Champions Chat: John Wisse

John Wisse may have been involved in a specular collision at St George, but come the end of the year, he put himself in the history books after securing the SXS Sports title.
The BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship sat down with the international driver to get his thoughts on the year.

John, now that you’ve had time to reflect, how does it feel to be the class title holder?
JW: I am stoked. Before last season, I said I would give it two years to try and get the championship and if I won it on my first go, I would defend it in 2020. We did just that and we celebrated straight after and again when we got home. It’s a bit surreal that we won it. We had quite a few dramas during the year, but it’s key to finish every race, which is what we did. I spent a lot of time in the buggy to make it strong and it paid off in the end.

Did you have any doubt about your chances throughout the year?
JW: We somehow managed to get the buggy home in round one. Finke is a different race. The locals know what they are doing there and it’s very hard to beat those boys. I didn’t expect to win it after Finke, but when I arrived in Rainbow, we loved how wet it was. It was right up my alley. We knew if we could keep it in one piece and finish, we could win. When we bought it home in the final race, we were all so ecstatic. It was a great moment.

Speaking of moments, were there highlights from the year?
JW: Finke was the highlight because it is such an enormous race. I love that race. I love every bit about it. To participate in it for the first time was fantastic. This year I feel I will be a bit better prepared though. I also really enjoyed St George and the track layout last year was awesome. As for Rainbow – rain, hail or shine, I will always love it.

What about bad moments?
JW: Breaking the axle at Finke was not ideal. I would have loved to finish it. I also had the big collision in St George which wasn’t great. We were lucky we didn’t break anything.

Photo: Terry Hill Photography

Anyone you would like to thank?
JW: I’d have to say Down South Motorsports because they did my suspension and North Star Yamaha in North Lakes who look after my engine and everything. They are very helpful with that.

Are you planning to return in 2020?
JW: The easy answer is yes. I am planning to do every round and defend the title. Even if we are not in contention for the final round, I would still love to do Kalgoorlie just for the sake of it. I am committed to it. We are going to have some stiff competition. It’s going to be a great year.