DIALED: GAVIN TOWERS
Gavin Towers made a big splash last year in both Supermini classes, eventually earning the attention of the Team Green Kawasaki team by the end of the season. The Pennsylvania native signed a one year contract with the amateur motocross powerhouse and showed up to The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City with the new team. Towers spent some time out in California at the test track dialing the bike into his liking, but luck wasn't on his side in Oklahoma as he had an underwhelming week by his standards. Nonetheless, he rebounded at Mini Os with a couple of titles and he's been able to keep the ball rolling so far in 2020. We caught up with Gavin to ask him about some of the quarantine challenges he's been experiencing, his anticipation of moving up to the 250 class, and the depth of competition in the Supermini classes.
What have you been up to lately during quarantine?
Well right now me and Luke (Fauser) are up in Lisbon, Ohio training and we actually got some snow. It's going to get warmer over the next couple weeks which is good, it was freezing this week. It was more of just a move-in week here to get stuff going. We stay at Dave (Kilgore)'s house and then we go out to the track, so I go home on weekends and so does Luke. I only live about an hour and a half away and Luke lives like twenty or thirty minutes away.
How has this whole coronavirus situation affected what you do for riding and training?
Well, at Freestone I got two practices in, Schoolboy and Supermini, and the second practice on the first lap I hit like a hole or something in this one berm. I really twisted my outside foot and it tore the lateral ligament, so I was off the bike for a while. It was almost really bad, I was almost off the bike and having major surgery. I've really only ridden twice since Freestone, 'cause my mom doesn't really want me to ride a whole lot. If you go to a hospital, you have a chance of getting it so it's kinda scary. So I rode at Cole Jones' house one time and that was when my knee started to feel better then I rode once this week. Mainly I've been doing a lot of working out, not a lot of leg stuff because of my knee, but I've been doing a lot of workouts in my house and just doin' some school. Playing a few video games, I haven't been doing a whole lot. This is my first week out of the house in a while. Actually, one of my best friends got the coronavirus, him and his sister, but they both recovered perfectly fine. They didn't even realize that my friend had it and then his sister ended up having it as well.
The whole #crushquarantine video you did on Instagram was pretty funny...
Yeah, obviously I don't have a track in my backyard, I'm not blessed with that and with my knee I haven't been able to ride. I got the cops called when I did that because the neighbors are pretty much jerks. They were just nosing into our business, we were out on the road for literally five minutes and the cops came.
That would've been a good ending to the video.
I had it at the end, but it was pretty funny! Then we've been doing all these challenges, Levi (Kitchen) started the raw egg challenge and Luke just did that actually.
Is Luke close by?
Gavin: Yeah, Luke come here!
Luke: What's up?
How did you drink that raw egg like it was a cup of water? You had no reaction whatsoever.
Luke: I let it into my mouth and then I opened my throat up and it just went straight down. I didn't even taste anything, not one bit.
You looked like Rocky drinkin' that thing! So Gavin, is it important to stay fit and ready to race right now without overdoing it?
Yeah, as soon as they can start racing they're going to start, so you have to stay on point. But at the same time, it's hard when you don't want to get hurt, you don't want to do anything wrong, and you want to stay in shape. I mean, it's hard if you're home all day and when I'm home there's really not much to do. You notice yourself eating more and then watching more TV, so I just try to stay away from that stuff as much as I can. I've been getting my workouts done through the day and now I'm starting to ride more which is good. I'm basically just trying to keep myself busy 'cause there's not much to do.
What do you think about the different options for running Loretta's at the moment?
I really don't want them to have a Super Loretta's where they're bringing everybody in. I like Loretta's so much because there really aren't that many squids there. I mean, to be honest that's one thing I like about it. It's rough enough after one week, so that's going to be insane if they have to do two weeks. I'd rather have them have the Super Regional than the Super Loretta's. Honestly, if they have to do it that way or they have to move Loretta's back to the fall, I don't think it's really worth it at that point. It's a lot on the line and it would suck to have to miss it this year. If you have a kid that probably wouldn't have made it but he's going to be in one of the heats (if they have a heat race thing) and he cleans you out, lapping him or something, and he ruins your chance right there. It's hard to say if they're going to have Super Regionals that's fine with me and I'm all for it, but if they're going to have a Super Loretta's that's not really worth it to me honestly.
This year is your last year on the supermini, so it's kind of a big year for you. How did the racing go from your perspective at the beginning of the year?
It was goin' alright. I did pretty good at Daytona, I got a championship. I dunno, I've grown a lot over the last six months and it's really hurt me. Obviously, Kawis are a little bit smaller than the KTMs, so growing six inches and losing two inches or so to my bike size hurt a little bit. I've just tried to find a little bit better of a suspension setting and since the Pro Circuit guys are all the way out in California, it's a little bit harder. Since PC and PR2 work so close together, I'm going to try to get a little testing in with them and we'll communicate with PC and tell them what we're doing. My races in the spring are not nearly as good as my end-of-the-year races, I don't know why. I do worse at my Regionals than I do at Loretta's sometimes. I'm just better when there are longer motos and you can push harder at the end. Some kids get tired like halfway through and I can keep pushing, so that's what I like about it.
