Photo by: Chase Yocom
These “Privateer Showcase” interviews presented by Race Tech Suspension at MotoXAddicts tell the stories of the guys in the trenches week in and week out trying to chase their dream of racing professional motocross and Supercross. While the riders at the front of the pack get the money, the T.V. time and the glory that goes with it, there’s a huge pack of guys just hoping to get a spot inside a factory semi. We tell their stories.
TiLube / Rockford Fosgate / Honda’s Chris Blose is one of those veterans that just loves racing his dirt bike and when he does he can compete at the highest level of whatever discipline he is being paid to compete in. Whether it’s AMSOIL Arenacross, Monster Energy Supercross or some offseason overseas race, the guy will show up and have the speed to run with some of the factory boys no matter what bike he has underneath him.
Chris is currently contesting the AMSOIL Arenacross series once again in 2018 and is in a hunt for his first-ever title, but with the series on a month break, he and the TiLube team decided to jump into a few of the Eastern Regional 250SX races in Monster Energy Supercross. In Tampa, Chris finished 10th in his heat race and had to get into the main through a win in the LCQ. In the main, he started at the back and finished 16th, but he made some adjustments after Tampa and came into Atlanta much more prepared for SX.
In Atlanta, Chris brought his top ten speed and easily qualified for the “Triple Crown” main events with the 7th fastest lap time—faster than 8 factory-backed bikes. In the first two main events, the #111 hit the ground in both and went 22-19 to start the night, but he fired back in the third main event with a top ten finish. In the end, his 22-19-10 scorecard only netted him 18th overall, but when he kept the rubber side down, he looked comfy inside the top 10.
After the Altanta SX, we gave Chris a call to talk about his two supercrosses and his 2018 AMSOIL Arenacross Championship campaign.
Chris, you’re already back home to Arizona, so those [Tampa SX and Atlanta SX] must be the only two Supercrosses you’re doing while Arenacross is on break?
I was going to do Daytona, but our series starts back up the next weekend. I have to finalize a couple of things so it was best for me to sit out Daytona and focus on getting my stuff done.
Did you feel like you accomplished what you wanted to in the two SX’s you did do? I know you’re wanting to make another run at SX in the 250SX class, and with your 7th in qualifying and your top ten in one of the mains in Atlanta, you definitely showed you have the speed.
Yes and no. The main goal for the whole team was to race SX on our off weekends because we had literally a month off. We went to have fun and do good, but at the same time, in the back of our minds, we had to keep AX as the main focus. I wouldn’t normally take risks like that. I have to keep AX in mind, but yeah, it was good. I wish the “Triple Crown” was better. I felt like I could have been top ten overall, but it is what it is. Racing’s racing. Unfortunately I went down in the first two main events, but I had a solid third main event.
I know FELD is trying a lot of different things in AX like the chase format that they eventually want to perfect and move to SX, but they’ve never done a “Triple Crown” format. What did you think of it?
I thought it was good. With AX, we have two main events and they’re back to back. We probably have 15-minutes between our mains. It was a familiar race schedule that we’re used to, but I liked it. I can see why people don’t like it, though. I mean, it’s three main events; you have to be solid in all three. At the same time, it gives people like Justin Brayton the opportunity to go out and win a main event, which he did. That’s awesome. It has it’s pros and cons for sure.
How did you like the Atlanta track in the new stadium? It seemed rockier than normal, but I was told it was the same dirt?
Last year we raced AX on Friday night in Atlanta, and the dirt was quite a bit different than it was in previous years. It was pretty rutted and soft in spots but rocky and hard packed in other spots. You kind of had every dirt condition besides sand. The track was good for racing because it had multiple lines in rhythm sections for passes and separated poeple. I really liked it.
What was the deal with the “Triple of Death,” that triple out of the right turn was sending everyone to the hospital? It seemed like everyone was hitting that tough block and ejecting off of it.
It was crazy! Triples are the easiest part of the track, I think. There were so many crashes with [Weston] Peick, Dylan Ferrandis, and I know more but I can’t think of it right now.
I know there were four or five. Didn’t Justin Hill crash there too? No, that was the rhythm section. I think that French kid Yannis Irsuti got hurt bad off of it too.
Yeah, Hill was in the rhythm section after the start, but there was definitely a lot of people that crashed on that triple. It was just so weird ’cause it’s just a SX triple, but everyone is trying to go as fast as they can and the lines drifted out into that tough block. It caught a lot of people. In the main obviously Ferrandis crashed there, and I think [Cameron] McAdoo crashed there as well. It was crazy, as the night went on, that people were going down and imploding themselves.
Seems like at some point the track workers or whoever might just be like, “We should probably move the tough block maybe 4-inches to the left,” no? Maybe just a little? (laughs)
Yeah, why would they do that? That’s common sense. (laughs)
The 250SX East is super deep this year, and you were 7th fastest—ahead of some big named factory boy. Did that surprise you at all or was that about where you thought you would be?
I don’t think I surprised myself. I know my ability and what I’m capable of. I haven’t raced an SX since 2014, unless you want to count Monster Cup. With AX, our motos are a short six or seven minutes and that main event in Tampa was the first time I’ve done a 15-minute plus moto since 2014. Tampa was an eye opener. With Atlanta, I made some changes with myself. In AX everything is so short and tight, and when I got to Tampa everything felt much longer. I found myself shutting off early and not carrying enough speed.
Let’s talk AX before I let you go. Right now, you’re third in the AMSOIL AX Championship, just five points behind Gavin Faith and 13 points behind Jacob Hayes. You’ve been that 3rd place guy on most night, but is it one of those things where you’re biding your time until they reset the points for the “Race to the Championship” or do the Kawasakis have you covered right now?
No, I don’t think they have me covered at all. We got our bikes two weeks before the season started, and with it being all new in ’18, there really hasn’t been much development or accessories for it. We’ve been playing catch up as the season goes on, and we still are playing catch up. I think next weekend in Denver it’s going to be a different story. The last two years it’s been close coming down to the wire. I believe I can win. Being third, I knew the points reset. I’m on the podium and inching closer each and every weekend to that first place guy. I feel like we’re there; I just need to get to that first turn first.
The ones I watched I noticed you’ve been struggling with starts. Is that something you and the team have been working on?
It has a lot to do with bike right now. I feel like I’m a good starter. AX, man, it’s all bottom end. You need a lot of torque and that’s one thing we’ve been working on a lot with this new bike. We seem to be getting it figured out. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and seeing how it unfolds.
Another SX regular moved over to AX and is on your team: Heath Harrison. How has he been as a teammate and are you helping him get acclimated to AX?
Heath, I love that guy. I met him in Germany two years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s been awesome. I feel like the guy is never pissed off or mad. He’s always laughing, having a good time and I’m like, “Man, I wish I could be like that.”
Ah Chris, you’re just bitter. (laughs)
If I don’t do good I’m so pissed off. (laughs) It’s been good. I love that guy.
Alright, thanks for doing this. Always fun to catch up with you. Good luck on that AX Championship. Go get it handled.
That’s the plan.