The Monster Energy Cup is an event that stands on it’s own for a number of reasons, and it allows the amateur racers of the sport a unique opportunity to race on a full-fledged Supercross track in front of thousands of fans in a stadium. It’s a great opportunity for any amateur racer, and one rider that’ll be making his fourth appearance as an amateur is TLD/KTM’s Mitchell Falk. You may remember Falk taking the win in the Supermini class just two years ago, but he’s since moved up to big bikes and is looking for a win this weekend. We checked in with TLD’s newest recruit – recently signed a contract that will take him one year into his pro career – in between motos to see how he was feeling going into this weekend.
We’re just a few days out from the 2016 Monster Energy Cup. How are you feeling heading into the Amateur All-Stars event?
I’m feeling really good. It’s been a long month preparing for Monster Cup, and it’s just about here. We are going to head to Vegas tomorrow for press day, and then it’s game time on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it!
You have a great group of people around you to keep you motivated and focused. You get to work with Nathan Ramsey on the track and Tyler Kalisiak in the gym. Do you ever get to work with Tyla Rattray, as well?
A little bit. Tyla is always out there working with the pros, so if he’s there I can ask him for help with something if I need. He’s always a nice enough guy to help me out. I primarily work with Ramsey and Kalisiak though. Nate is my riding coach and Tyler is my gym trainer. It’s a great combination I think, so it’s a matter of evolving and progressing.
KTM was nice enough to rent out the Milestone Supercross track for yourself and several other KTM amateurs. Talk about what it’s like to be involved with a brand that takes care of their riders so well.
Yeah, it’s great what the Orange Brigade people did for us. They rented out Milestone on seemingly their busiest day, and I can’t imagine it was cheap. The track has been prepped amazingly well and the sun is still behind some overcast, so it’s nice and cool outside. For them to also give us a race day type of schedule to get familiar with was really great, as well. It’ll just help us get used to everything much easier on race day.
This isn’t your first time at the Monster Energy Cup, as you won the Supermini class just a few years ago. Do you go into this type of race with a different mindset with that confidence on your side?
I really keep my mindset the same for every race. I’m going out there to do my best, but most importantly I’m looking for a win, and I really feel that I can do that at every race. It’s just a matter of putting my mind to it and believing in myself. Last year I came into the event a little behind the eight ball because it was a late decision to race. We thought we were doing a different race and that dropped out of the equation, so we headed for Monster Cup to get some seat-time. This year is a different story because I’m looking to win.
Throughout the amateur ranks, riders never experience Supercross, as the entire amateur circuit races on outdoor-style racetracks. Has it been a nice change of pace to ride some Supercross?
Yeah, it’s cool because everything feels really new again. It’s easy to concentrate on SX and it’s easy to maintain motivation for it because it’s so much different then what we’re used to. It’s new, so ultimately you’re going to have to learn how to do it and then perfect it once you get the hang of it. Sometimes it feels like you’re learning how to ride again for the first time. And the same will happen after this weekend; we’ll be happy to ride some outdoor tracks for the rest of the year. It’s good to mix things up like that every so often.
Roughly a month ago, you signed a contract with TLD/KTM that will take you into your rookie year as a professional. Can we look forward to seeing you line up with the pros next year?
Yeah, if all goes as planned. I will go through the amateur races one more time in the A class, and hopefully I can line up for the final three outdoor rounds. I think that’s going to be a good time, but it all depends if I’m ready. There is really no rush on my side or the teams. I really think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Getting to that stage is something that we’ve worked really hard for.
Signing a contract with a team of this caliber has already set you up for success, and you can also look forward to working alongside the pros pretty soon, too. Do you think being around them and riding with them all the time will help your program even more?
Yeah, absolutely. They know how to do it because they’ve all been doing it for a number of years. It’s good to judge your speed based on someone who’s running up front and winning races. I can see firsthand the work they put in along with how fast they’re going on the racetrack, and all of that has been a big help already. Practicing with them gives you a good gauge at where you should be, and it continuously gives you something to work towards.
Do you have any goals or expectations for yourself this weekend?
Yeah, my goal is to ride like I know how to ride. I think if I do that, everything else will fall into place.