Interview: Austin Root on his opportunity with Buildbase Honda

Towards the end of last year, Austin Root had the opportunity to contest a round of the MX2 World Championship in Italy. The American seems to have enjoyed the GP and because of that it looks like we will be seeing more of him contesting races somewhere in Europe.

Root is currently contesting the Arenacross UK series and even though the first two rounds didn’t go as planned for him he’s looking forward to the rest of the series. The American revealed to us that he has the opportunity to stay with the Buildbase Honda team for the outdoors too if everything falls into place.

We caught up with the likeable American to discuss a range of topics.

Gatedrop: Austin, this is your first time competing in the Arenacross UK series. I’m sure coming into the event you’d have been hoping for more but hows everything going for you over here? I’m sure it’s different to what you’re used to!

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Austin Root: Yeah, it’s definitely different. I’ve never rode anything like this and this tight. I’m pretty excited to be racing this and racing with new guys. It was good, yesterday (Friday), I struggled a lot with the bike and everything but today (Saturday) I got a little bit better. I know the results don’t show it as I kept finding myself on the ground but it was definitely better, I just needed to put myself in a better situation.

Gatedrop: Coming into the event had you ever spoke to anyone about the AXUK series and what it was like? Did you expect the tracks to be like this – so tight and only around 25 seconds a lap?

Austin Root: No, actually I’ve never met anyone that’s done this series. I kind of came into it blindfolded, I expected it to be a little bit longer than what it was. 22 seconds is probably the shortest I’ve ever ridden but it makes for really close racing and I’ve learned that tonight.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: What are your goals for the rest of the series? I’m guessing just to qualify for a main and then take it from there?

Austin Root: Yeah, I expect to make a main for sure. But no, I know where I should be and that’s to be up top, I mean if I get a good start and stuff, I’ve been slacking on qualifying. Looking at the times we are all like half a second off, everyone is nearly in the same second so it’s not like my speed is bad. It’s just trying to get the start, that’s all it is here.

Gatedrop: I believe you came over to Italy around 3-4 months ago now and you done a round of the MX2 World Championship. How did the GP go for you?

Austin Root: The Grand Prix was awesome, I rode for Bader Manneh and I rode a stock bike. It was pretty good, I think in the first moto I crashed in the first corner and it destroyed my bike so I couldn’t finish the first moto. In the second moto I was going to go out but then the bike didn’t run so it was unfortunate weekend for my first Grand Prix.  Over here it’s not my goal to race Supercross, it’s more to ride outdoors. It’s to make a bigger push, a lot of the guys have shown that the Europeans have some real speed so I really want to make a goal of racing some outdoors here.

Gatedrop: I know in America you’re friends with Adam Cianciarulo and Ken Roczen so you ride a lot with them. In Italy I see you’ve been riding a lot with Calvin Vlaanderen. How would you say the two worlds compare and have you been able to pick some tips of from Calvin to what he might do differently?

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Austin Root: It’s completely different because at home we have a facility and I just go there and everything is laid out. Every day is actually pretty simple and I’ve learned from Calvin that it’s a little bit different. It’s actually quite difficult because you don’t know were you will ride one day and the training is always somewhere different. He’s taught me that whenever you go to a track that you have to learn to adapt. In America a lot of the guys would complain or won’t ride that day but Calvin and those guys will ride anything and it shows why they’re better at outdoors.

Gatedrop: In America the tracks can be all quite similar but over here have you found that the tracks are all quite different? But do you think that will make you a better rider?

Austin Root: Oh, for sure. Me just being here for the time that I have is going to make me a way better rider. I’ve experienced actual hard pack tracks, I’ve went to Sardinia, rode concrete (laughs), rode sand and ridden all kinds of different conditions.  In America you don’t really get that, you kind of base at one place and ride the same track everyday. It’s a new experience and will make me a better rider, when I go back home I just know that it’ll pay off, you know.

Gatedrop: You have an Italian girlfriend and I’m sure she spends a lot of time with you in the US, so it must be nice to spend some time with her in Italy too?

Austin Root: It’s actually been awesome learning her culture and were she’s from, eating all the good food. I’ve been filling my belly up with pasta. It’s been great getting to spend sometime with her family and she gets to come over. We make it work pretty good, I mean the long distance sucks so me being here and racing a dirt bike too, it’s pretty awesome. I’m just glad to have this opportunity to travel and race this dirt bike.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: You’re obviously racing the rest of the AXUK series with Buildbase Honda, is there a chance you could stay with the team for the outdoors as Jake Nicholls has recently announced he’ll miss the start of the season?

Austin Root: There is a possibility right now, I’m not sure but we are still in the works with David (Thorpe) talking things over. It’s a possibility that you’ll probably see me outdoors.

Gatedrop:  Would that be to do the British Championship?

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Austin Root: Yeah, it would be to do the British and I think one other championship. Possibly I could do some Grand Prix’s too.

Gatedrop: I believe you’re too old to contest the MX2 World Championship next year which is a pity because ideally you’d have loved to do a full season in it?

Austin Root: Yeah, I would have loved to have done a full championship. I know not that many people know me so I have to get my name out there somehow. Even riding for David, he’s got the best program in United Kingdom. He’s a great guy and the bikes have been awesome so I’m just learning to build from that. I’m excited for what’s to come.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Nigel McKinstry