By Jim Kimball

After a successful 2016 at Loretta Lynn’s, Bradley Taft turned pro, and his focus for the last three outdoor Nationals from the year. As a member of the CycleTrader. com/Rock River Yamaha Team, Taft would fill in for the injured Colt Nichols. It was at the final national; Ironman where Taft would take his best finish with 12 th overall, and make a statement going into 2017 Supercross. Relocated from California to North Carolina, plus training with Gareth Swanepoel, along with Cooper Webb, Aaron Plessinger, the particular 20 year old would be ready! Unfortunately just two rounds in, Taft suffered a huge practice crash, causing a severe head injury causing your pet to miss the entire Supercross series, and return to racing at circular two of the outdoor series within Glen Helen. Getting back into he swing of racing, Taft has finished 15 th in the last two outdoor races. We caught up with Bradley during the weekend off before Unadilla.

BRADLEY, WHEN DID YOU TURN PRO? I turned pro right after Loretta’s last year, for the last three outdoors. I needed signed with CycleTrader. com/Rock Water Yamaha just before heading to Loretta Lynn’s. So I was riding the Period Trader Yamaha at my last big amateur race.

HOW DID YOUR FINAL BEGINNER RACES AT LORETTA’S GO? It went well. I raced 250 A in Pro Sport last year, and I won it. I also raced in the Pro Sport, but had some struggles. The second moto, I crashed on the start. We went 3, 17, 3, therefore i didn’t win that class because of the mishap on the start, but two hundred fifity A went really well, and I gained that, so it was good.

HOW DID YOUR MOVE INTO THE OUTDOOR NATIONALS GO? They went well regardless of not being use to longer motos. I had really good speed, but I simply struggled to make it through the motos. I actually ran up front quite a bit, but I was not able to stay there. I completed 12th or 14 th I think in every moto except for the very first one at Unadilla where I crashed a couple of times, plus did horrible. But overall it went really well for what I has been expecting.

THE THING THAT WAS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE OTHER THAN THE LENGTHIER MOTOS? In amateur racing you sit around all day, and also you only race usually just once per day, maybe twice a day. That is the just time on the track, where certainly outdoors, you are only there for a day, so you are on the track a lot, from the practicing and the motos.

IS THE CYCLETRADER. COM/ROCK RIVER YAMAHA TEAM The PRIVATEER TEAM, OR A FACTORY GROUP? I SPOKE TO ALEX MATN AFTER HE MOVED FROM ROCK RIVER TO STAR YAMAHA, AND HE SAID THE BIKE WAS A HUGE IMPROVEMENT. It’s somewhat each a factory, and a privateer team. Our equipment is pretty close, and extremely much the same as say Star Yamaha. There are just a couple of other things that are various. It is obviously not a factory team but I would not really consider it a privateer team either. Since when Alex was on it, they produced some improvements now to where it was when Alex was on. I am talking about it would definitely be a step up to accomplish a factory team, but basically the equipment I have is good enough in order to compete with all the other bikes. The equipment There are is definitely not holding me back from whatever I need to do.

YOU HAD SOME PRETTY GOOD MOMENTUM COMING INTO 2017 SUPERCROSS, BUT THEN HAD THAT TERRIBLE PRACTICE ACCIDENT. Yes, I had done two Supercross rounds. Then it was in between your second and third rounds where I crashed. Qualifying and the temperature races went well actually. I actually qualified pretty well, and then in the heat contests, I got fifth in both heat contests. I crashed in both mains that I did, so they did not obviously go super well, but you know, I was just learning, and getting experience out of it. I had raced Monster Cup three years as an amateur, so I rode Supercross a little bit leading up to that. I just necessary to obviously not crash in the main event, and could have done a lot better. Overall, Personally i think that I adapted pretty well. The only thing I truly struggled with was whoops, mainly because obviously when I raced as an hobbyist there were no whoops and the first time I really ever hit whoops was this year, but other than that, it was not really too bad of a transition going into that.

Bradley Taft Conner Monks Taft’ s first race back from his tramadic brian injury was the Glen Helen National. Here he or she is jumping the big triple step up within the back.

WHAT WAS THE ACTUAL TERM FOR WHAT HAPPENED? IT WAS NOT A CONCUSSION WAS IT? No, I had a traumatic brain injury, which is what was classified as. From the time of the crash, I did not really keep in mind much for five days next. Then once I was out of the medical center, it was hard for me to sleep. The first week after I had some headaches, but other than that, I was not ill from it or anything like that.

HOW LONG DID IT ACTUALLY TAKE BEFORE YOU COULD GET BACK ON A MOTORCYCLE? It was about a few ½ months, so it was a long time. I got released before that through the doctor and started road bicycling and like gym and stuff, but I was not able to ride a dirt bike.

THEN YOU RETURNED TO RACING IN THE OUTDOOR SERIES RIGHT? It had been the second round; I came back during Glen Helen. I had only been back on the bike for about two or three weeks, so I definitely struggled for some time. But the last two or three races, I have been slowly seeing improvements and I am obviously still not where I wish to be, but I think with how long I was off the bike, that I was doing well.

REALLY DOES THE TEAM FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE? Yes, definitely. They know the extent of everything with the damage and how long I was off, and so i don’t think they were really expecting much from me. With what I use done, they have been pretty happy, specifically the last couple of weeks.

WHERE YOU ARE AT IN NORTH CAROLINA, HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING WITH ANYONE? I train with Gareth Swanepoel, so I am out here with Cooper Webb, Aaron Plessinger, plus Colt Nichols. We just have just a little place out here. Cooper has a place there too, and we have a track there, and stuff like that.

HOW ARE YOU FEELING GOING INTO THESE LAST COUPLE OF OUTDOORS? I feel good, just because certainly I raced these three paths last year, and the two best races I have had this year were upon tracks that I have already ridden. Getting the experience of racing on these paths last year helped me a lot, so I feel pretty good about them.

ARE YOU SIGNED WITH CYCLETRADER. COM/ROCK RIVER YAMAHA TEAM FOR NEXT YEAR? I am not that considerably along yet, but staying here is what I am hoping to do.

I ADMIRE YOU PERSEVERANCE; I AM UNABLE TO IMAGINE GOING THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I went to three different doctors for it, and that was one of the things. Sometimes it was difficult to get answers, plus understand what had happened. I ensured that having that injury will not put me at higher risk of it happening again. All three physicians cleared me, so I took the proper steps to do it, and I think that was the biggest thing.

The post MXA JOB INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: BRADLEY TAFT made an appearance first on Motocross Action Magazine.