On the Radar | Julien Benek | Presented by Scott Sports Canada
By Billy Rainford
‘On the Radar’ is our look at riders who are on their way through the amateur ranks. This time, we had to move quickly because 15-year-old Julien Benek is starting to make waves in the Pro/Am class and will likely be a rider we’re talking about more this summer when he competes in the nationals.
Name: Julien Benek
Hometown: Mission, BC
School and Grade: MEI Secondary and grade 10
Race Club or Series: Future West
Classes: 250, Open Intermediate and Pro Am Lights
How did you get started riding and racing?
My dad was a racer before me and he got me on a dirt bike on my second birthday, and then I got my own Honda 50 and that’s where it all started.
What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
My first race number was 70, but I’m not to sure how I got the number. It was so long ago I don’t even know where to start.
What’s your favourite subject in school?
What is your favourite track and why?
My favourite track in Canada is probably Walton or Kamloops, but in North America it’s probably FOX RaceWay.
Who is your favourite rider and why?
Colton Facciotti because he is so smooth on the track and he keeps his composure when there’s a problem on the track.
Who is your hero?
Not too sure but probably my dad because he got me started on dirt bikes and I wouldn’t be where I am now without him.
How did your 2019 season go? Did you meet your expectations?
I think it went pretty well. I tried a couple outdoor pro nationals at the beginning of the season and did OK, considering I was only 14, but other than that I think I surprised myself in Areanacross. I didn’t think that I was going to be getting podiums in the pro class my first time racing it so I think that was pretty cool.
What are your winter plans?
I’m going down to California for a month and going to be trying to get ready for the nationals. Hoping to come out swinging.
What are your goals for next season, and what is it going to take to reach them?
I’m hoping to be able to top 10 at the nationals and keep it that way all the way through the nationals. It’s going to take a lot of training and hard work but I think I can get it done.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
Probably winning two national championships at Walton on little bikes but hoping to make some more this season.
You ended up 3rd overall in the 2020 Future West Moto AX series and were on the podium a few times. What was racing at that level like?
It was nerve racking the first couple races but now it just feels like I’m going out for another Intermediate race because I know I can be at almost the top step every moto.
What was the highlight for you?
I think being able to podium not just one weekend but several. I didn’t really expect that out of myself so it was very surprising.
What is your favourite part about going to the races?
Probably being able to hang out with all my friends and have fun on and off the track. Driving to the races is a different story…
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
Probably riding my pit bike or mountain biking. I’m currently rebuilding a 1997 CR125 and it’s turning out pretty well. The motor is almost done and I’m going to get the wheels all laced up and she should be ready to go.
Who would you like to thank?
ED from GA Checkpoint, FOX, Shift, SSS Suspension, SKY Racing, Atlas Brace, Kevin Lepp, my dad, Statton Rock design and build, Yamaha Motor Canada.