MPG / DAILY BREAD / FEBRUARY 17, 2017
Lorenzo Locurcio has come a long way to make his first Monster Energy Supercross appearance this weekend in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes at the newly constructed U.S Bank Stadium. The CycleTrader Rock River Yamaha rider will be making his professional debut for the team, but they will not be strangers to one another as he’s one of the very first riders to come up through their amateur program. Locurcio first came to the United States from his home country of Venezuela back in 2008, doing so as a four-time Venezuelan National Champion -- he has been racing here ever since and decided to make the switch to North America full time in 2011, choosing Millsaps Training Facility as his homebase. Under the guidance of Colleen Millsaps, Brian Johnson, and the rest of the crew, the Venezuelan native has had an extremely successful amateur career, culminating in 2014 with a title at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. Locurcio has had some misfortune with injuries throughout the last couple years, but he is fully recuperated and eager to make a name for himself on the big stage when the gate drops this Saturday night in Minnesota. We caught up with Lorenzo heading into the weekend to chat about what it was like making the move to the U.S full time, getting tangled with Mitchell Falk on the start straight at Monster Cup, and how he’s feeling heading into the big weekend.
So, you’re making your Monster Energy SX debut this weekend in Minnesota for the opening round of the East series, how pumped are you to finally be on the big stage?
Yeah, for sure. It’s a dream come true finally comin’ into this weekend, it felt like it was so far away and now it’s here. So, the past couple weeks flew by and I’m really excited! I’m already looking forward to the track walk, working with the team, all that stuff...I’m really excited for it!
You’ve been backed by CycleTrader Rock River for a while now, what’s it like to come through the amateur ranks with the team and finally get to make your pro debut with them as well?
Yeah, it’s awesome! Two years ago around Mini-O’s, Christina and Mike came to me and talked about doing an amateur year and then if it went well, go pro and stuff. So, it’s been really nice to see the program develop and I’m proud to be the first amateur guy they had to actually come through the ranks and stuff. It’s been nice, they’ve been great to me. The bike’s awesome and everyone’s working like a family, so no complaints at all.
Do you have any goals/expectations for yourself heading into the first round or do you plan on just sort of taking it one round at a time and settling into the series?
Yeah, I just plan to take it day-by-day -- of course make the main and then we’ll go from there. I don’t wanna set goals for myself; I just wanna learn, stay healthy the whole season, learn each weekend, and progress as we go.
You’ve been training down at Millsaps Traning Facility for a while now, how exactly did you get hooked up with them moving here from Venezuela?
I started coming here for the big nationals; I would come here like a week before and stuff. I met this guy at the races -- he was from Venezuela too -- he was training here (MTF) at the time and then he decided to invite me for a week or so, and I got to meet the people that train here. Colleen let me come, y’know, for weeks and sometimes for months at a time. In 2011, we finally decided to come and move to the U.S full time and then this is where I’ve been since then.
So, it wasn’t just you that made the move but your whole family as well?
Yeah, my Mom and Sister made the move with me here since then and my Dad goes back and forth, y’know, he still has the business at home -- he still needed to work to support me here, so...he would come before the big nationals and then he would go home to work. He actually just flew in like three or four days ago, he’s gonna be here for a few rounds and then he’s gonna go back. He’s still going back and forth.
How often do you get to travel back down to your home country?
I used to go a lot before -- I used to go like every two or three months down there. As I got serious and I started picking up speed and all that, I decided not to go as often. I usually went two or three times a year, but the past three years I’ve only been there for Christmas. This year I only went for eight days and then came right back.
You’ve been putting in motos down there with lots of guys that have proven their speed year in and year out on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, how important is it for you making your debut to get to put in laps with those guys?
Yeah, it’s awesome training with them. I’ve been, y’know….with A-Rod, Jordan, and Dakota Alix since I was an amateur and since they were in amateurs, too. Moving up with them and seeing their success, and then seeing their positions and stuff has been nice -- just to be with them and learn as much as I can. The past few weeks since Justin (Barcia) got back from injury, he’s been training with us and it’s been awesome. We’ve been at the ‘Bam Land’ and he’s been training with us at MTF, so it’s nice to switch it up and see him riding, picking up stuff that he’s doing that I could be better at. It’s just been nice.
What’s a typical day in the life been like for you down there the past couple weeks getting prepped for SX?
Just pretty much wake up at around 6:30 or 7:00am and head to the gym; warm up, stretch, and then either ride at Justin’s or we ride here. We do our motos, sprints, whatever Bryan Johnson tells us to do. Then we get done and do our physical training, come back to the trailer and rest up -- either hang out with some friends, go to dinner, just chill or whatever.
You ended your amateur career with the Monster Energy Cup last October, you had a bit of misfortune but you managed fifth in the first race and came back from the back of the pack to eighth in the second race. How’d the weekend go for you in Vegas?
