Anyone that has followed motocross since the late 80’s and early 90’s is familiar with the name Vohland; Tallon and his brother Tyson were both successful professionals with multiple supercross and motocross victories to their name. Flash forward a couple of decades and the next generation of Vohland has arrived on the motocross scene -- fourteen year old Maximus Vohland. The young Californian has always shown promise on two wheels as he was an accomplished BMX racer in his younger days, accumulating five national championship wins over the course of a couple years. At the ripe age of six years old, he hopped on a dirt bike and soon enough he began winning championships on that, too. Recently, the Orange Brigade KTM rider competed at the JS7 Freestone Spring National Championship where he won a title in the Mini Sr. 2 class -- not only did he win a title, he didn’t finish off the podium in any of the races that he contested. We caught up with Max to chat about his week down in Texas, racing BMX as a youngster, and his ultimate cheat food.
You had an awesome week out at Freestone for the JS7 Spring Championship, are you happy with the way things went down in Texas?
Yeah, I’m really happy with how Freestone went. It was a great week there; I got a first, second, and third. I couldn’t do anything better than what I wanted to at that race, and I’m just gettin’ ready for the Cal Classic this weekend. Hopefully I’ll do the same there or even better!
The track conditions were a bit all over the place throughout the week at Freestone — did you change a lot with the bike throughout the week or just run the same setting and ride through it?
Uhh, we don’t change the bike that much during the week. It was definitely different everyday with the track conditions, as you said, with the rain -- but I don’t think we really changed anything with the bike. We just kept it the same and rode the track how it was for us.
You’ve definitely got one of the coolest styles to watch of anyone on mini bikes right now. You’re really loose on the bike and seem to be really fluent with your scrubs and all that — is that something that you’re aware of when you’re riding or is that just part of going fast?
I’m not sure if I’m very aware of it, but it just kind of happened when I started riding higher level 65s; I just started scrubbing. I didn’t even really realize it. I think it’s just part of my style when I go fast, I just automatically scrub.
Do you think that kind of goes back to your BMX background and how much has that helped you with your MX career?
I think it helped a lot. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at if I didn’t do BMX racing when I was little. Definitely, the style that I have on my dirt bike is from my BMX bike when I was doin’ that. It helps pumpin’ over jumps and makin’ sure you’re clearing everything perfectly, and all that good stuff.
How old were you when you made the transition from BMX to MX? You were a pretty successful BMX racer, so how was the transition for you?
Yeah, I won five nationals in BMX. I’m positive I was six, almost turning seven -- when I turned seven we got me a dirt bike and I started riding. It felt pretty natural; I don’t think it was too hard of a transition. Havin’ my dad around really helped a lot with makin’ that transition from BMX to MX, but it’s pretty much the same except instead of a set of pedals, you have a throttle.
Did your dad steer you in the direction of BMX when you were younger to prepare for MX or is that something that you were interested in yourself?
Well, the first thing we did was get me a dirt bike -- we were out ridin’ and I held it wide open over a jump and flew off the track, so my dad said “That’s it for dirt bikes, we’re gonna do BMX for now,” and that’s how BMX started. He took me to a BMX track to check it out and there happened to be a benefit race, so we did it and I won. That was it -- we started racing BMX. He later told me that he wanted me to understand how racing worked before we got another bike, so we did BMX for two and a half years, and then I got a Cobra in 2010.
What’s the family dynamic like with your dad and your uncle while you’re training? Do they both make a big contribution to your program on and off the bike?
Yeah, definitely. As I said, without my dad or my uncle I would definitely not be at the skill level or the pace that I’m at now on my dirt bike. They’re a huge, huge thing with my program and my riding.
What’s a day in the life like for you on one of your training days?
Wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to the gym, and go to the track. One thing that we do -- we’ve got this hill that is super steep, we call it ‘Hell Hill’, and we do sprints up that thing. It’s so gnarly, that’s one of the daily trainings that we do. We go riding, come home, and then I’ll probably ride my bicycle or my electric bike.
I saw a video on your instagram of you playing around in your backyard on an electric bike and it seems like you’ve got some pretty decent trials skills. Is that something you’ve ever done or would be interested in doing?
Yeah, I love trials riding; it’s really fun and I’ve always been interested in endurocross and stuff like that. It’s all super fun and I really recommend it.
Last year at the Kurt Caselli Ride Day, you had the opportunity to team up with Kaliub Russell in the team race. Could you talk a little bit about that experience and just that event in general?
Yeah, that was a really fun experience. Kaliub obviously didn’t have anyone else to go with ‘cause you can’t go with another pro, so he decided to pick me. It was a heck of an awesome experience! I think we got third, I’m pretty sure we got third -- but that was a fun event to do that at the Kurt Caselli Ride Day.
I’d assume your diet is a pretty important part of your program, but what’s one guilty pleasure that you go for if you do really well at a race and have the chance to cheat on your diet a little bit?
Definitely a Twix bar...or some ice cream.
Everything just wrapped up a couple days ago at the Orange Brigade camp out in California. Talk a little bit about your experience there and what you guys did over the last couple days.
Yeah, Monday we were at Deegan’s house and (Nathan) Ramsey and Buddy (Antunez) were out there; they’re great trainers. Deegan’s house is pretty much just send it everywhere -- there’s straight walls everywhere, but it gives you some good airtime for throwing some whips. Yesterday out at Glen Helen was really fun. It’s always a nice track to ride on and they groomed it really good for us, and can’t forget the media training with Weigandt, that helps out alot. Without that Orange Brigade camp -- like they have it back east later in the year -- it really helps out getting used to the humidity and stuff, and also the east coast guys get to come here to California and get ready for the Cal Classic comin’ up.
So, you just wrapped up with practice at the California Classic today and racing starts tomorrow. How’d everything go today and how’re you feeling heading into the weekend?
Mentally and physically -- probably the best I’ve been prepared for a race. Practice went amazing today, I was definitely one of the fastest or the fastest out on the track. The track’s shapin’ up and there’s gonna be some good racing this weekend.
What’re your plans for the rest of the season after the Cal Classic finishes up?
After Cal Classic we’ll go home, we’ve got a Red Bull camp we’re doin’, and just focus on training and ridin’ a lot. Then we’ve got JuniorMotoX in May, then Mammoth, and then Loretta’s -- so that’s our schedule. After Loretta’s we’re going straight to LA to practice SX and get ready for Monster Cup.
What’re your goals and expectations for yourself heading into Loretta’s this year? You showed some really good speed there last year, but had some bad luck hinder your overall results.
I’d be happy with obviously a first, but a second ain’t bad. I’m gonna focus on getting two wins there this year, that’s my optimal goal.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out this year?
KTM, Orange Brigade, Red Bull, Acerbis, Troy Lee Helmets, Dunlop, Scott, Nihilo Concepts, PRATO, JM Environmental
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
(Know someone that should be featured?)
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org