MPG / DAILY BREAD / MARCH 9, 2017
Andy Dinicol has got off to a flying start to the 2017 racing season by way of two overall victories at the Millcreek Spring Classic. The Australian born rider took the title in both 250 Pro Sport in 250 A in only his second major national since moving up to the A class. Dinicol also put in some impressive rides at the 45th iteration of the Thor Winter Olympics down at Gatorback Cycle Park where he overcame poor starts and unfortunate circumstances to snag fifth overall in the 250 Pro Sport class. He’s greeting the new year with a new approach in which he’s mainly focusing on having fun on the track and and not stressing about results off the track. Dinicol is a part of the Red Dog Academy, training under the tutelage of Tim Ferry down in Florida; this also provides him the opportunity to train with professionals such as Martin Davalos and Trey Canard on a regular basis -- something that has really been able to elevate his riding and the confidence that he in his program heading into the new year. We caught up with Andy to chat about his switch from Honda to Husqvarna, his stellar weekend at Millcreek, and making the journey from his home country of Australia to race in the United States.
You’re just coming off of an exceptional weekend at the Millcreek Spring Classic, tell everyone about how everything went down there for you down there.
Yeah, so it was a pretty solid weekend down in Alabama. It’s the second time I’ve been there; the first time was in 2012 and I didn’t have much success, but this time I came away with the 250 Pro Sport and 250 A win. So yeah, it was pretty solid and I rode fairly well, didn’t get the starts that I wanted all weekend, but I still came away with three holeshots, so it was good.
How’d the racing go down there for you considering this is your first year in the A class?
Y’know, racing is all pretty much the same. Umm, I think in the A class ‘cause everyone’s about the same speed, you’ve really gotta get your starts on point, y’know. You can’t really let the front runners get away from you; starts are key in the A class. I raced Mini-O’s and it was the same thing, I ended up gettin’ a fifth in 250 Pro Sport -- that was my best result, but starts are key.
Was that fifth place at Mini-O’s a big confidence booster knowing you can run with those guys coming into the new year?
Yeah, for sure. It’s definitely not everyone that’s gonna be at Loretta’s that was at Mini-O’s, but a fifth overall in Pro Sport in my first really big race in A was a big confidence booster. I had the speed all week, but my other races didn’t really show it. I didn’t have the best starts and the races that I did have good starts were the races that I did well in…but yeah, it’s a confidence booster for sure.
You’ve gotta be pretty happy with how things have gone since Loretta’s after not finishing where you’d have liked to at the Ranch.
I didn’t have the best luck at Loretta’s. I actually had strep throat coming into it, so I was on antibiotics and not really in that great of a place. But, I came into it and I think it was like the second race of 450 B, I actually went in and took fall, and knocked myself out pretty bad. So, I wasn’t able to get it finished and y’know, I would’ve liked to be a top five guy in the B class. But we changed bikes over to Husqvarna and got some new sponsors, and we’re tryin’ to do our own thing this year and make some changes, and I think it’s a good thing.
What do you like about the Husky and how has it been adapting to it?
I just think the Husky is a completely different bike, y’know. Nothing bad to say about the Honda -- it just wasn’t working as well for me. The new Husqvarnas have such new technology going into ‘em and have a completely different motor than the Honda. We spend a lot less and we get a lot more, y’know what I mean? So, financially it’s working a lot better and luckily I’ve got a couple sponsors helping me out -- North Star Pastoral, Colin Ross helps me out with bikes and parts and stuff back in Australia where I’m from. So, I’m really lucky to have someone helping me out and the bike’s a really great bike, I’ve got nothing bad to say about it at all.
So, obviously you’re feeling comfortable on the bike right now after the results you put in last weekend at Millcreek, how’s it been training with Tim Ferry in Florida over the offseason?
I actually went home for a month and spent some time with my family and friends over New Year’s and Christmas, and came back and just got onto my grind. Tim Ferry and the Ferry family help me out a bunch...I mean, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without their help. So, they’ve helped me out a tremendous amount and I can’t thank them enough for what they do for me.
It provides you with a cool opportunity to mix it up with some pros on a regular basis like Martin Davalos and Trey Canard, how much has that elevated your riding?
Those guys help me a lot. Y’know, when I first got on the Husqvarna, Martin helped me out with my suspension setup...just even riding with him, you learn so much from those guys -- their technique, the little things that they do. I’m training with Jordan Bailey at the moment; he was training at MTF and just came down. He’s kind of the benchmark at the moment in the A class. I think he’s gonna do really well in these upcoming nationals, but he’s the benchmark, y’know? You get to pretty much train with one of the best so that’s the goal. It’s great having all of those pros and great riders to train with everyday.
Has Davalos been able to help you out with starting technique on the Husky as well? He’s one of the most consistent starters around.
Yeah, it’s been everything honestly. If he’s behind me and he sees something that I’m doing wrong or if he thinks that something that I’m doing is not right then he’ll help me out -- with starts, corners, pretty much anything. Timmy helps me out, they help me out, and it’s a win-win, so I can’t complain at all.
Is there any particular thing you’ve been focusing on improving throughout the winter stepping up to the A class?
