Gavin Faith just finished an impressive 2011 season, proving to be one of the only riders in the amateurs who had the potential to threaten Justin Bogle’s chances at a title. At the World Mini Grand Prix, Faith took home the championship in the 450 Mod Pro class. He then went on to the AMA Red Bull Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch, where his results were less than expected. The Carlton Dry Honda Thor team then contracted Faith to ride the Lites class in the Australian Super X series, where he finished second in the championship.
After Wil Hahn was injured in a practice crash, the GEICO Honda squad called in Faith as his replacement rider at Los Angeles. Making his American pro debut on one of the top factory teams, the pressure was on, but he managed to grab the last transfer spot into the main on Saturday and finish 18th. Faith talked about his first supercross race in the U.S., the track, and his Australian experience in this week’s Between the Motos.
Racer X: It was your first supercross race in America this weekend. How’d that go?
Gavin Faith: I was a little nervous going into it and I only got one twelve-minute practice. It definitely didn’t go as planned. But I made the main event and rode fifteen laps, which was a positive. I’m starting to feel a lot better on the bike now, so hopefully next week it will go a lot better.
It was your first race and you made the main. Did that help you relax a bit?
Yeah, it was a relief once I made the main. I didn’t really ride very good in the heat. I picked it up a little bit in the LCQ and got in. It was good to make the main. I was super pumped to make the main.
Faith signed with GEICO Honda last week to replace an injured Wil Hahn.
Photo: Simon Cudby
What were your thoughts on the track?
It was pretty good. It seemed pretty busy. Nothing too technical, but it was pretty good. I wish it had a little bit longer whoops section, but oh well.
The rain changed the schedule and took it down to only one practice. Did that make you nervous coming into it?
Yeah a little bit, because we were the first practice and I didn’t get to see anybody ride the track or anything. So I was just tossed out there first and I didn’t really know what the lines were going to be and stuff. It would’ve been nice to get a few more practices to dial in the track a little more before the heat race. But it was alright.
What was the process of you getting the ride with GEICO Honda?
I think Ziggy [Factory Connection owner Rick Zielfelder] called me and my trainer at MTF. Then we just went from there.
When did you officially start riding with them?
I flew in Sunday night real late. I rode the new bike on Monday and I got to ride Monday through Thursday, so that was pretty good. But it is just completely different power and everything from my bike. It’s definitely been tough getting used to it. But I’m definitely feeling a lot better on it.
Faith (right) finished 18th in his pro debut.
Photo: Simon Cudby
How much did racing in Australia prepare you for coming back to America?
It was good over there. I had a couple mud races to start off. Their format’s a lot different. It’s a lot shorter races. It was good to actually race before the season, but it’s nothing like it is over here.
So what are your goals coming into this weekend?
I need to work on my starts. If I get some good starts, I’ll be able to run up front. I know I have the fitness to ride up front, but I just have to get more comfortable from the bike and get the starts. I just need to ride like I know I can and make it happen.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out this year?
I’d like to thank everybody from GEICO Honda, Factory Connection, Amsoil, just everybody from over there. Also, everyone from MTF who’s been behind me 100 percent from the beginning, and my friends and family.