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AMSOIL Swapmoto Race Series Rider Profile | Preston O’Neal

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AMSOIL Swapmoto Race Series Rider Profile | Preston O’Neal

Age: 18

Hometown: Chatsworth, CA

Classes Raced: 250 Novice, 450 Novice

Sponsors: O’Neal, Bell, 100%, Gaerne, Factory Connection, Simi Valley Cycles, Renthal, Yoshimura, Rekluse

The O’Neal family was on hand for the AMSOIL Terra Firma Series finale at Glen Helen. While Braden O’Neal is a familiar race at our events, we were surprised to see his dad Keith on the line with another O’Neal son: Preston. 

You’re born into a prolific family in our sport. Was riding even an option, or were you brought up on two wheels?

I was brought up to ride bikes but I never really took racing seriously until last year. I am just having fun with it. It is fun. We all do it as a family. t’s pretty bad to the bone!

Do you have aspirations of going pro or is it more of a fun hobby?

I would like to go pro but we’ll see where it goes. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. We will take it step by step and see where I end up. 

Your brother Braden has taken racing very seriously for years now. Is he a big influence on you and your program?

Oh yeah. He shows me a lot on and off the track. It’s good to ride with him. I learn a lot of stuff from him.

When you were little, did you realize how important your grandpa Jim O’Neal is to the sport of motocross?

Oh yeah, they told me a lot of stories about him. A lot of Baja stories. A lot of racing stories from back in the day. He was big time!

What’s it like wearing a set of gear that bears your name on the legs?

It’s pretty nice. (Laughs) It’s some good quality gear. Everyone has some good stuff out but this stuff I am wearing is top of the line. I think the new 2020 gear is the best stuff yet. I am super pumped on it.

Do you and Braden have some input on designs and fit?

We get to see some drawings beforehand but we don’t really get to have any input. But it’s alright.

 

What is it about racing motocross that you love?

The excitement! The adrenaline you get at the drop of the gate. It’s fun. Most of the time you are racing with your buddies and that’s a good thing. 

Any other sports that you like?

No, no other sports. I just train and hang out with buddies. I do a lot of things. Bicycle, mountain bike. Surf sometimes. Everything to help the dirt bike.

Any college and or career aspirations? 

I don’t know. Hopefully something good. I’d like to work in the motorcycle industry but not in the gear industry. We’ll see.

What do you think of the Swapmoto Race Series?

I have been to one round before this. It’s pretty good! Racing goes by pretty fast and we are not out here all day. You guys have your stuff dialed, that’s for sure.

How weird is it that your big brother is dating Troy Lee’s daughter?

(Laughs) It’s really weird, you know! (Laughs) But no one really see it so that’s ok.

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Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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