Marc Jones caught up with the young Victorian at Jimboomba
Not many people had heard of young Victorian Supercross rider Taylor Potter when he first lined up in the AMA Supercross series, but he quickly won over the fans in the USA with his all or nothing story. Saving his money up and quitting his job as an electrician, Potter ventured to the biggest stage of all to chase his dream.
He managed to make several main events against the best of the best, and even made the highlight reel with his last lap block pass on series favourite Jeremy Martin, clinching the final transfer spot in the heat race at Indianapolis in 2015.
Potter was runner up in 2014 in the Australian Supercross series in the SX2 class, but took the last couple of years off, stepping away from the sport to concentrate on making a living. He returns to the sport after a two year hiatus, looking to re-live the form of old and take it one step closer to the top of the podium.
MCNews: What sparked the idea to return to Supercross?
TP: I always wanted to continue racing Supercross but justifying that money was always the big problem. I managed to work a deal with a male supplement company X-Drive, which led to doing a TV advert for them, as well as billboards plastered around the country. With the ongoing support from them, it brought to life the want to win from inside me, and with financial assistance, it made it viable to come back to doing what I love and compete at the highest level once again.
MCNews: How did training at Club MX help you prepare for this year’s series?
TP: I flew over to the USA a few months back now and trained at the Club MX facility in Florida. I was training with Justin Brayton and Gavin Faith, which helped push me and got me back to where I need to be. The weather was a huge factor there; each day was around 36 degrees and 100 per cent humidity, so I had to adapt to the conditions coming from a cold winter. After a few weeks of acclimatising to the conditions, I was back to putting down 15 laps motos quite easily. I think coming back from the hot conditions as well has helped make the transition to racing at home, as well as my fitness being at its peak and less tiring conditions to train in.
MCNews: You suffered a few problems at Jimboomba, how did the day play out in your eyes?
TP: From the get-go, it was a terrible day, it reminded me of three years ago when I raced there last and competed with an injury. Around lap four of practice, I severely overjumped the triple and felt like I got whiplash, putting the middle of my back out which caused me issues for the rest of the day. I had tingling in my hands and struggled to even hold onto the bike for more than two laps. It was disappointing because I knew I was fit and riding well, but a simple mistake cost me considerably on the day. I did what I could throughout the night show to take something away from the evening, but felt uncompetitive, letting myself down as well as my sponsors. I managed to finish 13th in the main event, but I know I’m better than that, and hopefully, I can get my back sorted and redeem myself at the next round.
MCNews: Where do you feel you sit within the SX2 field?
TP: I believe with a good start I can run up with the top three guys and make a push for podiums, and hopefully towards the end of the season push for race wins. It’s a matter of getting out front and riding a perfect race, pushing for 15 laps and making it all happen.
MCNews: What’s it going to take to get on the podium this year?
TP: It’s all about starts and consistency. Injuries like I suffered t at Jimboomba don’t allow for consistent results. You need everything on the day to run smoothly, especially being a privateer, working with what you’ve got. Coming off the track feeling good, knowing the bikes setup correctly. If one thing goes wrong, you’re chasing your tail all day.
MCNews: Do you think Supercross in Australia is heading in the right direction, given its significant changes over the last few years?
TP: Well funnily enough, after having two years off, it’s definitely different coming back to it. There are a lot more SX2 riders I’ve noticed which creates more depth in the field, which is great. I felt it ran a lot smoother than in the past, I’m not sure if that’s a difference in promoters, or that promoter having more experience. In saying that, combining everything together as a whole, it still really hasn’t changed that much, only marginally better. It’s a shame we don’t see a full grid in the SX1 class, but hopefully, that will grow throughout the series. The Aus-X Open creates a lot of exposure for the sport, with large crowd numbers coming to that one event, it draws in a lot of people that wouldn’t necessarily come to the event if it was at a local race track.
MCNews: With the experience of racing in the AMA Supercross Series, how do their events compare to here in OZ and what could we learn from their series to improve the sport here?
TP: It’s hard to explain, but having a larger population obviously helps. The biggest difference I see though is that they just put on a far better show. It’s a short and sweet affair, but it’s action-packed from the beginning and forces the crowd to want more. They put all their shows on in indoor arenas and have nice stadiums, so people aren’t out in the weather. We don’t have the same budgets in Australia, and all costs need to be justified, so I don’t expect the sport to be an overnight hit here, but there’s a lot to learn from their showmanship.
MCNews: Do you think if we went back to an arena-based series, like Australia had 15 years ago it would help propel the sports image and make it more mainstream?
TP: When I was about 12 I raced the Supercross Masters series, which was all indoors. It was more arenacross style tracks but sold out stadiums across the country. It felt more like an AMA series than anything else I’ve raced here in the past few years. Even when Chad Reed came back for Super-X, the sport never really took off how it would have liked. If they could bring back an indoor series, even if it were just five rounds, similar to the Aus-X Open style, it would help the sport and get it back to when it was booming in my childhood days.
MCNews: After returning to full-time racing again for supercross, can we expect to see you back overseas for any international events, or even behind the gates at the Australian Motocross Nationals?
TP: There is a big chance I will be racing both the MX and SX championships here in Australia next year. It’s what I want to do, and I’ve never actually raced a whole motocross series professionally here. To do that though I need to get results, I can’t have another day out like at Jimboomba. America has been in the woodwork for a little bit, but it is purely dependent on my results at the moment. I’ll have to see how that plays out after the Australian series finishes.
MCNews: Thanks for your time mate.
TP: No problems at all.
The 2017 Australian Supercross Championships next heads to Victoria when the second round is contested at Bacchus Marsh Motocross Club, Saturday October 14th.
- Saturday 14th October Gates open: 2.30PM
- Bacchus Marsh – 55 Cummings Rd Maddingely VIC 3340
2017 Australian Supercross Championship Calendar
- Round 2 – Bacchus Marsh, VIC 14 October
- Round 3 – Virginia, SA 28 October
- Round 4 – Qudos Bank Arena, NSW 11 November
- Round 5 – Qudos Bank Arena, NSW 12 November
- Round 6 – Jimboomba, QLD 18 November