MENTAL STATE is a major part of sporting achievement. And it’s not just during a race, but a 24-7 thing, a constant state of mind.
“Graham Jarvis is my strongest opponent. He is solid, and he’s riding at the highest level. It’s literally taken me three-to-four years to get to his level – he’s definitely made it hard for me. But with Seb’s input on training, with growing course knowledge and given my speed – I wanted to be a motocross rider when I was young, and so I often ride motocross for fun and I’ll do speed events like Hare & Hounds to practice maintaining high speeds – the wins have started to come faster, last year was fantastic for me.
“I think the thing now is I’m confident. If I go to a race now and get a shit start I know that I can take it easy and still get to the front, I’ll not rush the job like before. That’s the biggest thing, the confidence now when I go to the races, I know I can do it. Before I’d go to race and I thought Graham was better than me, and that was why he beat me. But once I’d got a few wins in I started to believe in myself more.
“The way it is now, everyone says it must be easy, my life, winning-weekends at the races and all. But the stress is still there, and it always will be. I’m not going to lie, I feel a lot of stress, but I put it on myself, no one puts it on me. And when you have to get up at 6am to go to the gym three times a week, the constant need to stay sharp on the bike, and now with my own bike to fix, it’s like running your own business, you are constantly thinking. Sometimes I wish I was fitting windows again because I got up at eight, went to work and would be finished by half-four, go home and that was it for the day. Now it never stops, a day is a day, you literally work full-time.”
Holiday periods can be the hardest, says Jonny. When his mates will be partying he’s got to be in bed getting solid sleep with a race the next day. With indoor events he’s racing right up to Christmas and this year it started again on January 2. So Jonny’s annual break comes instead when the indoor season finishes. He’ll take a few weeks off, last big holiday was to Vegas “for a big blowout”, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations and so, sure enough, was keen to get back to work – the racing.
“The lifestyle is tough on relationships, too. There aren’t many girls floating around the scene and its difficult because you’re travelling so much. I’m seeing a girl at the moment but it’s hard because she lives three hours south, so I have to arrange my training around visits (or visits around the training). But if the relationship got too hard I’d just flick it off, it wouldn’t bother me, my bike racing comes first.”