxing than some may realise, but is everything clear with that now?
Yeah, for sure, the injury was quite complicated and there was a lot of damage. When the shoulder dislocated it did a lot of bone damage, along with other stuff. The specialist told me that I could try and get through the season after some rest, but there would be a ninety-percent chance that my shoulder would pop out again and he advised me to undergo surgery straight away. After speaking with all the people close to me we decided to have the surgery and come back to racing when I’m ready and strong again. Now it’s been put through its paces, but it’s all good and seems to be stronger than ever!
The sport’s moving forward so quickly, so it is easy for some to forget that you were challenging for podiums in the British in 2015. You obviously still believe you can do that, right?
It’s mad how quickly people write you off! 2015 was a breakthrough year for me. I believe if I didn’t get hurt this year I would have been challenging for top six in the British again. Missing so many races this year has made me more determined and focused to be even better next year.