WWR Privateer Update: Atlanta

The Wonder Warthog Racing team had quite a time last week as they rotated in their east coast lites riders. All told, seven west coast riders were moved out of the semi, and eight east coast riders moved in as the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross series headed east to Atlanta. Jeff Tomlinson, WWR Chief of Logistics, coordinated the effort with the help of several Motorcycle Mechanics Institute interns. Here’s a quick rundown of the new WWR riders:

  • Kyle Tobin (Dana K/WWR Intern)
  • Zach Ames (Hog Haven)
  • Dave Ginolfi (Hog Haven)
  • Tim Hollenbeck (Hog Haven)
  • Geddy Karrle (Hog Haven)
  • Austin Prescott (Hog Haven)
  • Bryan White (Hog Haven)
  • Ashlee Woskob (Hog Haven)

Unfortunately, Ryan Abrigo was injured during practice last week and was not able to make his Lites East Coast Series debut.

Once in Atlanta, the new batch of Lites riders wasted no time showing that they deserve their WWR ride; Kyle Tobin, Geddy Karrle, and Zach Ames made the night program in the lites class, as did Antonio Balbi and Jacob Saylor in the big bike class. The highlight of the weekend for the Warthog crew was Zach Ames qualifying for his first main event in only his third pro supercross race. We tracked Zach down as he was preparing for this weekend’s race in St. Louis…

TWMX: Hey Zach, thanks for taking some time for us. Why don’t you start by telling us how things went in Atlanta…

I came into Atlanta feeling pretty good. Because I had a spot in the Hog Haven I knew I would have a place to pit and wouldn’t have to be scrambling around to find a privateer pit. I rode the week before that and felt real good, and then when I went into the daytime practice I set the fastest time in my group. So I made it to the night show and tried to put it together for the heat race, but got a bad start and missed it by one. Then in the LCQ I got third and made it to the main.

In the main I started about seventh or eighth and then settled into a mode I just couldn’t get out of. I couldn’t seem to go any faster or slower, so I fell back to sixteenth.

Just making the main as a privateer is a pretty big deal.

Yeah, that is my third ever Supercross and my first main, so I was proud of it.

What other Supercross events have you raced?

I did Indianapolis and Detroit last year.

So you’ll be doing all of the East Coast rounds this year?

Yeah.

Tell us a little more about yourself and how you got into racing…

I’m from Prospect, Ohio. It’s always cold there! [BRACKET “Laughs”]. I grew up racing motocross, but didn’t start taking it real serious until about two years ago when I turned pro and figured I could make a living at it. Then I buckled down and started my training, and now I’m seeing where I can go with it.

I did the AMA Arenacross series last year, and the Boo Koo Arenacross this year. Last year I finished eighth in the season, and this year I finished fifth.

What would you say has been the most difficult part of turning pro?

The biggest challenge is that everyone’s fast. I went from winning a lot of races locally, to jumping into the pro class where everyone’s super fast. You’ve just gotta train more, ride more and get faster.

How did you make the decision to jump full time in Supercross this year?

Tyler Bowers and I were teammates for MDK in Arenacross, and it my goal was to do well in Arenacross, and the get a Supercross ride. I did really well in Arenacross and was able to put together a good ride with Wonder Warthog, so I went for it. Being on the Wonder Warthog team is a big help. We have a good spot to pit, and everyone is really helpful.

Getting into a main event in your first race of the season is a good start. Wheere do you go from here?

My plan is to make more mains and hopefully finish in the top ten at a few races.

What will you have to do to reach that goal?

Improve on my cardio and ride more. I also think that being in my first main got to my nerves a bit, and I’ll do better in St. Louis.

During the West Coast rounds, Dana K started to get a reputation as a betting man. He offered up some friendly wagers with some of the Hog Haven guys, like betting them that if they didn’t make the main they would have to shave their head. Any of that going on in Atlanta?

He gave a bonus to my mechanic and me for making the main; that was cool.

Cool! Well good luck this weekend, Zach. How about you wrap up this interview with a shout out to your sponsors…

Definitely. In want to thank MDK, Honda, Shift, One Industries, EVS, Alpinestars, Tag Metals, Wonder Warthog, Dana K, Scott Kandel, my mechanic Dave, the Bowers family, and everybody that’s helped me out.

Learn more about the Wonder Warthog Racing team at www.wonderwarthogracing.com.