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2012 Finke - Interview with Sheridans

John Maragozidis Interview

As anyone who is a regular visitor to our site would know 2011 was the 2nd Quad Division victory for South Australian rider John Maragozidis at the Australasian Safari. As may be obvious from his surname, Maragozidis is from Greek heratige and below is an interview he has done for a Greek racing site which the interviews were kind enough to share with us.


What is your relationship with Greece?

My parents were born in Greece and migrated to Australia. My farther lived near Thessaloniki in a small village called Gerakarou. My mum comes from Kastoria. I was born in Australia so I am a Greek Australian and I speak fluent Greek but read and right not so good.


Do you visit often?

I wish! Last time was 1977... but I am planning a trip hopefully soon. Any good cross country races there for quads??


Would you like to participate in a Rally event here in Greece?

Yes please!


What is your relationship with the rally races?

I love rally raid! I have done many navigational rallies here in Australia but really want to do Dakar.


For how many years have you been participating in races generally? And to which ones?

I have been racing for 20 years. Drag racing in the early days then off road, motocross and speedway.


How and why did you decide to take part in quad races?

Since I was a little kid I have always loved trikes and quads. No more trikes so now just quads. I had a slingshot dragster years ago but found that was not very satisfying. 9 seconds and the race is finished. Now the races last hours and that is perfect for me.


For how long have you been driving a quad?

I have been on quads for 14 years now and I still love it!


What are the difficulties in such endurance races?

One race like Australasian Safari is like doing 20 enduro races or 120 motocross races back to back. Your machine must be reliable, you must be physically and mentally tough. You need to be able to repair problems with minimal tools and you need to be able to keep your emotions in check. No acting like a princess out there because nobody there to hear you or care!


What kind of training program do you follow in order to endure a 7-day race?

I do group fitness training at least 3 nights a week, eat mainly organic foods and no sugar, caffeine and chocolate.


How do you prepare your quad for such event?

We check everything over twice. Nut glue all nuts and bolts. Make sure nothing rubs through.


Please share your thoughts and feeling before, during and after the Australasian safari and on your first victory.

Thoughts and feelings before: "Am I really about to do this? Do I have everything I need? Have I filled out the paper work correctly? What if.........?!?!" I am basically in panic mode and stressed about everything.

Thoughts and feeling during: This is a funny one because so much happens during a week of racing. Pure joy from pulling the perfect top gear power slide past a bike, Frustration from watching everyone you just passed pass you because you have to stop and repair, Terror because you just hit a hole WAY too fast and were lucky to get away with it, Anxiety from thinking that your lead could be lost from a small part failing but my main thoughts are that of gratitude. I am so great full to be able to do this event. Any event for that matter.

Thoughts and feelings after: The main feelings are that of achievement and accomplishment. I am happy that it is over but I really do not want it to end. I am having so much fun that I really just want to keep riding.


What has changed for you after your victory? Is it easier now to find sponsors? What is the feedback you got from the people?

Not much has changed. It is a little easier to find sponsors but times are tough for everyone so I rarely ask any more. I still support those that have looked after me. The feed back is great. I hope to inspire people to do a big race like Australasian Safari as it is a life experience.


What are your plans for the future?

I want to keep racing for a long time. We want to develop the quad a little more. It is a tough machine but there are a few little changes we want to make. We are also looking at setting up a support truck for this racing that is a little easier to live with.

Should we expect a Dakar participation from you this year or in the future?

YES! Just need to get enough money together but for sure.


What is your advice to those who are considering to participate in races of such difficulty?

Don't be scared to ask for help. Most desert racers are happy to help. Just have a go.

Where there any scary moments during the australasian safari and what where the circumstances then?

4,500km!.... yes, there were many scary moments! How can there not be! The most scary for me are animals on the track. Kangaroos are huge and they come out of no where. I have had a few friends DNF from Kangaroos. Also scary is when a car passes you and you did not know it was there. That still scares me.


What do you think of the other participants and is there someone you distinguish among them?

The other racers are my friends. We are one big desert racing family and we must look after each other. Most are there to take on the track. Like my crew guy said to me "winning is something, finishing is everything!" The most distinguished racers are the ones who always seem to have a smile on their face, and that is most of them.


Please elaborate on your thoughts and feelings since you started training for the australasian safari, up until you stood at the start line.

For me the biggest part of Safari is the preparation. The many late nights in the workshop cutting, welding, drilling, painting. The hours training and looking after your self. Once I get to the start line it is a huge relief. The riding is the easy and fun part. That is the reward for all that time spent preparing.

2011 Kamfari report with Bullet and Colin

2011 Kamfari interview with Waldo Hussie

2011 Kamfari interview with Travis Woods

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