Welcome to Racer X Next, where we interview up and coming amateur racers. We'll check in with racers on topics such as their training program to qualifying for and competing at the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch, and much more.
This week, we talk with Rock River Yamaha’s Mason Gonzales.
Hometown: Fort Walton Beach, FL
Team: Rock River Yamaha
Classes: 250 A, 450 A, Open Pro Sport
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Lorettas is done an dusted, came away with a title in 250b limited and a 4th in 250b mod. Overall really happy with how the week has went and couldn’t be more blessed to have such great people around me. Thank you to everyone that makes this happen !!! @trianglecycles @yamahamotorusa @mtfmx @6dhelmets @answerracing @100percent_moto @alpinestarsmx @ridedunlop @protaper @fcsuspension @fmf73 @twin_air
Racer X: With a break in racing, how much different is your day-to-day schedule now compared to a typical month or weeks leading into Loretta Lynn’s qualifiers or another big amateur event?
Mason Gonzales: Things have been fairly normal when it comes to training. There have been precautions put in place to keep myself and my peers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing has been put in place in the buildings. All-in-all, it’s been smooth sailing as we get prepared for things to resume racing wise.
Where are you at now? Where do you typically stay and train?
I’m currently located and training at the Millsaps Training Facility in Cairo, Georgia. I’ve been here for the past two years. I train with several experienced and fast riders. On the pro side, I get to train with Martin Davalos, Jordon Smith [before his recent injury], Jordan Bailey, Dakota Alix, and then several talented guys that are up and coming.
Have you taken any of this spare time to watch past races or highlights? Maybe study a little more or train virtually on video games?
I haven’t watched any more or less videos since the pandemic started, but I usually am always watching races back from past seasons. I like trying to learn as much as I can from some of the best to do it in our sport. I love watching guys like Ken Roczen or Chase Sexton because they’re so fluid on the bike. Even when they’re trying their hardest they make everything look so easy but in reality we all know it’s not.
What classes are you racing this year? Talk a little bit about your year so far. What races have you done?
I’m racing 250 A, 450 A, and Open Pro Sport. Coronavirus has put a bit of a hold on everyone’s racing. Before the whole world shut down, I was able to compete in some races. I raced at Mini Os and walked away with a title in 250 A Supercross. I also went to three Supercross Futures races. I’m ready to get back to racing so I can show all of the hard work I’ve been putting in during this time.
How did you get into racing? At what age did you get your first bike?
Since the age of three, I’ve been on a dirt bike. Even before that, racing has been in my genes. My cousins raced, and I was around them when they rode. My dad also raced pro. Racing is almost like a family tradition.
Who do you look up to for racing?
There’s several riders that I admire such as Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton, and Cooper Webb. I think Webb’s mindset, race IQ, and just pure grit on the track is really something to watch.
What are your goals for 2020?
My mindset is always on winning. Getting ready to go from amateur to pro in the future has opened my eyes to how different the two worlds can be and how much harder I’m going have work in order to achieve my goals. I want to go into each race with confidence that I have put in everything I absolutely can to be ready for the day. As far as specific goals, I want to go to Loretta’s this year and dominate.
Once racing gets back going, my plans are to go to the Loretta Qualifiers [however the schedule ends up playing out]. That would put me at the Ranch in August/July week. After that, I’m wanting to go pro and go to WW [Ranch Motocross Park] for sure. That would be a hometown race for me since I’m from Florida. I also want to go to RedBud. It’s such an iconic race.
I would like to take some time and thank my sponsors and those who have been behind me during my racing career. Rock River Yamaha, Bell Helmets, THOR, Alpinestars, 100%, Monster Army, MTF, my dad and family, and Jake Butler.
Main Image: Christian Munoz