Chase Andersen really began to make a name for himself in the latter stages of the 2019 racing season, starting at Loretta Lynn’s when he knocked on the door of the top ten in the 65cc (10-11) class. The rider out of Alaska made a massive sacrifice to stay in Oklahoma and live in the family’s race trailer by himself, spending more time away from his family than ever before to concentrate on his training and preparation for the end of the season. The improvements really began to show at Mini Os as the Yamaha rider found his flow on the outdoor track with a moto win and an additional podium finish, claiming 2nd overall in the 65cc (10-11) class. His results at Gatorback earned him a spot on the EBR Performance Altus Motorsports Yamaha team as a part of Yamaha’s development program, inspiring him with loads of confidence for the 2020 racing season. He spent the winter back in his home state of Alaska and put his best effort forward at Spring A Ding Ding in March, feeling more and more comfortable on the bike as the week went on. Andersen spent the majority of the quarantine back home, riding at his family’s track and doing lots of fishing and taking advantage of the great Alaskan outdoors. We reached out to Chase while he was getting ready for the thirteen-hour flight to Oklahoma to talk about the upcoming Loretta Lynn’s Regionals, his results last season and what he’s got planned for this year.
What did you do during the few months that there was no racing happening?
I was blessed during this time being from Alaska and owning our own track. We were able to continue our normal training regiment. We weren’t able to open the track to the public and we canceled our 2020 race season and couldn’t invite up friends that I usually train with. I was blessed though and able to stay on the bike. My dad took this time to redevelop our track and build some national level obstacles.
Did you take some time away from riding when racing was initially canceled and postponed?
We were at JS7 when they canceled the event. I was really looking forward to carrying my momentum forward and having a great event. When it canceled, we still had two weeks left in Texas and Oklahoma area so we took the entry fee money and paid a guide on Lake Texoma. We had a great time catching some big bass! We spent the next week rebuilding and setting up our race trailer to be more comfortable for camping in and future races.
What was your riding situation like the last couple of months during the quarantine?
Alaska was one of the first states to open up and allow racing so we were able to race a couple of events in Anchorage. The first month was mainly just training at our facility. Due to us not opening the track up to the public my dad was able to cut in training sections and build a rut track that goes throughout the track. We were concerned about going to the hospitals so we were working on more corner drills than anything else. I did still have some riding buddies, my aunt and uncle both have houses at our track and I was able to train with my cousins. We decided to do a group family quarantine and this allowed us all to train and hang out still.
What do you like to do for fun and entertainment outside of moto?
Fishing, gaming, and playing around the facility with my cousins. Alaska has a lot to offer outdoors.
How do you typically split your time between Alaska and Oklahoma?
The last two years since we signed with Yamaha, we have five contracted races that the EBR Performance Altus Motorsports Yamaha Development team requires us at. We typically fly in as early as we can to acclimate to the weather and the three hour time change. This is usually around two weeks before the race prior to the Area Qualifier, Regional, Ponca, or Mini Olympics. In the winter in Alaska, we try to fly down at least once for training and do a month or so regime to keep my pencil sharp. We have met so many amazing people along the route and currently keep our race trailer at my best friend Maverick Gish's Facility. It has turned into a great track and training facility that we stay at and leave our race trailer at.
What was it like for you last year before Mini Os staying in Oklahoma on your own and living in your race trailer to focus more on your training?
I was always so close to getting a title that I knew if I stayed and trained it would be within reach. It was hard being away from my family and friends but Robbie Smith and Trey Roberts really made me feel comfortable enough to stay and train. Robbie had me on a five day a week regime including morning runs, gym workouts, and around four hours a day of riding. I was in the best shape I have ever been and hungry for Loretta’s and Mini Os!
How did the week of racing at Mini Os end up going for you?
It was the best national of my life! I started the event off qualifying in the top five of every qualifying heat in every class. Me and my dad watched the GoPro videos, saw a few minor line choices that were costing me that little bit of time needed to get up front and hold it. When the mains started, I felt great and I got the holeshot in my stock class and led the entire moto till the white flag. I made a minor mistake on the wall, laid my bike over, I picked it up and still was able to salvage a third. The next class was my mod class. I once again got the holeshot and led the race and this time everything clicked. I was the only rider in the class hitting the second triple, my dad goes “buddy, you hit the triple, what made you do it?” and I told him I was in the lead and didn’t want the second-placed guy to pass me on it. I ended up hitting it every lap which gave me breathing room for my lead. There was a very close moment in the end when a lapper had got in the way and forced me out of the fast line. When I moved over it gave the second place rider the ability to pass me, I had to react fast and cut the next corner short and blew wide. We ended up hitting each other in the air with me edging ahead barely for the win! After my 1st and 3rd place performances my dad said we should go walk the pits and introduce ourselves to some of the race teams, so I put my gold and bronze medal on my neck and went and met a few teams. This led us to the EBR Performance trailer where Josh Rodgers encouraged us to reach out to him, ultimately leading to us signing with Altus and the Yamaha development team!
What’s it been like this year for you so far racing two 65cc classes and two 85cc classes?
It's been really tough and really fun at the same time. This year has been a blast with Yamaha’s backing and EBR and Altus at the track really has made racing a lot more fun. I have always wanted to have my bikes sitting in one of the factory trailers pits and now it's a reality. I’m just very happy to be on a team, knowing my bikes are jetted and dialed in every time I see my bike sitting in EBR’s pits, it reminds me of my win and how hard I worked to make it happen.
What was your weekend of racing like at Spring A Ding Ding?
Spring a Ding Ding and JS7 are usually my worst nationals of the year as I come back from ice fishing and riding snow machines. It takes me a few races usually to break my cobwebs off and get back in the top ten. However, this year, I was ready and really had a great first event for being off the bike for four months. I ended up top five in both my 65 classes. We pulled out of the second motos on my 85 as my dad saw me fading and didn’t want to risk an injury. All in all, it was a great first race back and I was really bummed I couldn’t drive the momentum into JS7!
What do you think about the track layout at Underground MX?
I really like their training track over at Quick’s Moto Ranch. We were able to spend a little time with Zak Mashburn and Kyle Regal before the event although we didn’t get to ride the main track, but they helped me break my cobwebs off pretty fast!
What do you think about the Super Regional format for Loretta’s this year and what’re your plans for those?
Honestly, for us it is one less trip to qualify so it was easier. It was a little scary with the registration online process but it all worked out well. We are planning on racing at the North Central Regional at Lincoln Trail and are registered for the South Central for a backup plan.
Do you have any goals and expectations set for yourself going to Loretta Lynn’s this year?
My dad always says to take it one race at a time so at this point we really hope I make it in. I really want to have a good Loretta’s. A top three would really boost my confidence going into next year on 85's only. My best place is 5th and I’ve qualified five years in a row. I’m always just barely out of the top three and I feel I know the track now better than I ever have and could pull off a win if it all clicks for me at the event. For now though, qualifying at Lincoln Trail is what’s on my mind!!
Have you thought about what you’ll do after Loretta’s heading into 2021 in terms of what classes you’ll be racing?
I broke into the 85 class this year and am really enjoying it. I’m pretty small for them but am still able to throw it around pretty good. If all goes well we plan on racing the 85cc (10-12) stock and mod class all next season on the national level. Alaska families and businesses have really helped me make this dream come true! We don’t have any pro teams in Alaska so the people really stand behind youth athletes. None of this would be possible without my Alaska sponsors, air miles, and cash. We spend around 10k a year just on airplane tickets!