By Megan Maeda

Name: Braden O’Neal
Age: 19
Hometown: Chatsworth, CA
Classes Raced: 250B, 450B
Sponsors: O’Neal, Simi Valley Cycles, Yoshimura, Factory Connection, Sunstar, Rekluse, Gaerne, Bell Helmets, Von Zipper

You’re a third generation racer and part of a famous motocross family, can you tell me a little about that?

My grandfather is Jim O’Neal, he started O’Neal racing gear and my grandpa raced for factory Maico, CZ, and Husqvarna back in the 70s and he raced the first ever Supercross, the Superbowl of Motocross. My dad raced Supercross and outdoors, and my whole family all race Baja, with countless Baja championships. So now I’m just kind of taking over and trying to see where I can go with moto.

How long have you been racing and what led you to chose motocross?

I’ve been riding since I was three years old and I love motocross because it is a man’s sport. There are so many different aspects that make me love it.

Do you enjoy any other sports or hobbies?

I like to go out on the wake and wakeboard with my buddies, snowboard, surf, skate, BMX, pretty much anything and all of it.

How seriously do you take your racing? Is it just for fun or do you have bigger aspirations?

I’m going to be turning pro here pretty soon. I just raced the Arizona Open and won the 250B mod title, so I take it very seriously and train really hard. I ride three times a week and I put my heart into it.

You’re friends with Max Lee, whose dad is Troy Lee… What’s it like wearing gear with your name on the legs and who’s looks cooler?

Well, you know I’m not saying which one is cooler, but I think some sets of Troy’s gear is really cool and some of the O’Neal stuff really cool. So, you know I can’t say much. (Laughs)

What are your favorite types of tracks and track obstacles?

I like to jump! I recently started practicing on Supercross and I’m liking it. Trying to feel the flow and I think I’m gonna have a good year on Arenacross.

Who is your biggest influence on racing?

I like Kevin Windham and I think I would like to be like him. Just to look natural and flow everytime you ride and I feel like I ride pretty well with flow. Kevin Windham, Darryn Durham…there’s a bunch of people.

What would you rather do, holeshot a race and run away or come from behind to win?

Holeshot and run away.

Tell me about your bike and why you chose it and what have you done to make it work well for you?

I choose the Yamaha YZ250F. Dwayne at Simi Valley Cycles he helps me out a lot. The bikes are running strong and I’m riding my stock 250 today, but on my mod bike, the mod motor is working really good. The Yoshimura pipes are working great. Yoshimura is helping out and they’re a big part of my program, their equipment is awesome.