By Chase Curtis
Braden O'Neal, 19
Hometown: Chatsworth, CA
Sponsors: Simi Valley Cycles, Yamaha, Yoshimura, Factory Connection, Maxima, Dunlop, Rekluse, Factory Effex, O'Neal, VonZipper, Gaerne, Bell, Sunstar, Renthal, Works Connection, RK Chains, Cycra
The 2017 Terra Firma TWMX Race Series has come to an end, as the last round took place at Milestone MX with some unforgettable moments. After the 2017 Slam Fest ended Saturday evening, many believed that the exciting racing would also come to an end. Fortunately, the action-packed racing did not stop with the Slam Fest, as racing Sunday held some intense moments. A great contribution to those exciting moments was the 19-year old out of Chatsworth California. Braden O'Neal had many fans standing on their feet in search of a better viewing section, as he battled throughout his motos toward some race wins. Before most of the drama and intense racing went down, we had a chance to catch up with Braden after his first moto of the day.
What brings you out to Milestone?
I came out here to get some gate time in and have some fun. I'm preparing for the 2018 season now, as I only have a few races left this year, so I'm going to try and do some work.
You mentioned the upcoming season that's just around the corner, as of now, what all do you have planned for 2018?
I plan on racing East Coast Arenacross to obtain my points for supercross, if all goes well, I'd like to race the last few rounds of West-Coast Supercross in 2018. Following that, I'll see how my fitness is and hopefully race a few nationals like Glen Helen and Hangtown.
I understand that Milestone is not the closest to your hometown, so what is the closest track to you?
We have a few local or private tracks that not a lot of people know about, which are pretty fun, but otherwise, nothing else is within the hour. All my buddies that live up by me make tracks in the hills when we get some rain, even sometimes when it's dry out.
How's your summer been?
It's been pretty good overall. Unfortunately, I broke my femur early in the year, which was a big struggle, but I was able to get back on the bike and back to training before most of the amateur nationals went down. I did pretty well up in Mammoth, so that was rad. I've been working really hard this summer on my program and working towards those good results.
Although you had a good Summer, I'm sure you are excited for the rainy days around the corner…
I'm super excited for the rainy days in the hills, that's what us "moto-kids" live for. I can't wait to shovel up some jumps with the friends and have some fun.
Word on the street is that you can be seen on a famous YouTuber's video ripping one of the private tracks near your home…
Yeah (laughs). Danny Duncan is the YouTuber and a friend of mine. My buddy Alex films all of his videos, so he knew who to come to when Danny wanted to ride a dirt bike (laughs). They came over to my grandparent’s house one day and we just made a little goon video… He ate crap a couple times, but it was fun!
What do you do for fun off of the bike?
I like to go to the beach and surf with my friends, ride jet ski's, wakeboard, and pretty much everything kids like to do. Honestly, I've started to enjoy training a lot more recently. But, you name it and I'll do it.
You were shredding during your first moto of the day, but you were not too pleased with your start…
Yeah, I just spun off of the gate and it wasn’t too hot. Luckily, I was able to make my way through the pack and up to second. I finished just behind first and probably could have put a slam on him for the win but it's all good, I'll get a better start next moto and go for the overall win.
Speaking of Slam's, you didn’t make it out for the Slam race yesterday but what about next year?
Oh, I'll be at the Slam Fest next year, I'll be doing some slamming for sure (laughs).
How do you want to end off your day of racing?
Hopefully, I'll get a better start and get some wins. Having fun is the main goal, but I don't like getting second, losing sucks.