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Moto Tips | Stepping Up To A Faster Class


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For many of us, the upcoming race season is either weeks away from starting or in its earliest rounds. If you’ve been reading our Moto Tips feature and putting the methods to good use, then this could be your year to sign up for a higher skill level class. The competition will be quicker and more aggressive than what you’re used to, so we figured it would be good to ask a pro racer for insight on setting expectations, figuring out your place in the pack, and what to you could learn from others on the track. Mitchell Oldenburg has done double-duty in the 250 East Coast region and 450 Class of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series, so we asked the Muc-Off Honda rider to share a few pieces of advice to keep in mind when the gate drops.

“I try to not put a position on my expectations, but put a realistic goal in place. I want to try and be better than I was yesterday and not skip the steps. I got six at the last race, okay, well, the goal is to get fifth the next weekend. Obviously, I’d love to go from sixth place to first place, everyone would, but I keep it realistic, take it one thing at a time, and just focus on what I can control. Anything that that’s out of my control, I try to just forget about, because there’s nothing I could have done about it would have made the situation better.”

“Confidence is so huge in our sport. I think the very first race of the year can either be really good or it can be really bad. A lot of people will go and just get a decent result, but if they have the expectations of winning or getting on the podium and it doesn’t happen, it could ruin the rest of the year for some riders. If that happens, then you’re just digging yourself out of a hole with your confidence the rest of the year. So I just take it race by race, have fun with it and just enjoy it. That has been the biggest thing for me, especially this year. I’ve had so much fun this year because I’m happy with my effort at the end of the night. And if it’s fourth or fifth place, then sweet. If it’s 20th place, then I’m fine with that, too. Just try to enjoy it, have fun and be better every week.”

“I just try to focus on myself. They threw me in 450 A Group practice at a Supercross for some reason, I have no idea why, and I was trying to find someone that might be a little bit quicker than me, but that I could latch on to and really learn from. I’m not going to go latch onto like someone that Cooper, Eli, or Kenny; they’re going to leave me in a couple corners and I’m not going to get anything out of it.”

“I look for someone who’s finishing around where I think I’m capable of being and will try to learn from someone like that. There are a handful of guys that I feel like I should be around and if I’m battling with them, then I’m doing good. I had three or four dudes that are really, really good and I feel like if I’m riding my best, I can and should be battling with them.”

“In those first 450 Class races, if there was something on the track I wasn’t comfortable doing, I wasn’t going to do it. I think I’ve learned that over the years, because I feel like I’ve always been the first one to do jumps or rhythms on race day and sometimes it bites me. But then again, if someone does it, I know I can do it. Stay in your lane if I don’t feel comfortable doing something, but try to figure out the fastest way going through that section without taking the risk.”

“Sometimes, when there’s something everyone’s doing, obviously you got to buck up and do it. But if you can go through the section just as fast and are comfortable doing it for however long the race is, then that’s what you need to do.”

“The absolute worst thing you could do in this sport is wreck your confidence. If you can keep your spirits up, keep the mood light, and enjoy it, then everything goes great. Me, for instance, for Daytona, I think I had four or five goals throughout the day, and I think I achieved all of them but one, and it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I was stoked with the day and I felt my goals would get a little bit higher for the next race.”

“Knowing you left it all on the track, seeing things you need to work on during the next week, leading into the next race to, is a successful race day. Eventually, you will try get to the top and be the best, but I think staying in your means and being realistic with your goals is key.”

Michael Antonovich

Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.

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