LOGAN BEST: TIME TO SHINE
We’re living in strange times right now as the majority of the world has been put on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, but just last month things were relatively normal and we were racing dirt bikes. Logan Best was one of the many amateur motocross competitors traveling from Florida to Texas during the high-profile spring events that take place during March, but he found a way to separate himself from the rest of the pack. 2020 is Best’s first season full-time on the YZ85, placing him in the various Mini Sr. and 85cc divisions, but his performances at Underground MX Park at Spring A Ding Ding made it seem as though he’s been racing in the 85cc class for years. Best blew away all of the spectators with a commanding win in the first Mini Sr. moto of the day and continued in the same form throughout the event, claiming a championship and two overall podium finishes at the end of the weekend. We caught up with Logan to chat about what he’s been doing during the corona quarantine, leading his classes in the Dirty 100, and his go-to meal at Taco Bell.
Things are a little bit crazy right now with the corona quarantine affecting everyone around the world. Everybody has a little bit more free time, what have you been doing to keep yourself sane and entertained?
Well, the trainers here at South of the Border, Brandon (Scharer) and Matt (Bisceglia), and Coach Rob from MotoE have kept me on a pretty strict workout routine and biking routine. But when I'm not training I do play video games obviously with my friends and stuff like that. I have a kid here, Cory Carsten, who is kind of one of the main kids I hang out with and we also play basketball. I fish occasionally but I don't really have patience, so...
What kind of video games are you into?
I play Call of Duty and the only reason I still have Fortnite is that a bunch of my friends play it, so if I'm bored I'll hop on it. I've seen Matt -- he has a racing simulator with the wheel and pedals and he's got that iRacing game now. He's the one who introduced me to it, I went over one day and watched him play and it's pretty crazy.
Has it been strange for you to not have any Supercross to watch on Saturday nights this past month?
I'm sorry, what'd you say? I got a COVID-19 Alert! (laughs)
No worries, has it been weird for you to not have any Supercross to watch on Saturday nights?
No, not really. It's been kind of boring because I don't really have anything to do, but other than that with video games and basketball I've at least got something to do.
How has this whole situation affected your day-to-day life while training?
All of us here at South of the Border have to be a little bit more careful. In the morning when we do our warmups, we have our bikes six feet apart and if we have more than ten people here then we do our stretches outside so we're all kind of taking precautions.
One of the biggest obstacles for everyone is food — no more going out to eat, have you been cooking a lot of meals at home?
I mean, most of my food anyways is cooked here but if I want to go to Taco Bell on Saturday or Sunday then we have our manager here or Matt's fiance go out and get us food because we have out of state plates and people who don't have South Carolina plates can't leave the property.
What's your goto meal at T-Bell?
Probably four soft shell tacos with meat, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce...and a Baja Blast freeze.
I saw on social media you guys did something a little differently and did some training on asphalt with pocket bikes. Have you ever done anything like that before and what did you think?
It was very fun! It was the first time that I've ridden a street bike; I just got a suit and helmet from 6D, boots and stuff like that. So I think I'm going to start riding street bikes just to kind of get out there.
It's a different feeling on a street bike but it's still a lot of the same concepts, so I'm sure it would be a good way to train and stay active.
Right. The only thing that's really different is you definitely don't wanna stick your leg out and you're mostly in the tucked position. That was one of the main things that I had to get used to -- the suit, as soon as you throw it on it automatically puts you into that hunched over position.
Yeah, they're not quite as comfortable as motocross gear. It's a tight fit, did you have to have someone help you zip it up?
Yeah, I had to have my dad help me because you can get one arm in and then it's hard to get in the other one in because of how stiff the suits are.
Do you follow any road racing or MotoGP stuff?
No, the one person that kind of got me into it was a kid that we know, Austin Miller. He used to race (moto) and then he faded off 'cause he crashed and got hurt, so he went to road racing and I saw it on Instagram one day and thought it was pretty cool. I kind of thought about it for a little bit and finally wanted to try it.
Do you think you got the bug after that? Are you going to want to get your own bike eventually?
Oh, for sure.
I know from speaking with Matt that you do the majority of your riding with the big bikes when you train. Talk a little bit about that and when you started training that way.
