Catching Up With…Gavin Gracyk

Gavin Gracyk is a solider of Motocross, a young man who marches straight through the line of fire to achieve his goal… “Be the person you were created to be.” If you’re familiar with the story of Gavin Gracyk then you understand why he is what we would consider a soldier of motocross. While dealing with many personal setbacks, Gavin is still able to focus on what needs to be done on race day by riding with pure heart and determination. Just as a soldier would, every time Gavin is knocked down he gets back up and fights with even more focus and motivation than before. With such a positive attitude and infectious personality, we decided to see how Gavin feels his fist full Supercross season is going, as well as find out what makes this young man keep his head held high in the air.

TW: Is this your first full Supercross season?

GG: Yeah. Exactly.

TW: How has it been going for you?

GG: It’s bittersweet. It’s going well. I’m in the top ten which is a good place to be. With everything going on and having to roll with the punches every weekend, it makes things tough, but it’s one of those things when you go into something for the first time it’s a learning curve.

TW: Coming into this season what were your goals?

GG: I was kind of aiming high, you know? You have to think real positive and go for the sky, so I was hoping to be in the top three, top five. With Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/Honda being a first year team, it has really come together. We’ve been rolling with the punches, trying to make improvements each week, I’m trying to better myself on and off of the track, and with everything being new to me I’m just trying to learn as much as I can each week.

TW: With the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/Honda being a newly formed team, how is that going for you?

GG: It’s going well! Everybody is excited about the series; I’m just excited to be racing dirt bikes in Supercross. It’s good for me to be riding for someone who has a lot of structure (Troy Lee). We have some good sponsors behinds us, and everybody on the team has the same goal and vision in mind.

TW: You had a very impressive outdoor season last year on the 450. What were you doing before ’07 outdoor season? You seemed to have come out of nowhere.

GG: I spent all of 2005 and 2006 racing in Canada. I ended up getting hurt in the middle of ’06, where I was out until the end of ’06; I also went through some personal things and I ended up losing some close people in my life. I didn’t have a bike for seven months. I got a bike at the end of March ’07 and there was nothing else to do except go race the Nationals. Dave Derosier (my mechanic), myself, and some good sponsors supporting us, battled through the ’07 outdoor season.     

TW: Didn’t you end up top ten overall in the points?

GG: Yeah! I ended up in ninth place overall.

TW: Everybody seemed to think after your outdoor season that you were more of a 450 rider, and after you landed a ride in the Lites class there was a bit of controversy on the messages boards. People were saying you weren’t going to do well on a Lites bike. Were you hoping to have a 450 ride for Supercross?

GG: I felt more at home on a 450 since that’s what I’ve been riding for the past couple of years; it seemed like a good fit. With all of the critics asking if I can ride Supercross or not: I’m just trying to better myself each week; I’m never going to settle for where I am. I think that riding the 250f was a good decision; it was a blessing in disguise. It’s good because this is like training grounds. I’m testing the waters, just getting my feet wet, learning each week and when I get on a 450 I think I’ll understand a little bit more about what I need to do and what I need to work on to reach the next level.

TW: After the Lites series wraps up what are your plans? Will we see you on a 450 for the outdoor season?

GG: Yeah, yeah! I’m just doing the Lites right now. I just heard at the riders meeting today, here in San Diego that any Lites rider who wants to ride a 450 on the East Coast is allowed to do so now. I guess my options have changed. I want to ride a 450 on the East Coast. I know it’s something my Dad would want me to do, you know? I hear his voice more than ever and I’m hoping a door will open up to allow me to do that, if not, I’ll go home and do my best to get ready for the outdoor season on a 450.

TW: How long is your deal with Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/Honda?

GG: It’s Supercross only for ’08. It goes from Anaheim 1 to Vegas. After Las Vegas I’m done with the team.

TW: Will you be returning to this team next year?

GG: Right now it’s too early to tell. It’s definitely a good avenue to look at since everybody on the team took me in. I’ve tried my best to be a good part of the team. Everybody gets along well; I get along well with everyone. It’s more than just a team…it’s a good friendship. I’m sure if they’re putting something together next year and I need a place to call home that option is there for me.

TW: Does it help you being able to work with a rider such as Chris Gosselaar, who has a lot of experience in Supercross?

GG: Yeah. Anytime you ride with someone you learn because everybody’s different, right? With Chris (Gosselaar) having the years of experience in Supercross it’s definitely easier to watch someone out there riding with you and being able to adapt when someone’s been down the road before. He’s a good friend; we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. We have a great respect for each other, and we both love riding motorcycles. It’s not like he tells me to do anything different, we just watch and learn off of each other and try to improve.

TW: You’ve had a lot of difficult personal issues go on in your life and it seems somehow you’re able to come out to the race every week and focus on the job at hand. This year you’ve done an awesome job of being a consistent top ten rider. How are you able to stay so focused and determined on the track with all of your personal struggles?

GG: Man, I would to say it’s the grace of the Lord. I’m only human, like any of us, and emotions come in and they try to tear you down. You are caught in this big whirlwind; you don’t know who you are, you’re just flipping around and you don’t know what’s up and what’s down. I think I just have some kind of appease over me and I don’t know if it’s a lack of emotion or what? But, I’ve been hit so many times, in so many soft spots that it doesn’t seem real anymore. I’m trying to bring the positive out of everything, keep looking up towards the sky, and keep pressing forward. That’s all I can do. My Dad always told me to never give up, so no matter what your face, you can’t give up. You have to try to be the person you were created to be.

TW: What are your goals for the rest of the season? Are you hoping to get a top three or top five?

GG: Oh, definitely! I’m not going to settle. I just need to get off of the gate well, run with the lead pack for a few laps, and try to find my own way, you know? I’m motivated to be on the box before the season is over. I’m going to take it weekend-by-weekend; all I can do is put in 100% and go from there.