In case you missed it…
Catching Up with…Blake Savage
By Billy Rainford
For 2016, #16 belongs to the rider out of Utah we got to know very well over the past few years. Blake Savage could be one of the nicest riders you’ll ever meet. The fun-loving rider has blistering speed and now calls California home.
I spoke with Blake for a long time in January out in California. You may have seen him in your social media feed as he has teamed up with none other that Ken Roczen as a training partner. It seems to be working. In our conversation, Blake made it clear that he would still be racing at the top level if the grind of finding a good ride every year wasn’t as difficult as it is. He said it’s just too hard to show up at these races without the top equipment, so he has moved away from the weekly Pro racing scene. To be honest, I’ve never seen him happier!
We got in touch with Blake in his home state of Utah today to get caught up on what he’s been up to. Here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Blake. We saw you out in California this past January and you filled us in on your newest ventures, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s start with a bit of background, if you don’t mind. Where are you from and how did you get into motocross racing?
My background with racing starts when I was about age 5. My parents had bought me a Yamaha 50 to just play around on. I remember I learned to ride on Friday, and my dad took me out to the local track the next day to go race. Ever since it’s been a huge part of mine and my family’s life, and I’m very thankful my parents got me into riding because it’s shaped me into who I am today and have gotten to meet many great people because of it.
You were in a very fast group of amateur racers coming up through the ranks. Can you tell us who some of your contemporaries were?
I took a different path in my amateur career. I started out in moto just like anyone else, and I was never a big standout till I went Intermediate and Pro my last 2 years. At age 13, I got an offer to race off road races for a factory Suzuki team. It was a great experience and I learned a ton of bike skill. I won a couple mini bike championships which was really cool. After about 4-5 years of racing that, the team ended up folding, so I was stuck with going back to my roots of racing amateur motocross races.
What was your best big amateur national results?
In 2011, I went to Loretta’s for my first time and got two 2nd place overalls in 250B Mod and 450B Mod. That was pretty much the highlight of my career. Other than that, I had some decent finishes and podiums at other nationals. Like I said, I didn’t have a ton of success as an amateur until the end. I was kind of a late bloomer and feel like I matured a bit slower than the other kids so it took me longer to get stronger and aggressive to be faster.
You turned Pro and made your way up to Canada. How did that all come about?
After getting a top 5 in the pro class at Loretta’s in 2012, I showed up at Walton and raced for the GDR Honda team as a fill in for Tyler Medaglia. I got 2 good starts and my best finish in a moto was 4th, and I believe I got 5th overall my first big Pro race at Walton.
You really seemed to fit in up here. Can you sum up that first year?
I enjoyed it a lot being in Canada! I got invited back in 2013 by the GDR team, and I was very thankful for it. Unfortunately, I got hurt at the end of Supercross that year and struggled with a wrist injury the whole summer. It started off slow and got better as the series went on. I got some top 5’s and only got 1 podium, ended up 5th in the series, I believe. I had learned a ton that summer and knew I would like to come back and race another year.
You came back last year and raced MX2 for the Devil’s Lake MX team. Can you take us through last summer, briefly?
Yeah, it was a lot of fun again! I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but it all ended up working out and had some decent rides last summer.
You finished 5th in the series. What were some of your highlights? Lowlights?
Highlight was definitely a podium at Deschambault again, as well as riding pretty good at Gopher Dunes but had small mistakes that kept me off the podium. There were a couple lowlights that were maybe out of my control.
What did you do after Walton?
After Walton, I went home and went to work for my girlfriend’s dad’s doing concrete. I was kind of over moto and wanted a break away from some of the struggles that come with it. Working a regular job helped me take my mind off of it. At that point, I was almost having me fun digging ditches and finishing concrete more than I was dealing with all the other BS.
OK, when I saw you in California, you mentioned your newest venture helping out Ken Roczen. Can you tell us how this came up and what it means exactly?
Ken and I had started training with each other about 2 months before the Nationals. It worked out great, and it helped the both of us push each other and made it fun to put in the work during the week. So, he approached me to continue full-time as an employee to train full-time with him. That’s pretty much all it started out as, and it’s turned out to be something positive for the both of us.
I keep in contact with Peter, who is Ken’s trainer, and keep a plan and make sure we’re doing the right work loads during the week and make sure everything is going to plan. Working with Peter sparked an interest for me to get into physical training and get an education, so I have been doing some classes and school work to learn more about the human body and training.
We found you in your home state of Utah today. What are you up to?
I flew home for the weekend to see the family, my girlfriend, and friends. My dad asked me about 2 weeks ago and said, “What do you think about doing this off road race for fun.” I thought about it for a little while. I haven’t raced since Walton and I have only rode maybe 3-4 times. I got on the bike and started riding a couple times a week and my speed and fitness came back faster than I expected, so I called my dad up and said let’s do this thing! So, this Sunday I’m doing a 2-hour off road race through the local desert and sand dunes. I have just a stock Suzuki 450, but it will be a blast to just be back at the races with my family, and no pressure on myself.
After this weekend, what’s next for you?
Back to the normal routine again. I fly back to Florida again on Monday to continue training, and I will actually be training for a triathlon at the beginning of next month. I also finish up the first part of my school in the next week or two.
It sounds like you are very happy with this new chapter in your life. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m happier than I have been in a long time, actually. I have no stress in my life, and I am just enjoying every day focused on something new. In my future, I would just like to see myself working with top level athletes in many different sports. I’m still very young and have a lot to learn, so I’m just going to take it slow. I’m lucky to have the job I do and I am able to learn a lot ever day.
Well, good luck, Blake. Thanks for chatting with us today. Who would you like to thank?
Thanks a lot, Billy! I definitely have to thank my family, and especially my dad for all the years of going to the races and all his support. I want thank some of the people that continue to support me and are still like family to me, and they are Beeks and Austin at Fox, as well as Russ at 100% goggles. Thanks for everything!