Interview/Photos by Casey Davis | @air_d617
With the 2017 Monster Energy Cup approaching, some of the most prominent amateurs are preparing to take on the challenge of racing on a true Supercross-style track. Among their ranks is Enzo Lopes, a kid from Brazil who is chasing his dreams here in America. Last year was tough, as Lopes crashed in the race and broke his collarbone, but this year he seems much more prepared. Thanks to some help from Brett Metcalfe, he’s honing his Supercross skills and has even accepted an invite to the 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm. We ran into Lopes at the Supercross track at Milestone and got the full scoop on his year so far, as well as his plans for next year.
It's been a little while since we've checked in with you, and you're looking a lot older too. How has your year been going for you so far?
It's been pretty good actually. Last year, I struggled a lot with injuries, but this year things have started clicking. Mammoth went really good, I almost got a win there. I led for eight laps out of ten, but then I crashed. Loretta's was the same way. I was sitting second overall behind Justin Cooper and then I crashed in the last moto, which put me out of the overall. I had a little injury in my wrist, so I sat out three or four weeks. Now I'm back in the Supercross grind and getting ready for Monster Energy Cup. After that, I'll do Red Bull Straight Rhythm.
You're riding out at Milestone preparing for that race right now, how long have you been riding on Supercross tracks now?
Well, it's been last minute a little bit because we were talking to some teams and trying to see if we were going to make a deal or not. I wasn't taking any risks riding during that time. We only started riding this last week and we've been working since then. Right now, I'm feeling pretty comfortable. Last year was my first time trying Supercross and getting used to the triples, rhythm lanes, and everything else. This year I have a lot more confidence and I'm ready to go for the win.
You raced the Monster Energy Cup in 2016, correct?
Yeah, that's when I broke my collarbone. Tallon LaFountaine and I both crashed, that was bad.
Talk a little about working with Brett Metcalfe, you've been working with him for roughly a year now. How's that been?
It's been good! We met at WaBa Grill and just started working together since then. He's more than my trainer, he's half my dad practically. I'm at his place every day and hanging out with his family. He helped me a lot in Supercross and everything else in life too. It's pretty cool. We jump triples now too [laughs]. I over jumped the triple here at Milestone two days ago, it was not good, but I did it!
Have you had a lot of time on a Supercross track with your competitors riding here to be able to gauge yourself at all?
Not really, but I don't really care either. I just try to do my own thing and I know I'm capable. I'll do my best every single lap from practice to the end of the race.
Like you said, after Monster Energy Cup you're going to race Red Bull Straight Rhythm for the first time. Are you looking forward to that?
I was kind of scared because they were going to have whoops and I'm not really used to that, but I talked to the guys and they said no whoops. It's a good experience for myself. I got the invite from Red Bull which is huge for me. Being from Brazil, it's awesome to be in something like that. I'll make the most of it and we'll go have fun.
Have you had any time on a practice Straight Rhythm track?
No, not really. I saw some videos from Pala last year and stuff like that, and I thought, 'Yeah, why not?'
After those two races, is that it for the year?
We don't really know yet, I don't know my plans for next year yet. We haven't decided if I'll stay in amateurs still or go professional. I'll for sure be lining up for the 2018 Hangtown MX, possibly with a privateer team. After Red Bull Straight Rhythm, I'll go back to Brazil and see my family. I have been here for four months already, so I'll spend three weeks at home and that should be good.
What is it like being from Brazil and living here? How often do you go back to Brazil?
I used to go back a lot, but this year I've only gone back a few times for like three weeks or so. Now I'll go for three weeks again. It's good to see my friends and everything because I don't really time living here to go hangout with friends or do anything. I also have my sand track back at home that's five minutes from my house. I can do a lot of turns there and it helps me improve my technique a lot. I'm really pumped to be going home, but I'm happy to be here as well. I love both.