Landin Pepperd had some strong results across the board throughout the 2019 racing season, putting himself on the box at many of the important races across the year. The Alaskan performed well on the west coast, proving his comfortability in the California soil as he scored a 2nd place overall result at the Cal Classic and Mammoth Motocross, in addition to a title at the AZ Open. Pepperd demonstrated top-five speed in the 85cc class at the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championship in August, showcasing the progression of his speed over the course of the racing season. Pepperd had the same raw pace at the few races he’s been able to contest in 2020, running towards the front of the pack at the Supercross Futures in Arlington. He ended the weekend at Spring A Ding Ding with a strong podium result, bouncing back from a slow start to rejuvenate his confidence and provide him with some serious motivation in the process. Pepperd has been grinding away on the track and in the gym down at Quick’s Moto Ranch, focusing on his technique and his fitness in order to stay prepared for Loretta’s later this year. We caught up with Landin to chat about flying bush planes back home in Alaska, training with Kyle Regal, and potentially getting on a supermini next year.
What have you been doing during the last few months to keep yourself active and entertained?
I've just been working really hard in the gym and on the track here at Quick's Moto Ranch. Just goin' fishin', playing ultimate soccer and basketball, keepin' myself busy. They do a great job down here.
What's it been like for you training down at Quick's Moto Ranch?
I've just been focusing on my technique because I was a little bit sloppy at Spring A Ding Ding. I made mistakes, but I was fast. I've just been working on my technique and they've really helped me with that. I'm just getting faster and faster.
Is there anything specific that you've been working on?
I've been trying to keep my body in the center of the handlebars like the center of the front number plate, so I can keep my leg up and tighten up the fundamentals basically.
What's it like for you to have the opportunity to train with an accomplished former professional rider like Kyle Regal?
Yeah, it's awesome! He has such good race experience; he knows what the feelings are and what to do and how the track feels. He's really awesome!
How long have you been training down there now?
We've been back and forth for as long as I've been down here, so like four years.
How do you typically split your time up between Alaska and Texas?
Well, we go home after Loretta's every year and then we come back down January-ish, sometimes for Ponca, and then we get to the grind.
When you're back home in Alaska, how much riding are you able to do up there?
I go to the local track a little bit, not much. But I do a couple of motos here and there. I have a big 'ole river like thirty minutes from my house,there are sand bars, so I go make a sand track right in the riverbed.
Most of the time when you're back in Alaska you're hunting and fishing and that sort of thing.
Oh yeah, Kyle came last year and we all went fly fishing.
Based on your social media, bush planes are a big part of your life up there. Do you actually have a license where you're able to fly one?
I don't, my dad does. But I have flown one before. My dad is actually home right now flying his airplane.
Do you use bush planes a lot when you're on hunting trips or whatever to get from point A to B or do you just take them for a cruise?
We use airplanes a lot. We go fly around, find a moose, land, spend the night, and go hunting the next morning.
So, you're actually tracking them from the plane. Is there anything specific that you're looking for from up there?
A big rack.
(laughs) An obvious answer but that makes sense. Did you go back to Alaska for a while when racing was canceled or have you stayed in Texas the whole time?
Nah, I've just been grinding down here at Quick's Moto Ranch.
Did you slow down or take a break at all with no racing going on?
I didn't slow down at all, I just even pushed harder. I'm taking Corona as a gift.
At the beginning of this season, did you do any Supercross Futures or any other races?
I did the Supercross Futures in Dallas and it didn't go so well. I was really fast, but I crashed on the last lap.
One of the silver linings is that you got to race in a pretty cool stadium, though.
It's so cool. That stadium is so big, it's awesome!
How'd Spring A Ding Ding go for you this year? You really picked it up in the second motos compared to the first motos, what sort of changes did you make between them?
Yeah, I just started figuring it out and got a mindset where I'm better than this and I can go battle with these kids. I just went for it.
Did it feel good to get that 3rd place in the second Mini Sr. 1 moto to prove that to yourself?
Yeah, it was awesome. I was really stoked to get the fastest lap time in that moto, too.
Talk a little bit about the depth of talent in the Mini Sr. division this year.
There are so many fast kids in the Mini Sr class and it's just who put in the most work and makes the least mistakes. There are just so many fast kids; anyone in the top ten could get a holeshot and win.
What's the mentality like racing in that class where you don't have one second to take a breather without someone trying to pass you?
Yeah, that's why we've been working on our technique, so we can have no mistakes and why we've been working hard in the gym, so we can push as hard as we can as long as we can.
What're your plans going into Loretta's this year and have you figured out what your plans would be for the end of the season moving into next year?
I've just been working as hard as I can; I'm confident and I feel ready for Loretta's, like I can go there and throw down with the top kids. Maybe I'll get on the supermini next year and ride Mini Sr. and Supermini 1.