Suzuki Riders Talk Outdoor Nationals 2016

Roczen, Stewart, and other Suzuki riders talk about their plans for the motocross season.

Suzuki Teams
The teams on hand include: Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing, RCH Suzuki Factory Racing, Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki, MAD Racing Yoshimura Suzuki, TPJ / Fly Racing / Suzuki, MicroBilt PRBC Suzuki, Suzuki Amateur Racing, and Obermeyer Suzuki (GNCC & WMX).Photo By Sean Klinger

Employee appreciation days look a little different if you work at a motorcycle manufacture. Suzuki had their TEAM day to share with all the guys and gals that spend most of their time in the office what all their hard work looks like by inviting all of the Suzuki Factory and Factory Supported Teams to come to the Suzuki headquarters in Brea, California. And, we got an invite too. Here are some of the riders we ran into.

RCH Suzuki Factory Racing Ken Roczen

Ken Roczen
Little introduction is needed for Kenny, but for those who haven’t heard, he won the first round of the Lucas Oil AMA National Motocross series at Hangtown in a dominant 1-1 fashion.Photo By Sean Klinger

DR: Bob Hannah once told us that to win by one second or to win by 20 seconds it doesn't really make a difference in the long run. Do you agree with that?
KR: Obviously it doesn't matter in points. But there are mental games going on out there, you know? It depends on the rider, but being barely beat or getting beat by 15 seconds, 20 seconds, can be a big mental change. Obviously, when it's the second moto and you can pretty much go all out, it's just going to do you good the bigger you put a gap on second place. But any win is a good win.

DR: Were you riding at a comfortable pace at Hangtown?
KR: Absolutely. I'm not the kind of guy that hangs it out, that's hanging off the back, and those kind of things. I'm more of a precise rider and I'm always going to go as fast as my body and bike allow me to go.

Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing James Stewart

James Stewart
James might think about making sure no one has a voodoo doll of him because it seems he is cursed with injuries as of late. Hangtown was no different.Photo By Sean Klinger

DR: For those who didn't see it, what happened with your Hangtown race?
JS: I was going down the mechanic's area and I hit this pot hole and I dislocated my shoulder. It was a full-on, bottom out and my shoulder just popped out. I went over the berm, knocked my shoulder back it, which was good and I don't know, it was just a bum deal. I was struggling in the beginning just trying to feel things out. I mean, my goal right now is to get two solid motos in. I refused to look at the pit board because I knew that I wasn't up there, and I figured I'd let some of these guys wear themselves out and go around them. The prognosis is that nothing is torn, but with any dislocation some stuff is messed up, but we'll see.

DR: Any plans for Glen Helen?
JS: I'm just kind of playing by ear and will make the decision on Saturday morning. I want to race. Glen Helen is not the best place to have less shoulder strength but at the same time, if I'm not torn or broken, if I can hold on, I'm going to go race. Realistically, two top-ten solid motos, that's where I wanted to be at last weekend but, unfortunately things popped up - somebody put that gator pit down there and I hit it [chuckles].

Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki Josh Osby

Josh Osby
This is the first full outdoor professional season for the Josh Osby. The Indiana native has been looking to his seasoned teammates of Kyle Cunningham and Jimmy Albertson for guidance and is excited to ride all of the tracks that he’s never been to, which is quite a few.Photo By Sean Klinger

DR: How is the very fresh season going for you so far?
JO: Obvously, it's my rookie season and there is a lot of learning going on each weekend. I just want to keep building. I got hurt before supercross even started. For me I want to build each weekend and become a better rider each weekend so next year we can really go at it.

DR: So you haven't been to Glen Helen before?
JO: No I haven't really been to any of these tracks besides Red Bud and Muddy Creek, some that are close to my house. Yeah, it's new for me but it is fun and enjoyable and I'm looking forward to this weekend. It's more excitement than nerves at this point. It's always fun going to new tracks, learning the jumps. I think it's cool. On the national weekends they till them deep and the tracks are really good.

Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki Jimmy Albertson

Jimmy Albertson
Even though he is riding in the 250 class, Jimmy Albertson is a veteran rider who has ridden both 250s and 450s.Photo By Sean Klinger

DR: Tell me how las weekend went for you.
JA: It wasn't too bad. I haven't raced the nationals in a year and a half, so just getting back in the swing of things, and trying to figure out how to ride a 250 outdoors again was definitely an experience. I haven't raced a 250F in a pro outdoor race since 2007. So, just trying to find that corner speed, keeping momentum up, carrying more speed everywhere. The 250F is great because it handles better being a lighter chassis and not having as much power but, you can't be taken those tight inside lines like I was on my 450 and getting straight and hitting the throttle. Just how to shift it a little bit different and how to start it. My second moto felt really good, actually. I was almost back into points after a bad start and I end up going down with 10 minutes to go, which ran my momentum down a little bit. Other than that, I had a lot of fun racing.

DR: Since you've ridden a lot of both, do you consider yourself more a supercross guy or motocross guy?
JA: I was never really completely ready to race supercross this year and when you're not ready to go racing supercross, it is very nerve wracking, I mean, it's scary. So going out every weekend and knowing that I wasn't ready, wasn't prepared, with very little confidence in my riding on the 250F in supercross, it just made it scary. Outdoors, you can still go out unprepared and not be scared. But with supercross, if you are not completely dialed in it's not good. To hit the rhythm section and big jumps, big whoops and not have a second thought about it takes a lot of preparation.

Obermeyer Suzuki Mackenzie Tricker

Mackenzie Tricker
Coming from Australia, Mackenzie Tricker has been riding WMX for quite some time and now spits her racing efforts between WMX and GNCC racing, where, in the latter, she already has two wins this season. She also has won multiple championships at Loretta Lynn’s.Photo By Sean Klinger

DR: Since your results show you are skilled at both, which do you prefer, moto or off-road?
MT: I've always liked moto, I'm a moto rider, but I'm liking something new. I've been living with Jessica Patterson and that's what she is focused on so I just wanted to give it a go. I got support through the Obermeyer team. I've been having a blast doing it.

DR: Do you have much experience off-road?
MT: Last year I did one local hare scramble race before I went back home, but not before that. This year I've done four GNCC. The first one didn't go good at all; I crashed and got lost. But learned from my mistakes, then I won the next two. The last one in Indiana was a mud fest, I damaged my radiator and didn't finish.

DR: So how do you feel like you do in muddy, rooty, slick conditions?
MT: I feel good, but I'm just still learning. I mean, at the second race that I won it was muddy and I was following another rider and learning from them, like, instead of going straight with the ruts, cutting across them to not get buried. Little things like that, that I never would have thought of I'm learning.

There was a slow race (who ever crosses the line last, wins without putting a foot down) and here is the podium. Luke Clout 1st, Matt Bisceglia 2nd, and Richard Taylor 3rd.Photo By Sean Klinger