By Chase Curtis
Bradley Lionnet, 20
Hometown: Zambia, South Africa
Sponsors: Temecula Motorsports, Dunlop, FXR, Emig, MX University, Maxima, Faster USA, Pro Taper, Bell
The TWMXRS brings out a diverse group of skill levels, from beginners who ride for fun, to professional riders who compete as a job. This past round of the 2017 Terra Firma series at Glen Helen Raceway, brought out Bradley Lionnet to the races. After a frustrating supercross season full of great riding but unfortunate mistakes, the racer out of Zambia is looking forward to a fresh beginning in 2018 with the Rockwell PHNX Racing Team. Bradley and his trainer, BJ Burns, have recently been preparing for the upcoming MXGP in Florida, which has both of them excited for the new experience. We had the chance to catch up with the 20-year old and discuss last years season, as well as his plans for the future.
What brings you out to the races today?
I came out here to have some fun racing the TWMX 2017 Terra Firma series, I figured it would be good to freshen up the skills before I go race the MXGP in Florida. Glen Helen is a pretty rough track, which always makes for a great race day.
How often do you ride and train at Glen Helen?
I'm pretty much here every Thursday, Glen Helen is easily one of the best outdoor tracks to ride in SoCal. We try and make it out here every Thursday to get some rough motos in.
How excited are you to be going to Florida for the MXGP?
I'm pretty pumped! This is going to be my first MXGP, which is awesome. I like the whole layout of the event, where you practice on Saturday and race on Sunday. I'm excited to see how I do up against those guys.
Are you flying out there or taking a road trip?
It's going to be a big road trip (laughs). Definitely a fat drive.
How was your Supercross season?
Supercross consisted of a lot of up-and-downs. During the beginning of the season, I really wasn’t riding how I wanted to. I seemed to keep goon'in out of a transfer position on the last lap, which was pretty frustrating. Oakland was probably one of the most frustrating races, I was running in second place, after a great start, and then crashed out in the whoops on the final lap. Unfortunately, I broke my jaw halfway through the season after crashing out of a transfer spot again. So supercross went alright, just had some low-points.
What do you do with a broken jaw? Obviously, you can’t cast it…
I actually had surgery on it. They put two plates on my jaw, and then wired it shut for about two weeks. For those weeks, I had a syringe down the side of my cheek to eat and drink from.
I'm sure you’d rather have a broken arm than that again…
Yeah, for sure (laughs)! It definitely sucked.
When you broke your jaw, how'd you crash?
I cased a triple at Texas, and my jaw went right to my handlebars. It's on YouTube (laughs).
How is your training program with everyone?
I get to ride with Ryan Surratt during the week, which is good because his pace is a little better than mine so it helps me improve. I think it's always beneficial to ride with someone who’s fast, like Ryan. Bj is always here, he never misses a beat. Even though he isn't my mechanic, he always helps out with my bike and makes sure everything is good to go. Training is awesome and I really enjoy the people I'm around when doing so.
Other than Florida, what are your upcoming plans?
I will be racing with the Rockwell PHNX racing team for supercross this year, so that will be rad. I am still unsure of what the plan is for outdoors next season, but supercross should be good with the new team.
With the new team, when do you start getting bikes to begin testing for the new season?
I believe during the end of October we start testing and getting everything set. I'm not a hundred percent sure though.
You are originally from Zambia, so what brought you out to the United States?
Years ago, Sebastien Tortelli came to Zambia to do a training camp. Before he left, he had told me that I had potential and that I should come out to America. Following that, I came out here for three weeks and fell in love with it. I decided to join his year-round program, which I did for about two years. Then after training with him, I switched to BJ and have been here ever since.