Luke Fauser made the move up to the 85 classes full-time starting at Mini Os last season and he’s made it clear in the early stages of 2020 that he’s gained some speed and confidence on the bigger bike. The Orange Brigade rider won the 85cc (10-12) class at the Daytona RCSX on his 13th birthday and impressed in his first outing at Spring A Ding Ding with a 3rd place overall in the 85cc (9-12) division. He was also pleased with his results in some of the older classes as he relished the opportunity to learn from some of his senior competitors, using that knowledge to make improvements every time he hits the track. We were able to get on the phone with Luke shortly after he returned home to Pennsylvania for the weekend after putting in a long week of riding and training out in Lisbon, Ohio at Gary Semics’ property. Luke gave us his thoughts on the beginning of the 2020 racing season, what video games he likes to play, and the depth of the competition in the Mini Sr. classes.
How'd the week of training go for you with Dave Kilgore? There was definitely some mixed weather in Northeast Ohio this week.
Yeah, it was pretty good. A couple of days were dry, a couple of days were wet, but it was fun!
What's your training program been like out there in Lisbon and has anything changed because of the coronavirus situation?
Yeah, normally we ride during the day and if we have a lighter day on Monday or Tuesday we go to the gym in Gary’s basement and do our workouts. Normally, we just take Wednesdays off as a rest day. So we ride Monday and Tuesday and then rest to get ready for Thursday and Friday then I head home (to Pennsylvania) for the weekend. Nothing has really changed, we've just been doing the normal routine that we usually do.
Do you work both with Dave and Gary or how does that work?
We normally just work with Dave, but Gary sometimes comes and videotapes us for his YouTube channel and the training videos that he does.
Apart from your riding and training, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy during the downtime you've had?
I've been playing video games, some basketball outside, riding in my backyard on my pit bike. Just whatever I can do to have fun without going out.
Yeah, you have a small track in your backyard at your house, right?
Yeah, every now and then I ride that if I can...if it's good. Whenever it rains, it holds a lot of water for a while so it depends on that.
What sort of video games do you like to play?
I play MX Simulator and Fortnite, that's pretty much it. That's what I've been playing lately. Gavin (Towers) just got it (MX Simulator) this week and me and my friend helped him and he's been trying to learn how to get good at it. It's so hard to get used to.
Some people say it's harder than actually riding a bike, what do you think about that?
Ummm, I'd say not. If you put a lot of time into it then it gets pretty easy -- not easy, but it gets flowy and you can just ride good.
Did Gavin spend a lot of time picking himself up off the ground this week then?
Yeah, pretty much. He's trying to learn how to whip, that's all he wants to do.
Do you do any of the races that are broadcasted on Youtube?
Yeah, I have a C class license for outdoors this year. Somebody in my friend group that I play with is making bikes for us so our numbers, graphics, and jerseys will be on there and stuff which is cool. I play with a lot of my PA friends mainly.
How did the few races you did at the beginning of the season go for you? Did you do anything before Daytona?
No, not really. I was pretty much just riding indoors because it was so cold out. I went with Gene Stull like a week before Daytona to go down to Florida so I could ride a little bit outdoors and stuff so that was fun. I got a little bit of riding time in before Daytona and just tried to put it all together down there.
What're your options throughout the winter in Pennsylvania for riding?
Yeah, I normally go to Switchback MX in Pennsylvania and Ram Jam in Ohio. I remember the one day I went to Switchback this year and it was like nineteen degrees out or something. The dirt is like concrete pretty much and you get some serious squids out there. In January and February, I go down to South Fork MX in Virginia and it's about like forty or fifty degrees, so that's good.
You're full-time now on the 85 this year. How has it been for you just focusing on the one bike?
Yeah, I've noticed since I've just been on the 85 that I've already gotten faster on it. At Daytona, I was able to win (a championship) so that was nice and I was happy with my speed at Underground as well. I feel so much better, whenever I went back to Dave's this year I was so much faster in the corners, using my front brake a lot more. I just feel so much better.
What was your mindset like going into Daytona? Were you expecting yourself to win?
Yeah, I was expecting to win in the younger class but in the older class I was a little bit nervous 'cause it was going to be way more difficult. But I felt normal and more comfortable in the older classes like Mini Sr. and all that.
It was pretty cool at Daytona that you did win a championship on your 13th birthday.
Yeah, that was the same day my birthday was on so that was cool. It was a pretty good birthday present!
This was your first year out to Spring A Ding Ding, what did you think?
I was surprised because of how deep and rough it got, I wasn't really expecting that. Whenever I rode the Orange Brigade camp (at Underground) it didn't get nearly as bad as that. Obviously there weren't as many people riding, but still. It got super rough, really deep ruts, and it was fun. I liked it a lot!
Do you feel like you ride those conditions well as a rider based on the east coast?
Yeah, I feel like I can because some of the people out west don't get as many deep ruts because it's so hot out there and sometimes it doesn't really rain. I'm able to ride those kinds of ruts all the time, so I like that.
The Mini Sr. classes there this year were practically straight out of Loretta's. What did you think about the depth of the competition there?
Yeah, pretty much that's how it was. I was really happy with what I got, I pulled off the track the one time and I got handed an (LS2) Bomber Helmet and I was like "Oh, that's sick!" I think I got 6th overall in Mini Sr. and the older 85 class and I got 3rd overall in the younger class, so I was happy with that.
You must've made a lot of passes in that moto to get that helmet. It's a pretty sweet lid for a pit bike though, right?
Yeah, it's really nice! I haven't even worn it out yet 'cause I wasn't able to fit it in my luggage to go home, so the people that I went with still have it.
What was your perspective on the depth this year in the Mini Sr class? What's it like for you being a little bit on the younger side and racing against some of those kids?
Yeah, it's way different than riding in the (9-12) 'cause in that class there are a couple of fast kids like the top ten are fast, but in Mini Sr. 1 (9-13), everybody's pretty fast for the most part. You know that you're not secure or whatever when you're in 5th, you still have someone super fast coming up and you just gotta hold 'em off. It's a lot better whenever you're riding with way faster kids 'cause you pick up better lines seeing what they're doing and it helps you go faster.
That probably helps you when you get back on the gate for the (9-12) class as well.
Oh yeah, for sure. Whenever Logan (Best) passes me in practice, I just watch where he goes and then I use those lines in the races and I feel better than I did in practice.
You and Logan are pretty good buddies, right?
Yeah, we play video games all the time. His mom and dad are really nice, they fed me when I was at Spring A Ding Ding. I like him, he's cool.
He had a pretty good weekend at Spring A Ding Ding this year.
Yeah, he was goin' good. I was surprised! He was goin' way better than anyone else out there.
What do you think about the different plans for Loretta's this year?
I think it's pretty cool. I think the Super National would kind of be a little bit sketchy because any person can just go down there. The Super Regional doesn't really sound that bad, I would prefer to do that.
What were you thinking in terms of what classes you'll be running after Loretta's this year? Will you move up to both Mini Sr classes?
Yeah, probably just both Mini Sr classes and I actually haven't thought much about after Loretta's yet. I've just been focusing on riding and trying to stay in shape and not getting rusty during this downtime. This year is the first time I started working out in the gym with Gary and he said for right now we're just doing strength training, but when we get closer to Loretta's we’re going to be doing a lot more serious and harder cardio workouts to get ready.