UP TO SPEED

With

Gared Steinke

By:  Andy Bowyer

If you’re looking for a rider to get behind this summer, California’s Gared Steinke is one of the most talked about riders in the sport. The bandwagon started rolling for him after he won the overall at the Las Vegas Finals for AMSOIL Arenacross, but it really picked up steam when he did the unthinkable by qualifying for the 250 class of the Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania Outdoor National on a highly underpowered 125cc machine. The kicker is, he didn’t just qualify, he was very competitive as he posted 27-27 moto scores out of a field of 40 riders who were on more powerful 250cc four-stroke machines. The fans at Mt. Morris that day played double duty as they cheered for the battle for the lead, then trained their attention on the screaming 125cc with #726 on the number plates.  We caught up with Gared as he is preparing for his second attempt on the 1/8 liter race bike this coming weekend at Budd’s Creek, Maryland.

How did your deal come together? You had some serious momentum after winning the final round of the Arenacross series.

GS: Well, I had actually talked to Jeremy White at the Nashville {AMSOIL} Arenacross and he said he has a 2014 YZ125 that I could ride at an outdoor national if I wanted to.

There is a big difference from the short, action-packed bullrings of AMSOIL Arenacross and the 30 minutes plus two lap distance races of the outdoor nationals. Were you prepared for the longer motos and summer heat?

GS: I’ve been riding 30 minute motos at the local tracks trying to get as ready as I could but, yeah, the longer motos and gnarly rough tracks were definitely tough. I just really liked the bike, and I’ve been a 125 two-stroke guy my whole life so it was something that I was really used to already. The first time I rode the race bike was in practice at High Point, but things clicked right away.

Everyone in the industry is talking about it. You could actually hear your bike screaming around the track during the television broadcast.

GS: The fans were going crazy for sure. Every lap I would jump the uphill triple I could hear about a dozen air horns blasting from the fence line and it just pumped me up a lot. There is way no way I was going to let myself get tired or back off the pace at that point. When you hear those fans it really gives you the extra power you need to finish the moto strong.

Some talk has been made about your chances if you were able to ride a 150cc machine. Would that make a big difference?

GS: I don’t know, I don’t think so really. The bike is actually very fast (for a two-stroke) and I’m able to carry my momentum around the corners as well as possible.

Have any of the factories stepped up to help you out with parts or anything?

GS: No, however Bills Pipes stepped up and gave us some handmade cone pipes to throw on the bike and DH1 Mods is doing everything they can to make the program work.

You’ve been on a serious progression streak dating back to the latter half of the AMSOIL Arenacross series until now. What is your plan of attack for the 2016 Arenacross Championship?

GS: So far everything is shaping up to be pretty much the same as 2015.  Motosport.com had a great program for me and I’m looking forward to having Daniel Blair as a teammate and just trying to start out the season with the same intensity as I ended it. It takes me a while to get going I guess. I’m friends with almost all of the racers in AMSOIL Arenacross and in the beginning of the series I’m more reluctant to make any enemies, but as the series wears on and gets closer to the end I guess I’m more worried about myself just getting the best finish possible. I’m planning to begin the 2016 series with more aggression so I can get off to a quicker start and stay closer in points all the way through and have a shot at the title in the end.

Well, you’re inspiring a lot of people with your effort, good luck this weekend in Budd’s Creek.

GS: Thanks, I just want to thank all of the people who help me, I’m having a lot of fun and hope to put in another strong showing for Budd’s Creek and Red Bud. That’s it for my summer plans though, Jeremy White and I have this deal for these three outdoor nationals, and then that is all of the funding that we have.

There is a t-shirt for sale on www.vurbmoto.com that will help fund Gared’s racing effort this summer. In the meantime we are going to keep our fingers on the pulse of his progress so stay tuned for an update on his results from this weekend’s races at Budd’s Creek.