Well, you'll get a little more of that next year when you move up to the B class.
Yeah! One thing I've always struggled with too is that my first couple laps are never good. It's not that they're bad, but they're like two seconds off of my end-of-the-race laps. So when there are only five laps and it's just a full sprint, that's where I struggle.
Yeah, it doesn't leave you much time to make that back up in such a short race.
Yeah, last year at Loretta's like halfway through the race I was setting fast lap times and that's pretty good; I was stoked about it, but when I’m somewhere like Freestone and you only have five laps to go, I need to work on that a little bit more. If I can throw my heaters down at Loretta's the first couple of laps and get up there, maybe get a lead, and then pull even more at the end. I know the stuff I need to work on; my starts were horrible at the spring races, so I definitely need to work on those.
Some of that might come down to you being a little bigger on the supermini, are you looking forward to getting on the 250?
Yeah, for sure. I even had a 125 last year and I honestly didn't like it. I didn't really like the air forks and I didn't like the conversion kit, so no matter if I got a ride or not I really wasn't planning on going to a KTM250 or a 125. It's harder to get a ride out of the 125 class anymore. Mason Gonzales, a couple of years ago, won the title at Loretta's and really didn't get anything out of it, so it's hard to want to go race in the 125 classes. It's good to get used to the bigger wheels and the bigger bike and everything, but as a whole I wasn't planning on doing it. I was really excited when I got picked up by Kawi because I know their bikes are really good and they have one of the best pro teams out there, so I'm really stoked for the rest of 2020 and 2021 to ride the 250. I guess if they move Loretta's back, I'm going to be bummed to be on the supermini for longer because I'm really excited for the 250. If I was a little bit smaller, maybe I'd have less of an urge to move up but I'm just really excited to get on the big bike.
Were you originally thinking of making that move right after Loretta's?
Yeah, that was my plan. Technically, I could run until like October so I could do Baja as my last race but I didn't really want to do that. Ryan (Holliday) said I could move up after Loretta's so that's what I wanted to do. I was maybe going to do the 250 at the beginning of this year but I didn't really want to get so used to it where I liked it way more and didn't want to go back to my supermini, so we just opted not to get a 250. I was just going to finish Loretta's strong on the little bikes and move up immediately after. I didn't want to take much of a break and I was really going to train hard -- I was going to come back up here (to Lisbon) and have Dave train me on the 250 then go to Baja as my first race on the 250, then I'd go to Ponca and Mini Os.
Have you had the chance to ride a 250 at all yet?
I've ridden a 250 a couple of times. Last year I rode Cole's a couple of times and my buddy had a Kawi so I hopped on that, but I haven't really ridden something (set up) for my weight or anything, so I haven't had a chance to tell my speed on a 250, but once I got on a 125 I was going pretty fast on it. There were kids that were top five in the 125 class last year and I was beating them on a stock 125, so I definitely feel pretty good going onto a big bike. I was also a lot shorter last year so I'm definitely very excited.
What's your opinion on all of the racing getting pushed back and running supercross in the fall for the pro riders?
I think it's too much for all the pros. I mean, to fit the outdoor season in and then immediately go into seven rounds of supercross after. Honestly, in my opinion the two weeks after the supercross season isn't enough to get your outdoor stuff ready and that's what they get. If you're going to go straight from one to the other and not even have that two week period. If they do what they're going to, these guys are gonna be spent by the beginning of 2021. It's hard to say because that's how they make a living -- obviously, a lot of people are affected by this right now -- but most people after this are gonna go back to work. If they just cancel this whole season or something like that, they don't have that chance to go back to work. So they're basically out for like nineteen races and that's a lot of money for those guys.
Talk a little bit about the depth of competition that you're facing in the Supermini class this year. Evan Ferry was saying that he thinks everyone needs to watch out when you guys move up to the big bikes.
Yeah, you obviously have Chance (Hymas) and Nick (Romano) who just moved up, Jett (Reynolds). Nick and Chance, no matter if they do good in B this year at Loretta's, their age will keep them in B so you'll have those two next year. If Jett does good in B, I think he'll go up to A because of his age. Evan is going to a 125 next year and I think Dax(ton Bennick), but there are still so many kids that are more than capable of winning a title. I think Ryder is staying down one more year, but he's obviously going to be very fast the whole rest of this year. He's a good starter and he's a good sprinter, but he's tiny and he fits his bike good, so I mean that's an advantage right there in itself. Other than that, I'm just really excited to move up after this year. Hopefully, whatever they do with Loretta's, it goes my way and that's what I'm going to train for the next couple of months -- stay on the bike and stay healthy is the plan.