Nearly every year the professional motocross ranks welcome a new crop of racers after they’ve completed their long run as amateur racers, but there’s typically one standout amongst the group of newbies, and it seems safe to say that Horton/Yamaha’s Bradley Taft is the next standout graduate. Training alongside the likes of Aaron Plessinger, Alex Martin and Cooper Webb with Gareth Swanepoel, Taft’s transition into the pro ranks-which may come at the final outdoor rounds-should come a little easier than most even with his own high expectations. Taft will first finish out his amateur career before making the decision to either line up at the final few outdoor rounds this year or wait till the 2017 Supercross series. Either way, we’re excited to see what he’s got!
This is your final year as an amateur, so what are your thoughts reflecting back on the season thus far?
This year is been going great. I went to the Spring Nationals and I was able to get a championship at Daytona. At Freestone, I had a lot of speed, but I also suffered from some crashes. Then I was able to go to the California Classic where I was able to leave behind those crashes to go on to win five out of nine motos for a championship. This year has been awesome and I’m really looking forward to keeping the ball rolling for the rest of the year. I would really like to finish out my final year as an amateur on a high note.
Lately we’ve been seeing you riding and working with some of the Star Racing riders, as well as a number of others. Talk about what it’s like working with guys of that caliber.
Yeah, we all train with Gareth Swanepoel, so it’s really great for me to have someone like that in my corner. He’s been around it for a long time and he’s experienced the kind of racing that I’ll be doing soon, so he knows what to expect, which is huge for me. It’s really awesome to be able to ride with guys like Cooper Webb, Broc Tickle, Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin who just started training with us, too. Obviously all of those guys know what they’re doing, so it’s a great opportunity to be training alongside them. I can also get feedback from them about my own riding, and since I haven’t raced professionally yet that kind of thing can only benefit me. Also, knowing what it’s like going into the big show is another great thing to have under my belt. It’s really great training with those guys, so hopefully I will be just as good as them one day.
So what are your plans for the rest of the year as far as racing?
Coming up next are the Loretta Lynn’s regionals at Hangtown on June 4th I think, then we had up to Mammoth at the end of June and finally Loretta’s. I’m really hoping to do good at these final races, As I would like to end my amateur career on a high note before turning pro. There’s a slight chance that I will lineup for the last few outdoor nationals, but I’m really not sure yet.
If you do end up lining up for the last couple nationals, do you have any goals or expectations set for yourself to accomplish?
Yeah, definitely. Training with all of those guys has given me a better gauge on my own speed compared to them, so if I do line up for the final few nationals I can honestly say that I do have high expectations for myself. Obviously getting good starts is key, but if I can ride like I know how to then those good results will come.