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Privateer Profile: Levi Kilbarger

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Levi Kilbarger had a breakthrough ride in Indianapolis, coming through for a sixth-place finish on the technical, Mike LaRocco-designed track. We talked to him for this week’s Privateer Profile.

Racer X: Tell us where you came from and how you got to where you are.
Levi Kilbarger: Well, I’m from Logan, Ohio, and I started racing when I was four – my dad got me into it because he raced for a long time – and I just raced locally most of the time, but I did Loretta’s and that kind of stuff as an amateur. About two years ago, I started riding at MTF [the Millsaps Training Facility] – it was actually before the last supercross season. Colleen helps me out now and I’ve just been staying here and training for the past two years, and it’s finally starting to get better, you know?

What’s it like transitioning from an amateur racer to racing professional supercross?
You know, it’s way tougher, for sure, because the jumps are bigger and it’s more technical, but I think it was a little easier for me than some other guys because growing up I did a lot of arenacross and stuff, and in the winter time in Ohio, it’s freezing cold. I was kind of more used to a tight track and stuff. I like the fact that the track’s completely different and no one knows it. You have to go and just dial it in in a few laps. I like it.

So, you did really well in Indianapolis. Talk us through that event.
As soon as we walked the track, it was more of a tight, technical track, and that’s what I’ve been hoping for. Colleen [Millsaps] drills us every day on technical stuff. I went out and I had a pretty good practice time, and I was 12th or 13th fastest or something like that, and I was pretty pumped with that.

Yeah, that’s not bad...
Then the night show started, the Heat took off, and I got a terrible start – I think I was probably 11th or something off the start – and I was passing guys, and guys were wrecking... It was crazy. I had so many Tuff Blocks fly out in front of me the first lap! Before I knew it, I didn’t really know where I was at, but I came off the track, and I was like, “Man, there aren’t many people ahead of me.” So I pulled around and asked my mechanic what place I got, and he was like, “Third!” I’m like, “Sweet!” I was ecstatic. My mom comes down to the pits and she’s doing cartwheels, she’s so pumped. It was awesome. And we were so pumped, me and my mechanic, that we were like, “We don’t even care what happens in the main event. After that, the night’s good. It doesn’t even matter.”

So, then the main event comes, and we take off, and I’m in fifth from that first start before they restarted it, and I came around and they red-flagged it. I’m like, “No way!” My goal was top-10, and I was like, “Dude, I could’ve gotten top-10 easy...” I was bummed. Then, it started again, and I think I was in seventh or eighth, and I passed a couple guys, and then I think Branden Jesseman passed me or something, and then I stayed there the rest of the race. I knew I was top 10, but I rode my heart out. I asked my mechanic what place I got, and he said, “Sixth!” I couldn’t believe it! I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t think it’d be sixth, you know?! My family was pumped, and it’s probably the greatest night of my life – so far.

So far, and those are key words, right?
Exactly. We’re hoping for better than that this weekend.

How do you feel about Daytona?
Colleen built us a Daytona track that’s gnarly and rough, so we should be dialed for it.

Who would you like to thank?
My mechanic, Cernic’s, Eleven 10 Mods – my motor guy is killer this year – MSR, Smith, Franklin Equipment, Roost MX, Sunstar, Braking, Dunlop, Cycra and MTF.

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