INTERVIEW: Christian Craig | RUNNER

During the opening round of the 2021 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Fox Raceway National 1 in Southern California, the Monster Energy / Sta Racing Yamaha team let the world know that team rider Christian Craig will be returning in team in 2022. He is ready to compete in the 250SX class of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, as well as the 450cc class of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. After winning the opening round of the 2021 250SX East Region series in Houston, Craig remained stable and showed excellent consistency by winning again at Indy as well as stepping onto the podium five more times before. suffered a broken fibula and a sprained ankle in Salt Lake City. 1 Supercross. In a desperate attempt to try and fight with teammate Colt Nichols for the 250SX East title, the Southern California native tried to line up for the race in Utah, but it just didn’t make sense. being. To move forward, Craig hopped on the 450 for the outdoor brawl of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross summer championship and finished the year with an impressive sixth place overall.

We are now in December 2021 and the new Monster Energy Supercross series awaits you. Ready to ride the 250cc motorcycle one more season in this country’s football and baseball stadiums, Craig is back at his new home in Tallahassee, Fla., And has completed countless laps and motorcycles with his racing teammates. Monster Energy / Star Yamaha. Determined to win a 250cc AMA title before moving full time to the 450cc rankings, Craig was a man on a mission and over the weekend we spoke with him.

Q: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us during this hectic week leading up to Christmas. Are you and the family all right?

CHRISTIAN CRAIG: Yes. All is well. Yes, with the kids we have one who is seven, one is three, and we have a newborn at six weeks. It’s a lot but it’s been fun and we appreciate it. We just put the kids to bed and are relaxing now. All good.

Q: Do you now officially live in Florida?

CC: Yes, we are in Florida. We had to move here because the whole team did, so we’re in Tallahassee. It has been a big, big change for me. I grew up in California. I was born and raised there and that’s about all I’ve known. I have traveled racing, but have never been based in another state, so it was a big change for our family. It’s a good change and I think we needed it. It takes me out of my comfort zone and will help me reach the next level I’m looking for.

Q: I did an interview with you a lot earlier in the year and you said to me, “I know I’m going to be confident in my bike, my trainer and everything. I feel like I’m at an advanced stage in my career, but I still have that fire under me and I still feel like I’m learning and growing, getting faster and getting better. improve every year. Does all this really ring true until 2022?

CC: Yeah, I mean some people are like, “Are you sure you want to pack everything up and take your whole family and move everything to Florida?” “I sold my house in California and we bought a house here in Tallahassee and I went all-in. I’m with my trainer, Gareth Swanepoel, and I really want to clinch a championship before I go full time in 450cc. I think winning or losing 2022 will be my last year in the 250 class and I want to come out on a high for sure.

Q: Through your performance in the 2021 250SX East region, you seemed to improve your game with both consistency and podiums. You were an absolute contender for that title before you got injured in Salt Lake. Do you feel like you improved your game last season?

CC: Yes, of course. My first year with the team, it went well. I started with a win in Houston, then a few races later at Indianapolis 3 I won again. I fought until the end with my teammate Colt Nichols and unfortunately it all came to an end with the training accident I had in Salt Lake. I think I have proven to myself and everyone that I can run for a championship and that I can have the red plate and be a contender. I think it was all a huge confidence boost for me to have the red plate and to be able to fight to the end. Unfortunately I got injured, but yes it was a good year and I fully believe that I am able to do it again.

Q: What did you think of your 450cc outdoor season? You placed sixth in the overall points standings and finished strong with two top five standings as the season closed on Fox Raceway 2 and Hangtown.

CC: It was good. I was thrown in after the Salt Lake crash. I came back and didn’t have a lot of time until the first lap so with each lap I got a little better. If you look at my results, they kind of improved over the summer and by the end of the series I landed two top five. Hope this helps me ride the 450 full time next year, but it looks like I will be doing the same. I will be doing 250 indoor and 450 outdoor in 2022. I am excited. Obviously, [Eli] Tomac is in the squad now and it will raise everyone’s level. I am delighted to be doing all of this during the summer.

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