Bjorn Viney made the transition to the A class last year at The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City and immediately began to gain traction, meanwhile putting in some strong results in the Collegeboy division. The Canadian by way of Southern California took the title in the Collegeboy class at Ponca City and landed on the overall podium in the same class at Mini Os while continually making improvements in the A class as he progressed his speed. The Kawasaki rider mixed it up in a few of the west coast Supercross Futures rounds throughout the beginning of the 2020 season, coming within one point of gaining his pro license with a handful of solid finishes in the 250 Futures class. Viney stayed in the same form at Spring A Ding Ding where he went 1-1 in the Collegeboy class and earned a 2nd place overall in the Open Pro Sport division. Since racing has been put on hiatus for the time being, he’s been focused on improving his craft out in California until competition returns. We hopped on a phone call with Bjorn to get his perspective on the quarantine thus far, his viewpoint on Supercross Futures, and some insight on his future plans to transition to the pros.
What have you been doing the last few months during the lockdown and how has it affected your day-to-day?
It hasn't actually affected my day-to-day very much. I wake up and do my run then I ride and do my workouts and stuff; it's all the same. My gym never got shut down, the only difference is if I go to the dentist or something you've gotta wear a mask or the grocery store, but that's about it. It hasn't really been that difficult for me and my family I don't think.
How did the recent situation with all of the tracks being shut down affect your riding and training situation?
Yeah, it didn't affect us at all really. Pretty much when everything was at the peak of everybody being scared, it was raining a lot here so we'd just go ride tracks that we'd make in flat areas. We'd just make rut tracks and stuff. Me and Noah ride Haiden Deegan's house a lot and then we'd ride at our house, too. We've been riding three or four days a week every week no problem.
Did you take some time off right after racing was canceled back in March?
I just kept doing my normal thing. My life is pretty chill anyways with moto, it's not really that big of a deal to do my training and stuff. At the end of the day, after I've done all my training and everything, I just hop on Modern Warfare and play with my buddies but that's pretty much it.
All of this has opened up quite a bit more downtime with no racing going on at all, what have you been doing to occupy your free time?
My dad makes us do lots of chores and stuff now that he's home a bunch 'cause usually he's flying for work, but now that he's home he's got us doing chores. I've been doing some airsoft and stuff with my buddies, like Haiden goes airsofting with us all of the time. Like I said, the COVID thing really hasn't slowed us down at all; nothing has really changed for us.
What's your role like as an older brother helping Noah progress through his career in amateur motocross?
Noah is pretty stubborn if I try to tell him anything since I'm his brother, so I usually just stand out there and stay quiet, let his trainer do his thing and just watch him. I take videos of him and make sure he's got gas and all that and that's pretty much my role. I try not to say anything bad about him or anything just to keep his confidence up. He's been goin' really good, like today he was really goin' fast on the supercross track.
You moved up to the A class last year at Ponca and won the title there in the Collegeboy class as well as an overall podium in the Collegeboy class at Mini Os. How was the end of the 2019 season for you?
When I first moved up to the A class is kind of like when I was really griding and then I did pretty good in the A class at Ponca, I got like 9th and 6th or something like that. Then I got the championship in Collegeboy and whenever we went to Mini Os, I was definitely fast enough and well prepared to win that title but I just had some issues in the heat race. I just had a bad start or whatever and I passed a lot of guys, but I think I got a 5th or something. So it just didn't set me up well for the overall and I got 3rd in that one. I rode really good in the A class, I was definitely holding my own, I just didn't have the pace of the top guys. There was like a group of three guys that were the best guys and I was in that second group. At Spring A Ding Ding this year, I definitely had a lot more momentum there. I had the pace of the top guys so I got 3rd overall there (in Open Pro Sport) so I was pretty happy with that and then I also got a championship there in Collegeboy.
Did you do any Supercross Futures or anything before Spring A Ding Ding?
Yeah, I've been doing lots of the Futures. They went good, but I pretty much got dead last on every start I did. I managed to come through the pack most of the races and do pretty well. I was riding super good and it helped me a lot, too, 'cause I was able to figure out how to pass lots of guys on a tight little track. I was pretty annoyed; I had such bad starts in every round and I dunno why. I did good though, I was only one point away from my pro license. I was hoping to do another one in Colorado but then it got canceled, so I didn't get my pro points for this year. I was going to try and race a couple of Supercross rounds this year, but it didn't work out. I did the Loretta Lynn Area Qualifier at Hangtown; I did really good the first day, I think I got three out of four holeshots. The next day, I got the holeshot again and on a downhill there was a slick spot and I crashed and popped my shoulder out. So that day was kind of ruined but I still went out and rode the motos and got qualified.
What did you think of the tracks at Supercross Futures this year?
Honestly, I don't like the tracks how they are right now. I feel like it's better to keep them completely tamed down or super gnarly. When you have them in between, that's when people do things that aren't meant to be done and that's how people get injured. The one round at Glendale when a lot of the riders -- three top riders like Matthew LeBlanc, Jett Reynolds, and Stilez Robertson all crashed on that triple-triple-quad rhythm. I'm pretty sure the track builders didn't know people would do that, but people in the A class and B class are pretty sendy with that stuff so a lot of those guys were trying to go for that and crashing. I say that they should either keep it full spec supercross or just have it how it was in years past. I think it's way better to just have the track as gnarly as possible because then people will actually think before they do things. If the track is too easy, then people get way too confident and that's how injuries happen. Same with the whoops, when the whoops are as small as they are they're way more sketchy than big ones. You get too confident and then you make dumb errors and miss them trying to go too fast, but that's my take on it.
You mentioned you were one point away from getting your pro license for Supercross, would you consider doing a few of the Pro Motocross rounds or doing some pro races up in Canada?
Actually, I was going to take a break from Canadian racing this year. This year is pretty much ruined for Loretta's I think, everything is kind of outta wack. I was really trying to push, I know it's a long shot, but I was really tryin' to get a championship in the A class or Collegeboy at Loretta's, that'd be really cool. I was really grinding for that and whenever I found out it was all canceled and stuff that kind of sucked. Training for Loretta's has kind of been put away for us in a way because we've just been riding supercross pretty much every day. We haven't really been riding too much outdoors just because like you said the tracks are closed and all the tracks we have access to are supercross. I actually don't need the pro points to race Supercross, I can just call the FIM or whatever and get a license that way but I wanted to get mine the right way instead of just calling and getting one. They were talking about doing races in Arizona, but I think those aren't happening anymore now.
Do you have any idea what you're thinking in terms of when you'll be transitioning to the pros?
No, we haven't really talked about it 'cause we're just playing it by ear. Loretta's is supposed to happen this year I guess now, but there are just lots of things that are floating in there where it's not really for sure. We've just gotta play it by ear and keep training and doing our thing.
In an ideal world, do you have any preference making that jump in Monster Energy Supercross or Pro Motocross first?
I don't know. I think they're both equal in my mind. The outdoors would be pretty gnarly because of the long motos but Supercross would be gnarly because people are way more aggressive than they are in outdoors ‘cause there's only one line. Supercross would definitely be cooler, because I feel like Pro Motocross is kind of like an amateur race where everyone is pretty spread out and there's not as many fans, but Supercross is one of a kind, ya know. You got tons of fans in the stands so I'd rather do Supercross just because of that.