Photos by: Doc Weedon
I caught up with the ageless Motoconcepts / Honda rider Justin Brayton after the San Diego Supercross. As a veteran of the sport his opinions matter. It’s pretty cool that Justin still takes the time to do every interview after a long night, even when his race didn’t go as well as he wanted.
Justin’s race may not have gone how he wanted, but on a bad night he still leaves San Diego with a 6th place finish, and is tied for 5th in the 450SX Championship with Blake Baggett. If you told anyone that at 34 years-old a bad night for them would be a 6th place finish against the best riders on earth, I think they would all take it.
After the points were tallied in San Diego, we caught up with the #10 to talk whoops, starts, Tony Berlutti and a little about the madness that took place last Saturday night.
Justin, how was your night tonight overall? What did you think of the track?
Overall, it was okay. The end results with a 6th was okay. I’m a little disappointed with my night and my starts. I just didn’t put myself in a good position and didn’t execute from the beginning of the race which is a little bit frustrating. I felt like I could have been on the podium tonight with my speed. Overall, yeah, I’m happy with it. I’m still toed for 5th in the points. On a bad night, I’ll take a 6th.
With all the block passing going on in the main, it was basically rollerball. Did you get caught up in any of that tonight?
I never really did, no. I was just out of that. The track really lended itself to that. To pass you had to do that. There really wasn’t anywhere you could make up time. The whoops got fairly simple towards the main event so you couldn’t really set up anyone there unless you were considerably faster. To make a pass you had to really, really slam someone, but I never got into that.
It’s funny how you say the whoops got simple, where a lot of the guys I talked to said they got chewed up and were harder.
They did get chewed up for sure, but I thought down the middle right side they got to where they were—I don’t want to say easy—fairly simple to get through. If you went anywhere else they were definitely chewed up and nasty to where down the left side wasn’t great. You couldn’t really set anyone up to pass there unless, like I said, you got a really good run through them. Overall, I’m okay with the night, but I just need to work on my starts. I’m not sure where they went. They were there the first four rounds, but I lost them. (laughs)
When that happens with your starts and you can’t really put a finger on it, is it almost like hitting a golf ball and shanking it? Where you really don’t know if it’s momentum, a mind set or is it something on the bike?
No, it’s just the three or four bad starts in a row. Whether it’s a couple that I got a bad jump or a couple where I had a bad gate, it’s really starts from qualifying well in practice which I did today. I had a great gate in my heat race, and I just didn’t execute the start. If you execute well in your heat race, you get a good gate pick in the main, so it all starts to snowball. I got 5th in the heat, so I had 9th pick for the main and I just was not in a very good gate. I’m going to keep working on it, put ourselves in better positions and I feel like I have the speed to be on the box. I just have to execute more.
I saw a new obstacle on the track I’ve never seen before: a dragon camel back like thing. What did you think of it and is that something you would like to see more of?
I thought it was okay. I wished the outside would have come into play more, because everyone was just drifting around the inside. There was a couple of different ways you could go through it, but yeah, I thought it was cool. I would like to see it more.
How about that split turn option section; did you like that? Usually when they do something like that, one line is faster and nobody ever goes to the other option, but it looked like it worked pretty well tonight.
It did kind of work. Especially in the heat race, it really worked. Then, in the main event, I think they did a good job with that. It was pretty even.
I’m a Las Vegas guy, so I know Tony Berlutti. How is it going with Berlutti as your mechanic so far?
Berlutti is awesome! Super great guy. Awesome mechanic. Just all around good dude. Super intense, which I like. He wants to do well, just like I do. Fun to be around. I’m happy to have him as my mechanic, for sure.
When you say intense, is he coming around yelling?
No, he’s not yelling at all. Like tonight with bad starts, he’s like, “Man, we gotta figure it out.” He’ll do anything to get it figured out, ’cause he knows how close we are to doing well or even winning a race. I love that intensity. That’s how I am too. I take it very serious and want to do the best we can and work hard to do that. He’s the same way; no stone is unturned. I like that about him.