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Privateer Profile: Vince Friese

By Brent Stallo

Vince Friese didn’t exactly move into his rookie season as the most highly touted newcomer on the gate. And, to be honest, he didn’t give critics much reason to think otherwise in his first few appearances. He decided to ride the bigger, but not necessarily more competitive, 450 class for the final three races of the outdoor season and had one heck of a time adjusting. After watching his bike catch fire at Spring Creek and seeing him hit the eject button into the crowd at Southwick, the name Vince Friese was quickly becoming a distant memory. Fast forward to A1 and Friese once again decided to line the gate in the MX class. After failing to make the main throughout the first three rounds, he showed up in Houston prepared to make his assault on the Lites class. And that, my friends, has changed everything. While he wasn’t able to make good on a great Heat race performance and an even better start to the main, he quietly proved that we may not want to forget the name Vince Friese just yet.

Racer X: You had one of the most insane introductions into the professional world I’ve ever seen. Your bike caught on fire at your debut in Millville and you flew into a telephone pole at Southwick. Take us through your first few races of the outdoor season?
Vince Friese: Yeah, it was a lot of fun, for sure. I was kind of surprised at how fast everyone was, like, the level of competition, or whatever. But, yeah, it was pretty gnarly. My bike caught on fire and then I went over the stands into the crowd, so it was a bit crazy, but I got through it fine and I felt good and I learned a lot from it. I was able to base my supercross training off of that because it showed me how far I was behind. So I’ve been working a lot harder for supercross and it’s starting to pay off a little bit.

You got some T.V. air time as a result those two incidents, so I guess it wasn’t all bad...
(Laughs) Yeah, I guess if I wasn’t winning it was good to do something to get me on T.V.

You started off the supercross season in the MX class and failed to make a main event throughout the first three races, then you show up in Houston on a 250F and not only do you make the main, but you almost pull off a great finish. Breakdown the situation for us?
I got on the 450 early in the season for the experience. I knew I wasn’t as good on the 450 and I had been spending all of my time on the 250F. At the last second I just kind of decided to jump on my 450 and go race. I think it was really good for me to race my 450. Even though I didn’t make any mains I got a lot of experience and I went into Houston knowing what was going on and ready to go. I knew what to expect and that really helped me out. I’m actually going to go back and race it at Anaheim III and San Diego in order to get ready for Atlanta.

But your main goal is to compete in the entire East Coast Lites Series, right?
Yeah, for sure, that’s the plan.

Will A3 and San Diego be your final races on the 450 this year?
I can’t really say for sure. If I had the schedule in front of me right now I could tell you. I’m not really sure how it works; I’m just kind of going with the flow, whatever I feel like doing pretty much.

I guess that’s one of the positives to being a privateer, you don’t have anyone else making your schedule for you.
Yeah, definitely.

Take us though your Houston experience. You had a great heat race and almost pulled off an even better finish in the main. What happened?
Yeah, I had an awesome start. My bike was way fast, which I wasn’t even expecting. For my bike to be able to pull a start like that against all the factory guys was amazing. I was hanging in there for a little bit. [Austin] Stroupe passed me and then [Martin] Davalos got by, but I was staying strong. I’ve been training really hard with Ryan [Hughes] and I felt really good. I just made a little mistake there at the end when I came up short on the triple. I went inside on the turn and I hit the low line by accident and cased it and went over the bars. It feels good, though, to know where I’m at now. I know where I’ll be heading into Atlanta and hopefully I’ll even be able to step it up a little bit.

Did it surprise you at all to be that far up in the pack?
Actually no, not at all, I was actually hoping to be a little bit further up there. I know I’m in good shape and I know I’ve got the speed. The second I got on my bike and felt how strong it was I knew I was going to be a contender up front. The timing of everything was prefect.

You raced the final three rounds of the outdoor season in the Motocross class. Is that the plan again for this year?
No, next year the plan is to race Lites outdoors if I can get a good bike. At that point [last season] all I had was the bike I raced Loretta’s on, so I felt like I would be more competitive in the 450 class than on the Lites bike. But yeah, this next season I’ll definitely be riding Lites. 

This being your rookie year, has everything gone like you imagined it, or has it been more of a wake-up call?
It’s definitely been pretty tough. Like I said, being outdoors for my first few pro rounds was kind of a wake up call, but after that, coming into supercross, I knew what to expect pretty much. I knew the 450 class was going to be tough. I mean, if you look at the list of the guys in the main event its pretty much all factory guys. Making a main in that would be awesome, but I really have just been going out there for experience. My focus is on the Lites class right now.

The life of a privateer is a difficult one. Who is helping you get to the races?
Warthog Racing, Red Bull, Decal Works, Shift, Dunlop, Renthal, FMF, Factory Connection, Shoei, Alpinestars, Liquid Performance, Scott, Motion Pro, Boyesen, MDK, UFO, Vanquish, Devil, PT Pistons and VP Fuel.

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