DON'T CALL ME FRANCIS:
Casey Cochran was kind enough to devote his free time during lunch break at Moto Sandbox to hop on the phone with us and fill everyone in on what he’s been doing since the lockdown began. The Team Dunlop Elite rider was having quite the start to the season aboard his RM85 with a sweep of both Mini Sr. Main Events at the Daytona RCSX in addition to a 2nd place finish at St. Louis Supercross Futures while sporting a broken collarbone. Cochran has been mixing it up with some of the older kids in the Supermini 1 class which is helping him to learn the pace at the next level, subsequently getting him prepared for next season when he plans to race the supermini full-time. Cochran has been hard at work since the beginning of the lockdown and hasn’t taken any time off of riding at Moto Sandbox. He’s continuing to grind away and learn as much as possible from the likes of Ken Roczen and Adam Cianciarulo as they share the same training facility. We caught up with Casey to get the scoop on his training regiment lately, what he’s been doing to fill the downtime, as well as racing his grandpa’s TM125 at the Daytona Vintage Supercross.
What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained and occupied during the lockdown?
Yeah, since a lot of the places are closed to go have some fun, the trampoline parks and stuff, we've been going out on the boat a lot recently 'cause we live on a lake. That's really cool to go out and have some fun on the boat and I also like playing cornhole so me and my dad do that a lot.
How has this whole situation affected what you do on a day-to-day basis at Moto Sandbox?
It's the same program, nothing has really changed for me. Come out to the track and ride, go home and do some school and then go out on the boat and have some fun. Everything's about the same around Moto Sandbox. We're not training as hard as we normally would be, just slowing down a little bit, but we're starting to get back into it 'cause I think we're gonna get back to racing pretty soon so we want to be ready for that.
Did you take a little bit of time off after you got back home from Texas?
We didn't really ride hard, we just came out and had some fun. We continued riding but a few of the riders here took a few week break just because it's normally hard to take a break. We ended up not taking a break and kept riding and training.
You've been down there at Moto Sandbox for a while now. What's it like for you to be around that professional atmosphere and all of those high-level riders?
Right. It's really cool to ride out here with them. We get to see Ken Roczen, Adam Cianciarulo, Alex Martin, Chase Sexton, and all these guys...we get to see what it's like to put in the work to be a pro. We also get to ride the same tracks as them so we get to be on a national caliber track to help get us ready to race.
Do you watch those guys a lot when you can to try and learn as much as possible on the track?
Definitely. We'll be up here on the jump that all the mechanics stand on to watch the lines and then we go out for our motos. I get to see the fast lines that they're taking and we'll incorporate those into our motos.
You have a pretty good relationship with Ken Roczen at Moto Sandbox -- not only can you look up to him as a role model, but he does quite a bit to help you out when he can.
Yeah, it's a really good opportunity to be such good friends with such a top-level racer. He helps me out with some starts sometimes and helps me get those dialed. Sometimes we'll go out on the boat together and he has a gym in his house, so I'll actually go work out there sometimes. It's definitely a really good relationship to have.
As a fan of supercross and motocross, has it been hard for you not to have anything to watch on the weekend?
It has. I'm normally gettin' ready for it and then I'm like "Aww man, it's not happening." (laughs)
How has it been for you to see how the pros are dealing with all of the scheduling changes to their season?
Right. It's quite confusing 'cause they're riding outdoors right now and I guess they're going to know pretty soon if they're going to be racing supercross (in May) and I guess they'll go back to that. It's a really weird schedule that they're going to have going on here.
Did you do any Supercross Futures to start the season?
I did do St. Louis but I had a broken collarbone during that so I just managed to ride around there and finished 2nd, just to get in for Vegas if I needed to. I also went to Tampa and I was fully healed by then, so I was all good and I ended up goin' down in the first corner in the Main Event and came back to 2nd.
The Daytona RCSX went really well for you this year. How'd that weekend go from your perspective?
In the past, I've won a championship on a 65 and an 85 there before so I really enjoy racing there. I'm a supercross guy, so I really like to race supercross and I really enjoy that race all around. This year it was amazing to come away with two championships and I was stoked on the performance I had there.
How was it racing the TM125 on Tuesday during the Vintage SX?
Yeah, it's really fun to be able to do that. Last year it was the first time they ever did it and my grandpa asked me to do it like a week before, so it was kind of like a last-minute thing. We ended up staying and it was super fun so we decided to do it again this year. I actually won that race too, so it was an all-around great week at Daytona.
Your mom was cheering just as hard for you in that race as she does when you're racing in the Mini Sr. class.
(laughs) Yeah, she's pretty crazy.
How'd it go the following weekend for you at Spring A Ding Ding? The results may have not been exactly what you were looking for, but the class is pretty stacked right now.
Right, I just couldn't get off the start at Spring A Ding Ding, so it was tough to come through the pack. I think I rode pretty good but I just need to figure out my starts and just put it all together. Unfortunately, in one of the second motos I had a pretty nasty crash in the rollers, but I walked away safe from that. I finished the week in Supermini with like a 4th and 5th in the second moto, so I was pumped to finally get a decent finish to end the week with a decent start.
What do you think about the track layout at Underground?
It's a really fun layout to ride. I love the big jumps, all of the triples and quads you can hit and throw whips over. The track is always really deep, it always gets really good ruts and it's a good, fun track to ride.
Obviously your main focus this year is the RM85, but you are mixing it up in the Supermini 1 class with some of the older kids.
It's really fun to be able to race against such highly talented kids in that Supermini class. Every year that class is stacked! It's really good to be able to get up there and mix it up and just see where you are compared to everybody else.
Do you feel like it helps you when you move back down to the 85 class where things slow down a little bit for you?
Sure, the supermini is way faster than the 85 obviously and we're going so fast on those things that when you get back on the 85, you can basically just hold it wide open everywhere. I feel like riding the supermini makes you an all-around better rider on the smaller bike.
You've been on the Team Dunlop Elite program for quite a few years now. What has it meant to you to be a part of that team?
It's great to be part of such an elite program that very few amateur racers get to be apart of. We get such great support from Rob(Fox) and everyone at Dunlop, gettin' us tires and everything we need as fast as possible and getting us the best traction out there on the track.
We noticed you stepped up your bike skills with your whips and wheelies at the Team Dunlop shoot this year. Is that something you've been working on?
Definitely. I’ve been having a lot more fun recently gettin’ some of those skills in during practice because they help a lot when you go racing.
All of the racing is on hiatus right now and it's up in the air exactly when we're going to go back to racing. Did you have a plan in place for what you're going to do at the end of the season?
The goal is to race Mini Sr. up through Mini Os and if all goes good then the plan is to move up to Supermini and do that full-time next year. I'm hopin' to do that 'cause I'm getting a little bit big on the 85 and I'm about ready to get off of it. I really enjoy the power of the supermini -- to be able to have it when you want it in case you bog down or anything, it's really good to have that extra power there to go over jumps easier and go through corners faster. The bigger wheels also really help with the handling, so it's just all-around a really good bike.