A Floridian transplant by migration, Brock Papi has been trekking all across the United States this year, in preparation to accomplish the goals he has set for himself. He’s willing to put in all prior work necessary, in order to make his childhood dreams a reality, and his results are true indication of that. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the well-mannered young man, checking out how 2017 has been, and his plan of attack from this point forward.
What brought you into the sport of motocross?
My dad grew up racing in Western Pennsylvania on tracks like Steel City and High Point Raceway. He had a true passion for motocross and I have to thank him for introducing me to the sport.
Any memories from your first experience on the bike, and your first race?
I remember when I started racing at age five on the PW50. If another rider would fall down, I would always stop to help them back on their bike. I remember it was all about having fun…
Any symbolism behind the number 14?
I just felt it was time for a change from my old number 144. New Year, New Team, New Number…Actually, I was tired of always getting last gate pick!! lol
Here recently you’ve changed brands, from Yamaha to Suzuki; are you adapting to the yellow machines well?
It’s funny about the Suzuki and there is such a misconception about this bike. I ride and race both the 250 and 450 RMZ’s; and I have to tell, the bikes corner like no other and the low to midrange power band makes these bikes easy to ride with very controllable power. I really like the bikes. The bikes are competitive out of the box. However, there is plenty of room for the motor builders to work their magic and make the bikes even better.
It looks as though you headed out West to begin the year; why the trip to California, and did you enjoy it?
Yes, I love to spend time in California training. And the new Suzuki BarX team is based out of Murrieta,CA. Therefore, I will be training out there throughout the year.
You rode very consistent at the California Classic; were you happy with your results?
Yes, I’m very happy and my hard work in the off-season paid off. It was my first time to ride the Suzuki 250 RMZ race bike and I immediately felt at home on the bike. Larry Brooks and Jamie Ellis from Twisted Development had that bike dialed in. I went out in 250B and won moto one, and finished 2nd overall in the class of 42 riders. I also won the Open B on the RMZ 450. I really like Pala and the dirt there is awesome. I like the 2X Promotions event because of the three-moto format, the class structure and its only 4 days long.
Making the trip to Oklahoma, were you comfortable indoors for the Junior Moto X event? Pleased with your finishes?
Yes, very comfortable! I grew up riding indoors in Pennsylvania and Ohio. I consider myself an indoor specialist and I know when the time comes to race Arenacross, I will be on top of my game. I was able to win the Schoolboy 2 class at the Junior MX after pulling the holeshot and leading the first lap, but they red flagged the race due to someone jumping the gate. I wasn’t as fortunate on the second gate drop and I had to come from way back in the field and needed to make several passes before putting my Barx Suzuki out front of Carter Halpain and winning the main event. 250 B didn’t go so well, as I was passing into second on lap three, I lost the front end coming out of a corner and had to hit the eject button. I was only able to come back to fifth after the crash. The Junior MX is a great venue and well worth attending.
What are your Goals/Plans for the rest of the year?
The goal is to WIN! We will be in California at the end of May and though the month of June for a Suzuki team photo shoot and Loretta Lynn’s regionals, along with training and of course racing Mammoth. From there we will train in Florida and possibly SOBMX preparing for the Loretta Lynn’s Championship. If things go well at the ranch, I would like to move to the “A” class and prepare for Monster Cup and the 2018 Arenacross series.
The physicality of motocross becomes more of a factor, the further you go into your career. What type of training do you prefer off the bike?
Motocross is the most physically demanding sport in the world and if you think you’re going to get by without serious physical and mental training… Forget It! My family and I relocated to Clermont, Florida where I can train all year around both on and off the bike. Gary Semics along with Ross Muinzer have put programs together for me focusing on both building strength as well as stamina. I also throw in other activities such as swimming and jet skiing, just to mix it up. Lastly, when they are in town, I enjoy road biking with Dean Wilson and Justin Starling.
The Florida scene is buzzing with top professionals and excellent tracks; if you had to choose one local spot to ride, where would it be?
Blake Baggett has an awesome place (Elchupacabra Ranch), although he is not open to the public it’s my favorite place to train. I also like Skytop and when David Kilgore is in town, he has that track in prime shape for Loretta Lynn’s training. If I want to get out of the sand, I always train at Wildwood MX or Tampa MX.
You seem to be knowledgeable about football, reading the book by Tim Tebow and posting about Big Ben. How long have you enjoyed football? Why the Steelers?
My dad grew up a Pittsburgh Steeler fan and being from the Steel City you are born a Steeler fan or the locals there will throw you right out of town! Tim Tebow is not only a great athlete, I believe he is an inspiration for all ages and is one of the good guys with a great purpose. His book is well worth reading. Big Ben along with Antonio Brown are my favorite players and in my opinion two of the best player to play the game.
What do you to take your mind off of racing? Do you have many other interests when you’re not on the bike?
Well, moto consumes 95% of my life and I love to live it! I also enjoy hanging out with my mom Cindee and my sister Rhea especially when I visit her at the University Of Florida. Also, spending time with my girlfriend Kenzie. My other hobbies are Road Biking, Jet Skiing, Snow Boarding and driving my Mini Cooper.
Any sponsor’s you’d like to thank?
Thank you Motoplaygroud for all you do with amateur racing and providing me with this interview. I would also like to thank my mom, dad, sister and entire family for supporting me each and every day. Special thanks to the Barbieri and Short family for starting the Barx team and signing me to be the Elite 250 & 450 B rider and Larry Brooks for being one hell of a team manager and mentor. Also, American Suzuki, Fly Racing, Chaparral Motorsports, FMF, Monster Army, Race Tech, Dunlop, 100% and John Kuzo, Sidi Boots, EVS, WPS, Acerbis, Twisted Development, Works Connection, Motion Pro, Hinson, Moto Seat, 31 Thirty Designs, DT1 Filters, MIKA Metals, Renn Fuel, Rad MX, Chris Wheeler, Gary Semics, Ross Munizer, Mad Mike Jones, Two Fast Racing, Renthal, Sunstar, Braking, Vertex.
DAILY BREAD BY / LOGAN MATTINGLY
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Images: TenHagen / Paradise