There is no place quite like the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Packed 70,000 strong with decks on decks of spectators ready to bring the noise make it one of the most intense and coveted rounds in the series. And this year, the Atlanta double-up will only allow last week’s unfinished business to play out in a big way at Atlanta II. This week, we recap the action and catch up with ALiAS’ Brady Kiesel as he discusses what it takes to make it happen as a professional supercross racer. The ALiAS Breakdown is your chance to get in an inside look behind the scenes and inside the minds of your favorite ALiAS athletes. Each and every week our team will be working to bring you all exclusive news, interviews, photos and the inside scoop you won’t find anywhere else. Get closer to the action and inside your sport like never before.
BOGLE LOOKS FOR A WIN AT ATLANTA II
When you carry the #1 plate on your back, the world rests on your shoulders. After scoring another podium finish and putting ALiAS back on the box, a casual onlooker could see the disappointment in Justin Bogle’s face. Captaining the 250 East SX squad for GEICO Honda, anything other than 1st means there’s room for improvement when you’re the champ. “I’m slightly frustrated but it’s good getting back on the podium,” Bogle said. “I got a decent start in the main and was right up front there. I rode as hard as I could and managed to get around Davalos after a few attempts. At that point I finally felt like I was getting into a good rhythm for the first time all day. “Then I started struggling with my breathing for some reason. It got really bad at the end and I got passed by Jeremy and Marvin in the last few laps.”
ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY: BRADY KIESEL TALKS SX
Take a good look at this number, you’ll want to remember it. It belongs to Southern California’s Brady Kiesel, an East SX privateer who’s no stranger to the podium and on a steady progression through the pro ranks. With 7 amateur national championships, a rookie season #70 to his credit and nearly 2 decades of racing experience under his belt, night show performances like the one he threw down at Atlanta 1 are bound to keep him on the factory short-list. “I felt good about Atlanta. I came into the weeekend knowing what I needed to do. I was good in the heat but Musquin got me on the last couple corners so I had to go to the LCQ. Good start, I got around Audette in that first section and just rode smooth in 2nd. I could have tried to hang with Rodriguez but I wanted to maintain a comfortable pace and save energy for the main…where I got a terrible start. I was around 18th so I had worked past a few guys midrace; I passed DeCotis and started chasing down 2 guys in front of me (Dakota Alix and Kyle Peters) but ran out of time and ended up 15th. I think it was a good building block for Atlanta II with more confidence and knowing I can run right there with those guys.”
The level of competition on East and West coast is more stacked than we’ve ever seen it, but the dynamics of the East coast lineup make it even more intense for privateers trying to lock down a coveted spot. “It’s crazy. On the west coast you got your factory guys, a bunch of really gnarly dudes that are super fast and then a lot of other guys that are a little farther off the pace behind them. On the East though, you have all of the factory guys plus privateers that haven’t had a shot at a factory ride yet but are still really fast like Jace Owen, Nick Gaines and Dakota Alix. I think anyone that makes the main on the East coast is a hitter. To get inside the top 10, it just depends who puts in the work during the week and gets the start on race day. Like, when I get a start I know that I can finish inside the Top 10. And same for the guys behind me, it’s just a matter of who can start good and stay on two wheels!”
Mental fortitude, the ability to focus and stay mentally strong is a key to Supercross racing. With just a few hours to dial in the track, racers also have to block out thousands of cheering fans and 19 other racers gunning for the #1 spot. “Honestly, I think Supercross is almost 90% mental. Last year I came into Dallas SX and broke my jaw really bad. When I went into the race I wasn’t really mentally there and it bit me in the ass. For me personally, I struggle in practice on race day. I’ll go out in practice and qualify terribly, but when it’s the night show my mindset is completely different, I guess it’s what I feed off of. Something clicks when I get into the night show, I loosen up, my mind clears and I start riding like a different person. I am working on that and starts right now, instead of starting from the back in 18th or 19th and working my way up I want to be up front early. It makes all the difference in the world – you can get the worst start and only make up a few positions because the guys are so fast. But if you were to get a top 5 start…it’s much easier to hold someone off than it is to pass someone so you get the start, settle into your pace and finish the race there instead of getting a bad start and working forward.”
Supercross is a brutal exercise in battling the highs and lows, soaking in the success and riding the wave as long as possible, also using failure when it comes to fuel the fire for the next face. “What keeps me coming back is me knowing that I have the potential if I have the sustainability in my program. I feel like I have always been right there with those guys; I am as good if not better. And I’m not saying it like “I’m better” I’m just saying I know that I can be there with that top tier of dudes. I put in the work throughout the off-season and I’m just going to keep chipping away at it, getting better every week. I want to see non-stop progression. I want to build off of last weekend and have a better weekend this weekend. And after this weekend, I want to have a better weekend next weekend. Top 15 last week means 15th this week isn’t good enough, I want to do better, take that into the outdoors and keep continually progressing.”
MESS WITH THE BULL, YOU GET THE HORNS…
It wouldn’t be right to send of this week’s ALiAS breakdown without a shout out to RJ Hampshire. Locking down a 9th in the main at Atlanta 1, he’s becoming known in the supercross world for his insane style and aggressive, no-BS approach to getting to the front of the pack by whatever means neccessary. Tough as nails, funny as hell and one of the most talented athletes coming up through the circuit, w’re proud to help RJ along this journey to Supercross stardom.
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