Really, since I've been on a 50 I've always been fast enough, I guess you could say, to be in the big bike group. For some reason, ever since I've gotten on a dirt bike I've always wanted to hit big jumps so the jumping thing really wasn't an issue. Obviously, since the coronavirus and stuff I haven't been able to ride, but since I got on 85s I really started putting in a lot of work and now I'm able to battle with the fast B guys and the slower A guys.
Do you think that has played a role in your success at the beginning of the season since moving up to the Mini Sr. classes?
Yeah, we have another kid here, Jyrie Mitchell, and we were riding one day on our back track -- he came into a corner and I just stayed there, we bumped into each other, and he went one way and I went the other way. That was kind of like the moment that it clicked in my head that I was able to battle hard with other kids. So now is the time that I really need to put my head down.
It seems like you’ve made steady improvements in the last few years and slowly built yourself up to being a championship contender. Does that come down to personal improvements, a bigger bike, or something else?
I would say personal improvements just because of Coach Rob, Brandon, and Matt. Ever since I've started training with Brandon, just because he's sort of a smaller rider (like I am), I see him ride and how fast he is so it's always been something to push towards.
This was your first year out at Underground MX for Spring A Ding Ding. What did you think?
I thought it was amazing. The dirt was really good and I was surprised it was able to hold that much water from the rain. I got there and at first, saw the track and it was all rain-rutted so I was like "Oh, that's not the track we're riding." But they started working on it and it turned out awesome. I loved the jumps and overall the race was just run really good.
How was the racing there from your perspective? It seemed like your starts were on point and you were really gelling with the track. The first Mini Sr. moto that you won definitely surprised a lot of people with how big of a lead you had.
Yeah, I really liked how they left the track and it got really rutted and rough; it slowed it down and made it a little safer. Me, Brandon, and Matt have been doing a lot of starts -- Donnie (Luce) from Yamaha made sure we have all the parts I need to get those dialed. That first Mini Sr. moto was another thing that gave me a lot of confidence, it was another really big turning point, especially coming from Daytona. I got that moto in and it made me feel like this is going to be my year that I can win.
What about the depth of talent in the Mini Sr. classes at Spring A Ding Ding? I remember looking at qualifying and seeing that Luke Fauser finished in 18th which surprised me, so I looked at everyone ahead of him and it really blew my mind how stacked it was.
The class was stacked and I'm actually really good friends with Luke -- he's one of the kids that I play games with and he's a really good kid. I saw him there and I think this is his first year in the Mini Sr. class and the people in front of him; it was crazy how fast they all were! I also think the track was a little bit faster on practice day than it was during the racing.
Do you favor those rougher and more technical conditions?
Yes sir, we don't touch the track during the day at South of the Border besides water so I'm used to those conditions. The track was really good and look at Loretta's, they don't touch the track at all either.
You’re one of the Team Dunlop Elite kids, so you were a part of the whole photoshoot beforehand as well as the team dinner and everything. This is your second year with the team now, so what’s it mean to you to be on that program?
It means a lot! I remember the first time Mr. Rob (Fox) came up to me at Mini Os in 2018 and he said "Are you Logan?" and I said "Yes sir!" and just from then on he said "I got my eye on you," so I was like "Perfect!" I was at Muddy Creek one year with Matt LeBlanc and I saw the jacket he was wearing, the black jacket with the yellow Team Dunlop logo on it, and I was like "I want that jacket!" I was focusing on me, my riding, and again -- Matt and Brandon just helped me out so much to get me to that point where Rob came up to me and asked if I wanted to ride for Team Dunlop. Obviously, I didn't even blink an eye and I was like "Yes sir!"
You’re doing well in the 2020 Dirty 100 Standings right now, leading 85cc (9-13) Open and Mini Sr. 1. Was it pretty cool to see your name at the top of those lists?
Totally! I remember when I would go look at the Dirty 100 and I would be somewhere from 10th to 15th so to go there and see that I was 1st was just another huge confidence booster and an amazing moment. Knowing now that I have the speed to run with anyone, that's been keeping me going!
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Triangle Cycles, Yamaha Motors USA, Dunlop, 6D, FXR, Asterisks, Gaerne, EKS Brand, Factory Connection, JMS Motors, SOBMX, Engine Ice, Flo Motorsports, Hinson, Real Ink Graphics, Monster Army, VP Southeast, ODI, Nihilo, MotoE