A little hidden outside of the top 10 this year, privateer Benny Bloss has been showing flashes of speed as one of just two riders on the new 2023 Yamaha YZ450F that are not on the Monster Energy Yamaha/Star Racing team. As he continues to learn and develop the new machine underneath him, there has been some growing pains with some big crashes out of Bloss on a few occasions this season. Oakland was solid though, aside from a close call with Chase Sexton, where Bloss would ride home a 17th place result on the night.
We caught up with him at the end of the night to discuss the progress he’s been making at each round.
Racer X: Seventeenth on the night. Just take me through the day and how you felt out there and what you thought of your main event.
Benny Bloss: Day was awesome. Had another solid day. Qualified ninth, which was one better than last week. So, my speed is there, which is good. Heat race I ended up seventh, which I rode alright, but I had a blown-out shock in the main which was a little scary. I didn’t crash. I was crash-free all day, I think. Made progress from last week. The result wasn’t better, but my riding was better. So, I was happy with it. Just looking to build from here. Would like to get better results, but I’m sure it will come. Go back to work this week and try to be better in Arlington.
Like you said, you didn’t crash but you did have a little bit of a close call I think with Sexton. Was that a product of the shock?
[Laughs] No. Honestly, I think it was the track. I came out of that corner, and I was going two, three, three, three. I went two and I sat into the three and it just immediately threw me left. I was in the air and all I’m looking at is Tuff Blox. I’m like, “Okay, this is identical to A2. Sexton is about to lap me at A2, and I hit the Tuff Blox and crashed.” I landed center on the Tuff Block as good as you could do it. I was like, “Okay, we’re taking a ride.” Somehow it threw me to the right off the track, I think he almost hit me but I’m not exactly sure. But we made it out of there alive. Very close call with that one, but it is what it is.
When you have a moment like that, how long is it to recollect yourself and get back into a groove?
Honestly, I completely forgot about it like a lap later. It was fine. Just because of how gnarly the rest of the track was, I completely forgot about it immediately after that. The whoops were nasty. It was good, though.
In terms of your goals and your expectations you’re putting on yourself at this point in the season, are you meeting them still or are you still trying to get a little bit better?
I’m definitely trying to get better. I came into the season extremely under-prepared. I got my new Yamahas two days before Anaheim, and then I crashed at Anaheim, so I wasn’t able to ride. But the last couple weeks I’ve actually been able to get back on the bike during the week. I’d like to be getting better results, but just trying to put in the work and let it come. This race and the race before, it was like, all my goal was to do my laps and finish and try to be as mistake-free as possible and not crash, because I’m not going to be making progress if I’m crashing. So, I feel like I’ve done pretty good with that. Now I need to apply some more speed in the main events. I feel like I’ve shown that I have some speed through qualifying tenth last week and ninth this week. So, just got to be better. I feel like it’s going to come, though. We’ll see.
You said today was really good, so were there some things on the bike that you learned today that you’re going to take away, or was it yourself just kind of feeling a little bit better overall?
I think the whole day as a whole, the bike, honestly this is the first time in however many years that I’ve been racing where once I got a setting that I like, I haven’t touched it. The last time I did that was the last time I was on Enzo suspension with Rock River before. Those guys had it dialed so good where it’s just like get one setting good, we’re good. I’m getting more familiar with the bike as the race day goes on, and kind of trusting myself a little more. I feel like I wasn’t doing that quite as good in the beginning of the season. Just kind of everything is coming together better than it was before. So, I feel like it’s just going to get better, more time on the bike. The last two weeks I’ve been able to ride multiple days during the week and my body is feeling a lot better. We’re getting the bike more dialed. We’re getting more parts for it. So, I think it will get better from here.
We move to a Triple Crown next week. Are you excited for that or are you like, darn it, I wish we had another regular race to build off of?
I’m not a big fan of the Triple Crowns, but now that I’ve been riding, I’m sure it will be better. A2 I was coming off an injury and a Triple Crown is the worst thing to come back to because there’s so much riding. I get for the fans it’s probably better to watch, but as a racer, I do not enjoy it at all. It’s just back-to-back to back. I guess I just need to be more of a man.