Exclusive interview with Superbike-World, “Indy Offer: A time lapse entry into racing”
Translated from the original interview in German.
It is a fairly blank page in international racing. Still, he’s about to make history. Indy Offer is the youngest Briton to take the plunge into the Supersport 300 World Championship. The 16-year-old has only been racing for three years!
Since the story of Indy Offer should be unknown to many readers , it should be summarized here. His career started in 2017. Indy’s father, who himself raced – although not at a professional level – sparked the passion of his then 14-year-old son.
“So I was always surrounded by motorcycles, even if that wasn’t what I was interested in before,” says Indy Offer, who had little driving experience. “At some point my dad asked me if I didn’t want to give it a try. I said yes because I thought I could enjoy it. So he bought a Kawasaki Ninja 300 and we fitted a racing fairing and tires. I was then allowed to race to see how far I could get. At that point, however, I still had to learn to switch gears (laughs). I really liked it and I wasn’t even last! There were more than 40 drivers in the grid and really big for a first race. ”
Indy Offer at the World Cup Wildcard in Magny-Cours (© Dominik Lack)
Bemsee 300 was the name of the class in which Indy Offer was able to gain its first racing experience. A club series that is typical of Great Britain. They drove on BSB routes and Offer contested the rest of the season. However, he did not spend much time in the club races.
“A colleague of my Dad approached us during that time and asked if I didn’t want to drive in the BSB. We were a bit worried because I had only been riding a motorcycle for a few months and should I compete in the best series in Great Britain? But I had nothing to lose and thought that I was just learning and trying to keep moving forward. ”Offer spent two years at the BSB, changed bikes in between and was even able to – even if he often had to deal with technical problems drive into the top 6. The next step followed in the course of the 2019 season:
“Fortunately, Michael Hill helped me. He arranged a test drive for me with the Scuderia Maranga in July 2019. Again I had to make a difficult decision because I had only been racing for two years. After the test in Italy, the team was happy with me and so was I. The atmosphere among these experienced people alone was great, but also very different from everything before. When the team had problems with one of the drivers, I suddenly got a call asking if I wanted to drive a wildcard in the Supersport 300 World Championship in Magny-Cours ! Another decision, but I had nothing to lose and I definitely wanted to go to the World Superbike Paddock. After all, we all want to be world champions (laughs). ”
So Indy Offer seized the opportunity and was finally able to have a race weekend in the Supersport 300 World Championship, even if he ultimately could not take part in the race: “Using the wildcard was difficult but good. The team made me feel like I deserve to be there, ”commented Offer, who now has a permanent contract with Scuderia Maranga for 2020.
After this summary of the short but extraordinary career, we sat down for an interview with Indy Offer…
You experience a racing career in fast motion. Has your attitude to racing changed at any time?
“No not true. I had a passion for sport from the first race training. I immediately enjoyed the atmosphere. That is why I always said in all decisions: “I like the sport and now I have the opportunity to take the next step in it. It would have been very strange not to take advantage of such opportunities, because other people would give so much for it. ”
You mentioned in the preliminary discussion that you had a lot of conversation with people in the BSB … how can you compare the paddock there with that in the World Cup, because you were able to get a first impression in Magny-Cours …
“I would say the WorldSBK paddock is one level higher than the BSB, although it is already organized very professionally. In the World Cup there is the paddock show and big sponsors like Pirelli, while in the BSB there is mainly a lot of space for the drivers. The amount of commitment and effort can be felt again in the Superbike World Championship. When I went to the paddock for the first time, everything felt very serious. Nobody paid attention to me (laughs). But if you spend a few hours there, you understand that everyone is there for the same reason, namely because we have the same passion. Ultimately, both series have that in common. ”
The passion for racing is somehow a classic characteristic of your Italian team, the Scuderia Maranga, isn’t it?
“The team is very good and does everything for me. The crew also exudes positive energy. Alberto, who is one of the younger team managers, works really hard. He and the team love the sport so much and that impressed me. You can feel how professionally they approach the whole thing and how hard they work to make the drivers improve. It was very good for my head. When I got into the box, I felt that everyone wanted to help me. I needed that. “
Do you have to learn Italian now?
