LEVI KITCHEN : PRESSURE COOKER
Levi Kitchen was kind enough to offer up a little bit of his post-breakfast Fortnite time to catch us up with what he's been doing since the COVID-19 quarantine period went into effect. The Rock River backed Yamaha rider caught fire at the end of 2019 with an exceptional week of performances at Mini Os and he backed it up at the beginning of the new season with strong finishes at Spring A Ding Ding. The Washington native landed on the top step of the podium in both 450 B and 250 B Limited in addition to a strong 2nd place overall in the heavily contested 250 B class. Since racing has been on pause, Kitchen has been continuing his usual program at Real Deal MX Training Facility in order to stay prepared for the eventual and inevitable return to competition.
How much has the coronavirus pandemic really affected your day-to-day life down there at Real Deal? Is it that much different for you?
Ummm, no. Going to the grocery store is a little different and it's a little weird, but we're still doing the same stuff. We're going to the gym and all that but we just make sure we keep everything clean. It's better if people don't go to town quite as much so nobody gets it, but it's not much different than it usually is.
Have you been toning things down a little bit with your training and conditioning just because we don't know when we're returning to racing and you don't want to run yourself into the ground?
In the summertime, it gets pretty hot here so that's normally when we, as you said, run ourselves into the ground. It hasn't changed much, as far as riding goes we've been doing a lot of turn tracks and stuff just to keep it kind of safe. I know that in some states right now, if you go to the hospital you can get stuck or they won't even take you in. We've just been kind of playing it safe. As far as in the gym, Mrs. Sherry, she's just been keeping it pretty much the same honestly.
What have you been up to during all the free time you've got when you're not riding and training?
We've been obviously fishing, I go fishing all the time. We go to the river and we actually just built a ramp into the pond, so we've been jumping bicycles into the pond which is pretty fun. Just playing some Xbox and that kind of stuff.
Who do you squad up with in Fortnite?
Well, I've got a lot of my buddies from back home. I play Fortnite with Mason Gonzales all the time, I'd say that's the only moto dude that I really play with. I play with him and a couple of other kids from MTF. But, I usually play with a lot of my buddies from back home.
Has it been weird not having racing to watch on Saturday nights?
Yeah, it is weird for sure. Every Saturday we are all in the shop here and watch supercross and it's been kind of weird not having it. I dunno, I've just been watching a lot of Tiger King and playing some ping pong, trying to stay busy.
Tell everyone about how the racing went for you at the beginning of this season, you had a strong weekend at Spring A Ding Ding.
Yeah, it was the first time I've ever been out there. It was a good experience, the track was sweet and I had a lot of fun! I did really well, so that was good. I liked it, it's a super soft track and I find that more fun than the hardpack stuff. It's kind of similar to the conditions I train on at Real Deal, so I really enjoyed it.
What'd you think about the layout in general? There are lots of big booters out there.
The track is sick. At first glance, there are a lot of big jumps so it can kind of intimidate you, but at the same time I don't even know if one kid got hurt off any of those jumps. It seems like everybody does fine, obviously it's a big amateur race so everyone is a pretty good rider. As far as the layout goes, I think it's fun. There are multiple lines, but it kind of seems like there's one good race line but that kind of goes for every track, so it's kind of normal I guess. I like that the track gets rough and kind of slows us down, it wasn't a very fast track so that keeps things a little safer. It was super fun on my 450, I only got to race that in one class but it was sick for sure.
I bet with how deep it gets in some spots it'd be really nice to have the 450 to pull you out of some of that.
Yeah, exactly. Chance (Hymas) and all those boys were givin' me crap 'cause obviously nobody really rides 450s, but it's pretty much like cheating on a track like that. Especially that last moto we had when it was muddy. I mean, they had no chance when I was on the 450.
All you guys were riding really well in the B class, there was a pretty close battle between the top five throughout the weekend and it seems like you guys all have respect for each other off the track as well.
It's fun, for sure and everybody gets along. My first moto of the weekend was 250 B and I was a little nervous because I ended up 3rd and I was a ways off of Chance and (Nate) Thrasher's pace. Then I went out on the 450 and that gave me a little bit of confidence and the rest of the week was fun, we all battled and everybody was pretty close as far as times go. We would all start up front: Yoder, Hymas, Thrasher, and Amerine was ripping in the last moto, too. I holeshotted the one that was muddy and I didn't have to go through the pack or nothin', but somebody was keeping me honest for a while and it was Amerine. I had no idea, but he was rippin'.
Considering it was your first time there, what did you think about the podium celebrations there and the fake mustaches and all that good stuff?
That's awesome, especially 'cause I think the cowboy hat goes good with some long hair and everybody knows I'm one for the long hair, so I thought it looked pretty sweet.
You made one of those pictures from the podium your Instagram profile picture, so you must think you wear that fake mustache pretty well.
Oh yeah. No, I did that because I know I'll never be able to grow one myself so it feels good to have one.
Did you know Yoder raced his last moto with one of those fake mustaches on underneath his helmet?
Yeah, he rode the whole moto like that. That was funny and he got off the track and sure enough, it was on there.
As of now, outdoors is tentatively set to start in June and MX Sports announced multiple plans for Loretta's this season. What's your opinion on being able to fit all these races in?
I'm gonna have to say stuff is just going to keep getting pushed back. I know it's not too bad where I'm at right now, but I've been talking to my parents back in Washington and it's pretty bad out there. Same with California and all those other places. I'm not really letting it get in the way at this point. Obviously, I wanna go racing and I'm just kind of doing my work. I know I'm at an advantage because I've talked to a few of my buddies out in California and they've hardly been riding, I think a lot of stuff has been shut down unless you've got a private spot to ride. It's not really affecting me at all, but as far as what I think is going to happen with outdoors and Loretta's, I have no idea. I heard they talked about doing just Regionals and personally, I think that's how it should be anyways.
What do you think about the final option of turning Loretta's into a two-week event?
Personally, that does not sound fun to me. One week there is plenty long for me...I feel like the whole qualifying thing would be kind of tough, it's hard to decide. I'll do anything obviously; no matter what happens, I'll be at Loretta's. But I'd rather go through the Regionals.
Is the tentative plan right now still for you to move up to the A class after Loretta Lynn's?
Yeah, I think that's what’s happening. I don't know if I'm going to do Mini Os as a B rider as well, it all depends on what Ed (Torrance) says. I would assume I go A because I think Mason is going pro after Loretta's, so I'll take his spot hopefully.
When you do eventually make that jump to the pros, would you prefer to do the last three after Loretta's or do the full Pro Motocross season?
I for sure want to do Loretta's as an A rider next year and then that would probably be my last year. Next year if I'm A, I definitely want to try and race Washougal as one of the three nationals that I could do. It's right before Loretta's so I'd have to do that and fly straight there, so I don't know if I could convince my parents to let me do that. I just want to race in front of my hometown and I feel like I could do really well at Washougal. The way I look at it is: if I did really well at Washougal and had some bad luck at Loretta's, it's still a win in my eyes, or if I don't do that great at Washougal and do good at Loretta's. I think either way it'd be fun!