ICYMI | Catching Up with Logan Leitzel

By Billy Rainford

Presented by GasGas Canada
ICYMI, Catching Up with Logan Leitzel. | Bigwave photo

Logan Leitzel from Pennsylvania is the rider who owns the #20. I saw a lot of Logan over the winter months as he was in and out of Supercross competition the entire 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. He had to deal with a few issues but made the most of his time on the various tracks.

We got to know the friendly giant last season as he was hired to ride for Steve Simms‘ new team, SSR TLD GasGas, on the 450. He had to step away from the sport at the Gopher Dunes round, allowing Ryan Derry to step in and fill his shoes.

Logan first came to Canada in 2020 and was living out of his small cargo van, so I respected him immediately. | Bigwave photo

Hey. wait, we did a “Race Tech Rig Tour” video with Logan at Sand Del Lee that summer. Check it out:

He also wasn’t a cyclist and went out for a ride on a bike that didn’t fit him and tried to get up the biggest, toughest hill climb I’ve come across in all of Ontario on the Niagara Escarpment with Marco Cannella. I hadn’t been on the bike much at that point of the summer and struggled enough to get up it. I waited at the top for Logan and there he came walkng the bike up the last pitch. In his defence, he said he was suffering some sort of “mechanical” too. Lol Now, where did I save that video….

I can’t find that hill video but here he is getting motivated by a massive tractor that same day:

Anyway, we’ve always liked chatting with Logan and look forward to many more conversations in the future. Let’s have a look at his 2021 Canadian numbers:

As you can see, he only hit the first 3 rounds of MX in 2021. We won’t be seeing him doing our series this summer but I bet we haven’t seen the last of him. Here’s what he had to say when we got in touch with him this week:

Here’s what Logan had to say this week: | Bigwave 2020 photo

Direct Motocross: Hey Logan. I bumped into you a bunch this past Supercross season but let’s back up to last summer in Canada. You got the 450 ride with Steve Simms and the SSR TLD GasGas team. Can you tell us how that deal came up in the first place? 

Logan Leitzel: I basically sent him a text one day after I saw he was starting a team and told him I was ready to go if needed! After a few months of kinda back and forth, talks became more serious and it ended up all coming together!

And you’ve got a rather interesting story about how you were able to get across the border during those weird times. Would you care to sum that up and give us an update?

Haha, yea, so I got denied several times trying to get across and with no other options in sight me and my then girlfriend who is from Canada decided to basically “engage” so that I could have an argument to get across the border lines. After my time in Canada though we dated for a few months before splitting up right before SX. Definitely made for a great story. Haha.

Logan and Steve Simms at Gopher Dunes, the day Logan was forced off the bike to rehab an injury. | Bigwave photo

Classic story for the annuls. How did your racing go and could you explain your early departure from the series?

It was tough. I crashed at a pre-season race just before round 1 and my shoulder was bothering me a ton. At Walton I managed it pretty well as I just kinda picked smooth lines and rode through it, but once I got to Gopher (Dunes) it was game over and I couldn’t hang on anymore. Ultimately, why I didn’t race anymore was not being 100%. I couldn’t stand struggling and not being able to ride to my full potential and I believe if I can’t give the team everything I have, then someone else should have a opportunity, which led to Ryan Derry getting his chance to fill in, which I was very happy to see.

What did you do when you left Canada?

Absolutely nothing, I retired. I sat on the couch for months afterwards with a hatred towards anything to do with dirt bikes, until my dad ultimately roped me back into riding and racing again around November.

Then you were on the line for Supercross this past season. You kind of jumped around and had an interesting series. Can you take us through how it went for you?

Yea, so SX was a really last-minute decision me, my dad and local sponsors decided to do and I just kinda went for it. I was so out of shape and underprepared and it showed. I had crashes, I was slow, and it took me a bit to find my old self again. Basically, everything before Round 16 we can forget about with the exception of St. Louis where I rode pretty well.

The last 2 rounds of the series went pretty well for me and at Salt Lake I was 1st in the B Group and 14th overall in qualifying which was great for me. To basically sum it up, it took me 15 rounds to regain my confidence to ride a dirt bike again.

And now that the season is over, what have you been doing?

I’ve been just trying to get together a weekly routine around home of pretty much riding, training, and teaching some classes around my area.

Logan almost walked away from the sport but he’s back and hungrier than ever. | Bigwave photo

What are your racing plans for this coming summer season?

As of right now, I’ll be racing a few east coast AMA Pro Nationals and you just might see me in Canada for a few races to keep my career number and to also redeem myself a bit from my disappointment last year. Oh, and I’m going to Germany to race in July!

What’s up in Germany?

As of now, the German Supercross series and possibly Swartecross.

Cool. So, you’d like to come north and try our Canadian series again in the future?

Absolutely, I love canada and it’s basically my 2nd home.

Will you make plans for Supercross again in 2023?

Oh yea, 2023 is a big year for me to really make the next leap I believe in my career. I’ve shown my speed plenty of times and even been close to making Mains, but can never put it together. With the motivation I have from last summer and this year I’m just gonna keep riding it and come into 23 prepared as I can be.

Do you do anything for work when you’re not racing?

I’ve done insulation in the past, but I’d liked to stay away from that. Haha. As for right now, it’s basically just moto and teaching classes. Luckily for me, I have amazing sponsors for SX that pay me enough to live a pretty awesome life and I can’t thank everyone of those guys enough for keeping me going.

How’s your health these days?

It’s funny you ask that actually….a month ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease which if you don’t know means I’m highly allergic to anything with gluten in it. The smallest amount of gluten makes me wanna throw up.

Watch for Logan at select rounds in Canada and the US this summer and then Supercross in 2023. | Bigwave photo

I think it’s safe to say you had a bit of a roller coaster ride. Do you have any advice for anyone else out there who may be going through similar issues?

Just keep swimming like in Finding Nemo. If you keep chugging along it will all eventually come together. I’ve wanted to quit so many times in my life from moto and honestly just life, but I knew in my heart it would all turn around someday and I had great people to help me get through it. My best advice is, find people you trust to talk about it and help you get through whatever you’re going through.

OK, We appreciate your time. Good luck in the future, and who would you like to thank?

My dad, Matt Adams, Radikal and my buddy Greg Simpson. They have been the backbone to my program and without them I wouldn’t be racing.