By Chase Curtis
Michael Sandoval, 16
Hometown: Fallbrook, CA
Sponsors: ZLT, Mika, DT1, 2xu, Langstons Motorsports, Sidi
Injuries are common amongst the motocross community, but how a rider comes back from them, is what defines the racer’s performance weekend to weekend. Michael Sandoval recently suffered a broken arm due to a mishap in the air, during a day of training and practicing. Although this past round of the TWMX El Dorado Series marked only his third race since the injury, the 16 year old executed a perfect start-to-finish win during his first moto of the 250 Novice class that saw him with a 20-second lead. Sandoval also won the second moto and the overall, and for his dominant performance, the racer out of Fallbrook, CA, was awarded the "SPY Breakaway Rider" award.
You had a great first moto in the 250 Novice class…
Yeah! I knew if I got a good start, I would be able to put down some solid laps and ride my own race, so that is what I did. I'm pretty pumped on my result.
During your first 250 Novice moto, you really checked-out from the rest of the pack. Have you thought about moving up a class?
I don't want to make the move up quite yet, just because I am planning on racing the C/Novice class at Loretta Lynn’s. I don't want to get booted up to the "B" class at Loretta's, because I'm not racing "C" class. After Loretta Lynn’s, the plan is to then move up to the "B" class.
You recently suffered an injury…
Unfortunately, yes I did. I was practicing out at Pala Raceway, when my front-end dove off a jump, but luckily, I saved it and did not hit the ground. However, I did break my arm from the impact. I'm really fortunate that I didn’t hit the ground, because that would have most-likely caused some more injuries.
Now that you are back to riding and racing, has your arm given you any problems since the injury?
My arm has just been real "iffy." I have problems with my flexibility and mobility in the arm, but it wasn't too big of a deal.
How long was the recovery process?
The whole recovery took about three-to-four months.
When did you get back into your normal routine of riding and racing?
I got back into my usual racing routine not to long ago. This is only my third race back, but I've been on the bike and riding for about two months now. It's good to be back!
Racing-wise, what's your main focus currently?
My main focus right now is racing Mammoth, Loretta's, and hopefully Mini-O's. I would like to race as many amateur nationals as possible this year.
Not too long ago, you were aboard a 125cc. How's the transition to the 250cc 4-stroke been?
It's been pretty good! The bike is a little heavier, so I definitely have to work a bit more on the 250cc. The transition really forced me to better my fitness and get in shape.
How's the track today?
It's good! It is pretty rough, which is perfect for practicing for the nationals, so I like it. (Laughs)
I come out to Cahuilla Creek quite often, the track is always a great mixture of the local-track feel and a rough amateur national. And TransWorld always puts on a great event, with plenty of competition, so it's definitely been a good day out here.
How'd you get into motocross?
Riding has always ran in my family. My dad rode, so he sorta transferred it over to me. I started riding around the house when I was three, and then I got into racing when I was about eight.
What do you enjoy aside from motocross?
I love to BMX. I always try to be active, so riding bikes with my buddies is a big part of my free-time.
What is your favorite track snack?
I love Chex-Mix. (Laughs)
Is there a backstory to your number 15?
Yes there is. I took over my dad's number, which was 555. And then, I decided to change it, so I said "5+5+5 = 15," and the number has stuck since then.