Anyone who was around during the 00’s junior motocross era in Australia will recall the name of Luke Clout. The young amateur star was pitted under the Factory Suzuki awning from a young age, racking up championships nationwide in motocross, supercross and arenacross. Wherever there was a prestigious am championship, an RM65, then 85, then 125 sporting the #192 could be found at the pointy end.
The New South Welshman made the jump across the pond to the U.S in his late teens, where he trained out of the powerhouse Millsaps Training Facility stable in Cairo, GA. Podiums at Loretta Lynn’s ranch ensued, however a lack of rides led Clout back to Australia, where he wrapped up the 2014 MX2 Australian Championship in Serco Yamaha colours. A few tough years followed, with injuries and team issues mounting to the point where he almost called it quits.
Nevertheless, he remained committed, and is now on the verge of the biggest fight in his career; taking down three time Australian Supercross Champ Justin Brayton.
You’ve always been there or thereabouts, but now I think you can confidently say that you are one of the best supercross racers in the world – how does that feel?
It does feel really good, I’ve always felt that I could get to that point, but now it’s more that I’m finally making it a reality. Over the years, I feel like I’ve had great speed, but just haven’t quite put it together so that’s motivated me to get there, and I’ve worked really hard to get to where I’m at now, but at the same time I want to keep working so I can become better; it doesn’t stop. I just want to repeat what I did in Auckland, and continue on getting better and progressing.
You’re still fairly young, however I want to ask; did you see this sort of success coming earlier in your career, or are you peaking when you thought you would?
You know, it’s hard to say. Obviously I would have liked it to come earlier (laughs), but you know there’s been injuries…there’s been some stuff that went on, and it’s ultimately made me into the person that I am and the rider I am today. So, you know if I didn’t have those tough times – all those learning years – I don’t think I’d be where I’m at right now. To be where I’m at now, I’m at a good age to continue on for a fair while longer and continue to progress – hopefully get to the U.S at some stage too and keep the ball rolling.
I ask that question because you made your way over to the U.S at MTF (Millsaps Training Facility) quite young and achieved some good results at Loretta’s, Mini O’s and so forth…
We decided to bite the bullet and make the step (to the U.S) early and I got some good results over there; I battled with dudes who are now AMA Champions. But the path didn’t lead me full time that way – I came back to Australia and won a championship here and then have been a top guy over here for a few years. It’s a different path, but I’m pretty excited with where my careers going at the moment and the progression that’s happening.
Caption: A stint in the U.S was cut short when Clout’s team folded just one year into his two year deal.
You eluded to the tough times a little bit on the podium in Auckland, and it’s interesting the set backs that you faced – injuries, teams folding and so on – do you want to expand on that a little bit?
It’s definitely been an interesting career – obviously the injuries have been tough, I came back for my rookie year from the states when I was 18 and was in the fight to win the MX2 Championship then I broke my femur, I came back from that – won MX2 in 2014 – and then in 2015 it was also looking good to win another championship, but got injured again. One of those years too Yamaha decided to pull out of supercross, then I got the call to race for Suzuki in the U.S, broke my femur again and then from 2016 to 2017 there were teams folding, injuries; just those two years I was really over it. I didn’t want to race anymore – I don’t know – anything I touched just seemed to turn into bad luck.
But I stuck in there, got picked up on a good KTM Team and put in some good results, then became apart of the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy team.
It’s cool now to hear like I said that you’re one of if not the top Australian guy, not only domestically but globally seeing as you’re beating guys like Brayton, Hill and more straight up…
I really believe that in Australia I’m one of the guys; we have a lot of talent here with guys like Metcalfe, Waters, Ferris – we have a lot of great riders. So it’s cool to be able to say I’m arguably the best rider in Australia, but to put my name alongside those world-class riders is just next level. I do work really hard though, I’m not really cocky or anything like that, so I get pretty excited when somebody refers to me as one of the best – I really enjoy that – and I look forward to continuing that hard work and racing against these guys week in, week out – that gives me a lot of motivation.
The FIM Oceania Championship is on the line this weekend, which I’m sure is something that you’d love to take home…
It’s cool how it’s kind of like a championship within a championship, you know? I left Auckland and didn’t really know about the Oceania series, however finishing second I’m just three points off Jason (Anderson). It’ll be hard to knock him off, but I did beat him in one race in Auckland which shows he’s beatable, so lets hope we can leave Melbourne with two championships.