“I thought I had to, but the team said they wanted to try and learn English. After all, everyone speaks English in the paddock. Nevertheless, I try to learn as much Italian as possible and speak to them in Italian, even if they laugh at my pronunciation. We teach each other something. Large parts of the team, for example my mechanic Andrea, speak English well. They tried extra to give me an Italian mechanic who speaks English well so I can feel more at home and make my first year easier. ”
From the racing side, your debut in Magny-Cours was rather difficult. A completely new route and then such weather conditions
“Yes, the track conditions were exceptional. It was wet and there were a lot of falls. So it was difficult and I ended up far behind. I still enjoyed it, even if I was unlucky. After four laps in FP1, I slipped on oil with some other drivers. I wish the weekend had been in Jerez, where it was nice and warm and sunny. Then it would have been easier (laughs). So it was tough. But it was good to see this page. “
Your father was also in Magny-Cous. What role does it play in your racing career?
“He always supported me 100%. But he never put pressure on me, but gave me opportunities. But being in the races is strange for him now. He used to be a mechanic, entertainer and just did everything. Now he can only brew coffee at most (laughs). When I come in from the track, he wants to put the tire warmers on immediately and Alberto sometimes has to intervene. He just always wants to help. Of course that is great and I am very grateful that he is behind me. I wouldn’t be here without him. “
Is his coffee good?
“He’s practicing (laughs). His coffee is good, but not quite like that of the Italians. Give him a little bit of time and at the end of the season he has the hang of it. ”
We’ll come back to that! After the wildcard, the deal with the team for 2020 came about. You signed the contract at EICMA and there were Shakehands photos. Was that the moment when you realized that everything is serious now?
“It was a surreal moment. I had just signed my first professional contract. I didn’t really have much in my head, I was just happy. Only in the hotel room, when I was sitting on the bed, did I realize all of this. I will be a World Cup driver. It was one of the best moments last year. “
Then a really big test program started for you, right?
“We wanted to test three times with the team before the start of the season in Jerez. Fortunately, we were able to carry out one of them there before the Corona virus. So I’ve already ridden my bike and I got a taste of what the year will be like. I was lucky with it because some of the others never even sat on the motorcycle. ”
… because the lockdown intervened. Are you doing a lot of sport at home now?
“I do exercise six times a week for several hours a day. But I’m just so bored that I have nothing else to do (laughs). Fortunately, I have a couple of weights at home and a cardio. ”
Do you have any favorite exercises?
“Definitely not cycling, I don’t like that at all (laughs). It’s okay outside, but indoor cycling is just boring. I think that in general I just like doing sports and I don’t like any exercise in particular. ”
Do you also play video games? That would be a good opportunity for you, for whom most racetracks are new.
“I play video games with friends all day. I can also learn to stretch and did it with Magny-Cours. I watched YouTube videos beforehand and spent hours playing games. I mostly play MotoGP. “
How did you like the virtual races?
“Yes, I followed both races and found them very funny. It’s good that MotoGP continues to advertise and keep things going instead of just waiting and doing nothing. ”
Do you have any favorite rider in MotoGP?
“I like Pol Espargaró. He is very determined and doesn’t give up. I like that about him. He was quick in the past and because of him the KTM has got better and better. ”
And in the WorldSBK ? Does anyone have this attitude like Pol?
“Hm, Scott Redding. He has the same mentality. He was kicked out of MotoGP and even if the BSB is very professional, it is simply not the World Cup. He did well not to let himself get down and keep trying. I also like Michael Rinaldi for superbike riders and Loris Baz for the same reasons! He is totally crazy. I think it was run 2 at Phillip Island. Baz was on the grass most of the time (laughs) and still finished eighth. In addition, it is so big that it could even bring the elbows to the floor on the straight (laughs)! Somehow that gives me courage, because I’m quite tall myself. “
Are you in lockdown contact with the team? Its headquarters in Bologna is a crisis area.
“Yes, I talk to Alberto every now and then to hear if everything is okay and also with my mechanic. My dad and Michael (Hill) also talk to them sometimes, even if it’s not about racing. It’s about staying in touch. “
Do you actually live in the country or in the city?
“We’re pretty close to Brands Hatch somewhere between town and country. I don’t see many people every day. “
How do you experience the current situation in Great Britain?
“The situation is not as bad as in Italy. People still go out to buy groceries and some do sports. Everything has become very quiet because most of them are at home. There is only this subliminal concern. “
Do you want to send a message to the racing fans out there in this strange time?
“Difficult, because it is the first time for me that I am in such a strange situation. I can only say: stay at home. Racing is our passion, but safety is now paramount. The better we can keep the whole thing flat, the sooner we can see the first race. We all have to be patient, even if it’s a tough time. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. I’m just going to keep playing video games, getting up late and sleeping a lot (laughs). ”