ICYMI | Catching Up with…#800 Mike Alessi
By Billy Rainford
Mike Alessi came up through the American amateur ranks like a house on fire. I’m not sure if that’s an appropriate cliché, but I’m going with it. He won everything is sight and had a historic charge through the big Amateur Nationals, battling Ryan Villopoto every step of the way.
Mike has chosen his familiar #800 as his Canadian career number, so he will be easy to spot again this summer. However, do to social media, what team he’ll be riding for may be the worst kept secret in the industry, and we both attempt to continue the vagueness in this interview.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Mike. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. First off, congratulations on the announcement of your first child coming, a baby girl. Let’s start by reflecting on your 2017 season. You finished 4th in the series. How would you sum up your summer in Canada?
Mike Alessi: Hey, Billy. Thank you. The wife and I are very excited for this next chapter. I had a great time racing this past summer. I did something different and drove my RV to all the East Coast rounds. It was a lot of fun to see more of Canada and not just fly in and out every weekend.
What was the highlight of your season?
I would say the highlight of my season was winning Gopher Dunes. As you know, I was robbed of a win there back in 2014 when I ran out of gas. I have always enjoyed that track and to win there was a great feeling not only for me but for my team as it was their first win in 3 years.
We hit a couple new tracks last season. What did you think of Prince George and Bon Conseil?
I really enjoyed Prince George. I thought the uphill start and different elevations on the track made for great racing. Bon Conseil was also a fun track. I felt the track itself was a great addition to the series. I really liked the big jumps they had on the track.
You mention you had fun traveling the country. What was the highlight of your sightseeing?
I would say the entire trip was the highlight. I’ve always heard great things about Canada but never experienced anything but airports, hotels and race tracks. To take the summer and drive from race to race was something I will never forget.
What did you get up to when the season ended?
After the season was over, I came home to a hurricane coming through Florida. I’ve never been home in Florida while one came through so it was an experience. We didn’t have power for 4 days. Aside from that, just taking time off and enjoying being home. I don’t get to do that very often.
You’re obviously not racing Supercross. Do you miss it and why exactly don’t we see you out there anymore?
I decided at this point in my career it would be better for me to slow down a bit and take some time to let my body heal. We athletes put our bodies through a vigorous training regimen. After so many years it takes a toll and sometimes you just need to step back so you can come back even stronger.
Who do you say wins the 450 Supercross title in 2018?
I honestly don’t know who is going to win. It’s 3 rounds in and has already been crazy! I’m excited to see what happens.
OK, so it hasn’t been announced officially, but I think we all know you’re coming back to Canada and racing a green bike. Can you tell us about this deal? When did you start talking with them etc?
Am I allowed to say I plead the fifth?
(Apparently, yes) It’s hard to believe, but you’re getting older now. Are you going to finish your career in our great country or will there be another run south of the border?
At this point in my career I am getting older and am enjoying racing in Canada. I always told myself I would race until I felt I was no longer competitive or it wasn’t fun for me any longer. I am still having a great time so who’s to say what the future holds for me and how much longer I plan to go.
You’re obviously after a title, how many more years will you chase that?
I just want to be competitive and fighting for that top spot every weekend.
You seem to be really good at helping younger riders at the track. What do you see yourself doing after you finish racing?
I really enjoy being around the fans and trying my best to help out any way I can at the track. I want to give back to them for all of the support they have always given me. I’m not sure what I plan to do after racing. My entire focus as of right now is racing and being competitive.
Are you doing the entire Rockstar Triple Crown series?
At the moment I do not have plans to compete in the Rockstar Triple Crown. If that changes, you will just have to wait and see.
How is the testing and training going?
I took a good couple months off and am just starting to get back into the swing of it. I had a nice little rest and am ready to be better than ever.
OK, see you up in Canada soon. Good luck with the rest of your preparation. Who would you like to thank?
At the moment I’d like to thank you, Billy, for the interview (Laughs).