Racing at your home track can come with both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand the extra loud cheers of the fans can spur you on, on the other hand such an occasion can mean there is even more pressure to perform.
Now imagine for a moment choosing your home track to stage a comeback from an extended lay-off due to injury and the additional emotions that could possibly be thrown up as a result.
Well, that is exactly what Gaétan Stella is planning to do this coming Saturday (2 September) at Morizès in France when he competes in the fifth Final of the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship.
After starting his two-wheeled racing journey competing in youth Motocross before following in his family’s footsteps when he turned his attention to Long Track at the age of eight, Stella – who is now twenty-four years old – has enough experience to be well aware of the challenges that he could face on Saturday night.
“It is not easy to come back after a fall like that, I’ve put in a huge effort in order to try and get back,” he said. “Being at home is a bit complicated for me as I always want to do well to satisfy everyone, but this year is different. I’ve just come back from injury, so I am not at one hundred per cent so that is where I am really going to need support to get through this.”
After getting the season under way with a fantastic fourth place at the opening Final of the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship at Herxheim in May, he then struggled to fifteenth at the second Final a few weeks later at Ostrów in Poland, however worse was to come.
Towards the end of June he crashed out of the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship Challenge at La Réole and has been sidelined ever since while he fought to regain fitness.
Stella, who runs two carpentry businesses to help finance his racing efforts, is remaining realistic when it comes to setting goals in the lead-up to Morizès.
“Above all, it is a goal I have set myself. I really wanted to finish the season, so coming back home is obviously easier. I do not know if you can say that I really have an objective after two-and-a-half months without riding, but like any competitor I am always aiming for the highest finish, so getting back to a high level for my comeback would be perfect.”
The action from Morizès gets under way with the first Heat race at 21:00 local time and the full series is available as a Pay-Per-View broadcast via a livestream package on the Tapes Up TV channel. For more details click here.