Catching Up with…Davi Millsaps
By Billy Rainford
We grabbed KTM Thor Racing rider #118 Davi Millsaps for a chat after his 2-1 win this past weekend at Whispering Pines in Kamloops, BC.
Hey, Davi. Finally, we are getting a chance to talk to you, and everyone seems to have different ideas on how you were going to do. First, let’s back it up a bit and talk about how you got the chance to come up here and race in Canada?
It was pretty last-minute to come up here. As you know, my bike got driven across the border Friday night so everything came together really last-minute. We tried to break it in the best we could before I came up here but there was so much last-minute stuff it just took a long time to get it all squared away. But I think for the last month it was when we knew we were coming up here so let’s get everything ready and as you know a month isn’t really a lot of time to get things in order for a different country. Even though it’s just across the line and not far, it can still be complicated even though there is no wall there yet! (Laughs). And let’s hope there will never be a wall!
Let’s not get into that stuff!
Ah no, the wall can be down south if there is going to be one! But in all seriousness, it was nice to be able to come up here. JSR and Florian (Burguet) with the KTM Thor team gave me the opportunity to come up here and do something during the summer as I had the summer off. Then, John Eric and Roger DeCoster and Ian from KTM, they all were part of it and it was a big deal for them to come up here. They asked me to do them a favour and I gladly said yes. They did a lot for me this past year, and as much as they did for me it is really hard to repay them, so coming up here and winning hopefully helps!
Let’s take a moment and talk about the track. I guess it doesn’t make much difference to you as this is your first time here, but they did end up running the track backwards. What did you think of it? A lot of people said it was a bit awkward?
It took a long time to figure that out and a lot of time to figure out what turn was what. It was definitely different, and to be honest, it was brutal!
You mentioned on the podium this was a different year and you haven’t raced outdoors in 4 years and this was a tough track.
Yeah, I raced the US GP in September and that was a tough race. I only had a week to get ready for that one so I don’t really count it. But as far as racing a series it has been since 2012 and I only did six rounds then. It was one of the roughest tracks I have ever ridden but it was a different kind of rough. When you go to the states the roughness starts at the beginning of the turns and coming right out of it but it opens up and you have more line choices. Here at this track, the only time you weren’t hitting a bump was when you were in the air! It has bumps all around the track and it never ended. It was fun and I feel like if you can do 35 minutes around this place you can do 35 minutes anywhere.
Just wait to we get to Gopher dunes. I know you have heard all the talk about it but you will see!
But it’s a different kind of rough. It’s a sand rough. It’s rolling.
There is humidity to!
I am from Florida!
We must have hit over 100 degrees here what did you think of that?
It was pretty humid! I had it on my phone and we had some pretty good humidity here. It was definitely hotter the first moto. But I didn’t have very good gear on wearing black and orange sure didn’t help. Second moto, I cut some holes in it and it definitely helped. All in all, I think it is going to be a fun season. It is laid back and a fun environment. Tracks are different than in the states but that isn’t always a bad thing.
It’s laid back and different for sure but it is fun in different ways.
It reminds of a lot of amateur tracks I raced growing up in the states. I don’t want that to be taken out of context and turned into a bad thing. They still turn out to be national caliber tracks. But some of the ones I raced back in Texas like Lake Whitney, those places reminded me of this Kamloops. Really rough and nowhere to breath. I haven’t ridden amateurs since 2003, so it has been a long time.
I want to talk to you about that second moto there. You got off to good pace and got a good lead going but then Colton Facciotti and Matt Goerke started closing up a bit. I did overhear you took it a little easy out there in the end?
To me the track was pretty brutal. I was riding a good pace in the beginning and I got a good gap. Once I got that gap I knew I didn’t have to go that pace out there the whole 35 minutes. The track was rough and dangerous as it was I didn’t want to end up on my head. I backed it down and hit my lines and it has been a long time since I raced two motos so I wanted to make sure I had it in me. It got to the point though that if I had to do another lap I could have. It was just to the point if you win by 20 or 1 second you still win.
I go back home I train and I show up to race in racing shape. It’s up to me. I am only going to get stronger from here and I need to get my starts in order and just have fun. Colton rode a great race. He was a late charger. It definitely keeps you on your toes and it is fun for us and the fans. It is not fun for the fans when I had a 25-second lead. The battle for second was fun. I heard them cheering for them. It makes the sport more exciting and that’s why the fans come…for great racing.
You were pretty comical up there on the podium talking about next week at Naniamo. You kept talking about the different stories you have heard about it.
You hear so many stories about Naniamo. Since the moment racing in Canada was even a thought, me coming to Naniamo was the only track everyone said was one 99.9% of them don’t like it. There is one person who likes it and that is Kaven Benoit my team mate and he is the only person who has said it was good and he has led every lap there for the past two years so he must ride it really well. I came here with an open mind and I will go there with an open mind. Now knowing kind of what to expect is going to make it easier for sure.
I have to be honest. You kind of need to shuffle the deck here at each of our tracks. You are going to see a lot of different stuff.
I heard that most of them are smaller and tighter and I didn’t really know how tight they meant and this one was really tight.
Naniamo is way tighter!
That’s not a bad thing. When you’re going 4th gear wide open on a 450 it’s not that fun. Going a little slower is always nice. I am going there with an open mind and we will find out what happens.
Awesome, man. You can tell the fans are really happy to see you up here. We just keep getting more and more top level American riders. Did anything surprise you here when you looked at the riders? I guess it looked kind of familiar to you. You see Goerke, Metcalfe, Alessi and those guys.
Yeah, you know, I’ve raced Goerke my whole life and then obviously Alessi I have known him for a while. (Vince) Friese and those guys. The only guy I haven’t raced was Facciotti. Metcalfe I have raced forever, so it was definitely familiar faces and most of them are really cool so that makes it nice. We are all trying to win and whatever happens at the end of the day we are all still going to go home and be friends. It is nice how laid back it is here.
Colton made that point that he was happy that you made a clean pass on him. He has said before that some of the Americans come up here and aren’t “so nice” was his exact quote so he was happy with your pass on him. It is going to be a good series and we are happy to have you hear. You have some people waiting for autographs so let’s thank some sponsors.
As far as sponsors go my main ones are KTM Thor Racing, Scott, Airoh, my mechanic Paul who drove here all the way. He left Thursday night and they got here Friday night so they pinned it. There has been a lot of people who have been behind me and making things happen. From KTM Carlos, Roger and Ian and John Eric and Florian and JSR. We all came together and we made the decision to come here. I want to thank them a lot for giving me the opportunity and my wife for coming!
I think she is ready to go.
Yeah, she is likely hungry. I made her have a cold shower this morning so she isn’t very happy with me!
Thanks, Davi, and we will see you on the Island!
Thanks, and see you in Naniamo.