Joey Arico’s family history with motorcycle racing, dates back many years ago. His father, a professional road racer in his own right, helped groom the young man to venture into this sport. However, as well know, the initial push of an outsider can only propel an athlete so far, as they must then take reign for themselves. Joey has done that, and then some. Working diligently everyday, he’s approached each aspect of this game with the utmost dedication, and it’s beginning to pay off. This is a lifestyle for both he, and his team, being reflected in both their presence as a unit at the track, and his results on the final scoreboard. Very intrigued by his story, we were very excited to be granted an opportunity to hear what Mr. Arico had to say. Without further ado, Joey Arico.
Take us back to when it all started Joey; why motocross, and not other sports?
My dad was a road racer and even road raced professionally for a while. Growing up, we used to go to all the tracks with him to watch races. When my parents got me a PW for my 3rd birthday, I was hooked. I tried other sports but didn't love any of them like I loved motocross.
Do you have any distinct memories from early on in your career? First win? First big crash?
My first full year of racing I won the overall local championship and was determined to get to Loretta Lynn's in the future. I spent the next year training to try and make it. Unfortunately I had some injuries along the way. I could probably fill a notebook of all the crashes over the years but my first big crash was at our local practice track. I crashed landing a double and the 2 big bikes behind me didn't see me down. A 125 and a 450 used my humorous as a breaking bump and it didn't end well.
Can you describe to us the impact the legendary Nicky Hayden had on your racing career?
My dad used to race with the Hayden brothers and was always a big fan of Nicky. My family always followed his career from the time I was born. I remember my mom waking us up to watch the races overseas when they were broadcast here in the early morning. My little sister is even named "Hayden" after Nicky Hayden. I think Nicky Hayden was loved by everyone because of how humble, funny and talented he was. Nicky represented motorcycle racing and the USA better than anyone else.
Being from New York, are there any professionals from the area you look up to on the motocross circuit?
There's a local track in NY that makes an announcement every time we get to our gate that Justin Barcia used to line up on that same gate. As a little kid I always thought about that. I've also known Justin Cooper and watched him ride and race since I was 6 years old. My dad always told me to watch him because he was going to be pro someday and this year that happened. It's pretty cool that I got to watch him from the time he was my age now and see how far he's come in his racing career. I definitely look up to Justin now more than ever. Over the years I've had some pretty amazing trainers and got to work with them and learn so much. They're not from NY but I would say that they're the people I look up to the most.
You travel all over the country to compete and chase your dreams, and it’s apparent you have a strong support system around; who all is in your crew or team to get you to the races?
My mom, dad, sisters and brother are at every race since I started racing. My grandparents come to the big races with us; they even flew to France when I raced there. This year I had a mechanic and he lived with us and traveled with us to train and race all year. I'm lucky to have a really good (and big) support system with me all the time.
With regionals being such a crucial time period, how relieved were you once you had your tickets punched this year?
This year was a little different then other years. I was determined to get into Loretta's with 2 classes this year. I was so relieved to punch that first ticket at the Northeast qualifier but I had some bad luck in my other class that sent us to the North central qualifier. Talk about relieved... that would have been the longest ride home EVER if I didn't get that 2nd ticket punched. I think I smiled for 20 hours straight on the way home.
Did you stay in New York to train this year, prior to the big dance? Or were you doing your training elsewhere?
About 2 months before Loretta's they closed down the only mx track we had left on Long Island. My dad was driving me to NJ and CT some weekends just to get some seat time in. On the way to Loretta's we stopped and trained a bit in NC but this year was definitely harder than others to train. From the regional until Loretta's, I was only able to train on the bike for 6 days.
Take us through this year at Loretta Lynn’s; how were your moto performances, and what can you take away from the event to build on?
I had bike problems from start to finish at Loretta's this year. In the first moto on my 65 I had a bad start that I wasn't able to do too much with. In the first moto on my 85 I got a flat tire and just did the best I could to finish. My second moto's were ok. They weren't what I wanted and I know I could have done better but I left with a 16th and I think 19th. In my 3rd motos, in both classes, my bike shut off right out of the gate and basically at the exact same spot.. My dad was in the mechanics area and was able to get the 85 going again but I was already so far behind. I ran the last 2 laps just so I didn't have a DNF. We later found out that the stator blew on the 65 and we had a bad spark plug on the 85. This was my 4th year at the ranch and every year is different and similar in some ways. I need to concentrate more on physical training because those 20 minutes can feel like a lifetime, especially with the track conditions at Loretta's. Training gets a little more intense every year and this year won't be any different
What other nationals do you plan to hit for the rest of 2017?
I think I’m going to race at Ponca and we'll end the year with Mini O's
For 2018, what are your plans?
I'll continue training on and off the bike. We'll do as many nationals as we can and area and regionals too.
How do you get away from the stresses of racing? Do you have any other hobbies you take part in in your down time?
We live on Long Island so we spend a lot of time at the beach. I have a pit bike track in my backyard so my friends and I ride our pit bikes and bmx bikes all the time.
Any sponsor’s you’d like to thank?
Alias MX, Sandbox Kings, 6D Helmets, Corey Allen Films, Motocross Vest, Atlas, PR2 Suspension, Dunlop, Ride 100%, Illusive Gloves, Twin Air, Ryno Power, Motol and Edgar at Town and Country,
DAILY BREAD BY / LOGAN MATTINGLY
IMAGES BY / JESS TEN HAGEN
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