Catching Up with…Kaven Benoit
By Billy Rainford
In case you missed it in this week’s Frid’Eh Update, here’s our conversation with two-time Canadian MX2 champion, #11 Kaven Benoit:
Kaven Benoit is currently training down at Club MX in South Carolina. We stopped in to see how he’s doing a couple weeks ago. He looks great on the 450 and was tossing it around just like he did the smaller bikes. We grabbed him for a quick update to get his thoughts on everything.
Check out what Kaven had to say about his titles, training at a different facility, changing mechanics, and his upcoming rookie 450 season. – Bigwave photo
Direct Motocross: Hello, Kaven. Let’s start with your 2015 season. 2 MX2 titles in a row, how was last summer for you?
Kaven Benoit: Hey, Billy! Last summer was a dream season for me. I won 7 out of the 10 overalls so can’t really ask for more. I felt great all season long and didn’t have any bad weekends.
Was 2014 or 2015 more difficult?
I would say 2014 was more demanding, having to deal with someone that rides aggressive. I don’t know if there is one that was tougher than the other. I always give 100% every moto so it’s hard to say if there was a tougher one.
#27 Kaven Benoit grabbing a holehot in Morden circa 2009. – Bigwave photo
If you hadn’t won this past summer, would you still be moving up to the MX1 class?
Yes, that was the plan. The goal was to win a least one MX2 championship but my contract was already set to ride MX1 for 2016.
What did you do after the final round at Walton Raceway last summer?
After Walton I raced the last round of the AMA nationals in Indiana. I had lots of fun there with only 3 days on the 450. I got a respectable 20th place overall so was happy with my weekend. After that I didn’t do any more races. I showed up for an off-road race at home but it was cancelled due to the accident that happened with Marianne Brodeur. I rode until end of November on my 450 putting a few hours on that to prepare for this season and that’s about it.
Kaven moves up to the 450 class this year after winning the previous two MX2 titles. – Bigwave photo
Now you’re down training at Club MX. How has that been going for you?
Yes, this year I changed the routine and tried out Club MX. I am staying at the practice facility doing my own thing and I’m loving it so far. The place is incredible with 3 tracks to offer always in perfect conditions. Guys here are really good people and taking care of their facility so much. I will be back for sure and people should try out this facility if they haven’t yet.
Who do you train and ride with usually?
I’m down here with Shawn Robinson. We ride together and there are other fast guys training here like Mike Alessi, Cameron McAdoo, Aaron Lampi, Cade Clason and more.
Do you ever spin laps with any of them?
Hopefully, I will get to ride together soon but so far it hasn’t happened that much. I am doing my own thing so I would have to get friendly with them a bit more (Laughs).
Let’s talk about your ex-mechanic, Jerome Therrien, not coming back this year. Why is he not returning? What has he meant to you over the last 9 years?
Yeah, Jerome is not coming back this year. Hard decision for him to take but it was time for him to put more hours into his towing company. He will show up at some races, I’m sure. This guy has been part of my success over the last 9 years and we went through so much together. We started from long ways and we accomplished big things together as a team. I will miss him at the races for sure.
Kaven’s mechanic of 9 years, Jerome Therrien, will not return in 2016. – Bigwave photo
Who will replace him?
It is not 100% sure yet but I think 90% so I will have to wait before saying anything. A good friend of mine…
Do you enjoy riding/racing the 450?
Yeah, for sure. Everyday I’m loving it more and more. It is a big challenge to switch to the 450 and I’m making progress. I feel at home on the KTM and I’m looking forward to going racing on it.
What is it going to take to battle up near the front in this extremely competitive MX1 field in 2016?
It will be tough, for sure. I will try to have good starts to run with these guys and work hard all summer long. It is my rookie year on the big bike so I want to improve all year and hopefully be up front battling with the top guys.
Can you beat Shawn Robinson on the road bike?
We are not road biking, we are hitting mountain bike trails on the facility here and he has a hard time to follow. Sorry, Shawn…(Laughs)
OK, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Who would you like to thank?
No problem. I would like to thank my team, KTM Canada, for believing in me and our sponsor list is not out yet but I can count on some usual sponsors like FMF, Renthal, Oakley, Marin bikes, CTi Orthoflex, Dunlop, Atlas, and we now have Factory Connection on board. I’m really happy about my stuff so far. The rest should be announced shortly. See you at the races.