Yeah, my last amateur year wasn’t really as I wanted it. I got hurt really badly before Daytona, so from then all the way until regionals I didn’t touch a dirt bike. I would just ride to make it at the areas and then rode regionals and stuff. From then I wasn’t really the same all the way up until now pretty much...and then I was lacking in confidence a little bit, I was just riding scared I guess. Monster Cup was okay. I rode really good coming up to it, but I started getting confident and stuff and then Thursday -- I was actually flying out Thursday night and I decided to ride in the morning, so I had a digger and I bruised a couple ribs, lungs, and stuff. I got a little hurt there, but no excuses. I rode good...I mean, it was just mistakes and starts. That was unfortunate that I came together with Mitchell, but I made a good charge back and literally just relaxed in that last moto, and it ended up really good for where I was.
How gnarly was the elevated start and how intense was it getting tangled up with Falk at the beginning of the second moto? There was some insane opening laps in the Amateur All-Star class.
Yeah, I mean...it was a bit crazy. The kids were definitely sending it more than they should’ve. As you could tell, both motos there was carnage in the first rhythm or start or whatever. It was hectic for sure; you were comin’ down so fast. I actually was just concentrated on finally getting a good start so I could show my speed and stuff -- I got a decent jump, McAdoo had like a bike on me or something, so I guess Mitchell clipped someone and then made a hard right, and then next thing I know he’s holding on by my front number plate and just flyin’ out of there. It was pretty crazy; I was fourth, fifth gear wide open and next thing I know I gotta hook a right not to crash. Luckily, I didn’t crash and I just had to go almost by the podium and the Tacoma to turn around. It was crazy! I can’t really explain what I felt then, I was just glad I didn’t crash.
Was it beneficial to have Tommy Hahn there at the race helping you out with the bike and getting dialed in for the racing?
Yeah, for sure! Tommy...he’s a great guy, I love the guy. He’s helped me a lot in the short amount of time that I’ve known him. He was just really helpful -- mostly with bike set up, I don’t really have a lot of experience with it. It was nice to have the rig there ‘cause we had videos and all that of my practices and we figured out a lot on my bike set up and stuff; he helped me through it all. He also calmed me a lot, I was kinda freakin’ out a little bit ‘cause I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing or what I wanted to do, so he just pretty much calmed me and told me everything was gonna be good. And then he helped me a lot with bike set up to make me feel comfortable, so it was really nice to have him there. He knew what he was saying and I could trust him, it was good.
So, now that we’re only a couple days away from your first race on the big stage — reflecting on your amateur career, what would you say has been the highlight now that it’s over?
Yeah, for sure. Definitely Loretta Lynn’s 2014 -- I actually won my first title there, my only title, and I got second in the B classes. So that was good, especially because I had bad luck before the nationals and stuff, always getting hurt. Actually before then I got hurt, I broke my scapula, so I had to race like that and winning a title and getting second was pretty cool. I wish I could have done better in the 250 B Mod, but it is what it is and I made the best of it.
What’s your go to snack in between motos?
Uhhh, I’m usually like a really weird snack eater. I can eat a banana, an apple, I can go to like a protein bar -- that’s normally my go-to. If not then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just depending on what I feel like.
What’s your favorite track that you’ve ever ridden?
Uhhhh, it’s kinda hard to say...I’ve ridden so many good tracks that it’s kinda hard to pick. Definitely the one that kinda sticks out and that I like the most is probably Freestone. Mostly because it gets really rough and the flow type of deal; it’s just fun, it’s fast, and at the same time it’s technical.
Are there any tracks back in Venezuela that you really liked riding when you raced nationals there?
Yeah, for sure. I rode the championship for like six, seven years or so and I was actually able to win five championships along the way. So it’s good, but the tracks there are so much different; they’re like hard packed, rocky, dusty -- they don’t really prep it as well as they do here in the States, so there’s no ruts or anything type of deal.
Was that a big adjustment coming over to the States and racing the different tracks?
Oh yeah, the first year I was freakin’ out ‘cause I didn’t even know that ruts existed, haha! It was kinda crazy. We don’t have any doubles, triples, rollers, or whoops kinda deal so it was kind of a big eye opener. That’s why we made the decision that this is where we wanted to go and it worked out!
Who would you like to thank for helping you out this year?
CycleTrader Rock River Yamaha , GPI , Enzo Racing, Dunlop , Mika Metals , Cycra , Works Connection , Yamalube , DT1, Guts Racing , FMF , Xtrig, Moto Stuff , Excel ,CV4 , Dubya , ARC , Roost MX , GYTR , EVS , Racetech Titanium , Bucca di Beppo , Bell Helmets , Thor Racing , Alpinestars , Oakley
/ Words / Lake Kilpatrick
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