Well, last year I just focused on trying to get result after result, ride as fast as I can, and worry about who’s gonna be at the races. I think this year I took a different approach to the season; I pretty much just went out and thought “I ride the best when I have fun and ride the way I wanna ride.” I went into every race not really concerned on the result and more concerned with having fun and going out there and doing my thing, y’know? So far it’s really paid off and even since I’ve got off the Honda, that was my main goal -- going out and having fun, not really worrying about the results. I think we get caught up too much in the pressure of doing great things on a motorcycle and at the end of the day, you gotta remember that the way we started was having fun, and that’s what I’m tryin’ to do.
When did you start riding back home in Australia and what got you into the sport over there?
I think my Dad brought home a four-wheeler when I was like three or four, I used to just ride around the farm that we had and just have fun, y’know. My Dad bought my first race bike when I was eight -- Colin Ross actually got my first bike, so he’s been a longtime sponsor of me. I did my first race at a local event and loved it, rode for KTM for eight years after that, then rode for Honda for another two years after that. It just kinda steamrolled and we decided to venture over here and test it out. So, we did that and I actually raced Daytona in 2014 and I broke my back pretty bad. I had about two years off and just came back about last year for the start of the season, and that’s about it.
What inspired the move over to the U.S. to pursue your racing career and how old were you?
I think I was about sixteen when I made my first venture over to MTF. Colleen Millsaps went to a national and we decided we’d come over and some training, y’know. So, we did that and decided we’d train with them for a little bit and came over to Millsaps Training Facility -- we trained there for about two years off and on while racing in Australia still, and just decided to move all the way over and do my thing.
What was the experience like coming to the U.S. for the first time and training with all the fast amateurs at MTF?
I remember in Australia the 50 class isn’t really that competitive...I came over and Gage Linville was on a 50 at that stage and there was a double-double section, and one of the kids that was racing on my team wouldn’t do it ‘cause he thought it was too big. Gage Linville got out there on his 50 and did it and that thing was huge! I mean, you’ve got a kid from Australia who’s thinkin’ that he’s pretty quick and then you get Jordan Bailey, Jordon Smith, and Anthony Rodriguez who are about a couple years apart, and they’re just smokin’ you. It’s definitely a bit of a shock, ‘cause I remember the look on my teammates face when he saw little Gage Linville rippin’ this 50 over a like an eighty to one hundred foot jump. So, it’s definitely a lot different to Australia.
What was your first race like over here and how’d you feel lining up on the gate?
My first big race was actually at Gatorback in the C class, since I hadn’t raced over here I just wanted to gauge myself. I mean, I was a little bit nervous but I ended up going out and winning it. My biggest race was probably Mini-O’s and I raced the B class in 2013 or ‘14, and it was crazy -- Alexander Frye was on a KTM 125 with Orange Brigade and was just unbelievably fast on that thing. It’s so different to line up in Australia where you know you’re a top three guy -- I dunno what I am now, but I was -- compared to being a top ten guy over in the states, y’know.
How often do you get the chance to go back to Australia and visit your friends and family?
Unfortunately, I only get back there about once a year. I mean, it kinda sucks since I don’t get to see my parents a lot or my Grandparents barely ever, so when I get back there I try to make the most of it and see my family, because they’re pretty much the most important thing. I get to go back there and take full advantage of it, but I’d like to get back more since it’s only one time a year.
Do your parents make the trip over here often to help you out with stuff and go to some of the bigger races?
Umm, not really. I think my Dad’s only been over for Mini-O’s and Loretta’s, so twice a year and it’s only for about two weeks unfortunately. But, my Mom’s actually over here at the moment and she’s helping me anyway she can, cooks me food, and we got a pretty good photo up on the podium together at Millcreek. So, it’s great to my have my Mom over and she helps me out so much. When my Dad can’t then my Mom comes over as well, so they take turns with it pretty much.
Would you consider going back to Australia and racing some pro stuff there?
For the moment, America is definitely my goal. If I wanted to be in Australia then that’s where I’d be; it’d be a lot easier, I could see my family and stuff like that. Y’know, we’re gonna try and see America takes us and if I can get a ride then that’s even better. We’re gonna keep grinding and doing our thing over here and see where it takes us.
What’re your goals/expectations heading into the rest of the major nationals throughout the 2017 season?
I think I’d be really happy with being a top five guy all year. The A class is a pretty deep field, y’know, so if I can get a top five at Freestone I’d be really, really happy. Umm y’know, even for the rest of them, there’s gonna be a lot of guys at Loretta’s, so if I can be a top five guy that’d be a really big goal for me. I mean, it’s my first year in A class and we’re trying to see what we can do, so that’d definitely be great.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Tilube, Xtreme Power Sports, North Star Pastoral, TLR Performance, Fly Racing, 139 Designs, FMF, Factory Connection, Moto stuff, Top Line Seat Covers, CTR Truck Sales, Red Dog Academy. I'd also like to add Team Spinal Muscular Atrophy Charity - Smaaustralia.org.au - Please get behind and donate as it's a great charity.
/ Words / Lake Kilpatrick
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