Saddlemen

Rider Interview: Sean Cantrell

| 19 February 2016 4:49 pm

AMSOIL Arenacross Series

Courtesy of Feld Motor Sports
Photos by ShiftOne Photography
ELLENTON, FL, FEB. 19, 2016

Sean Cantrell took the Arenacross Lites-class win in his Pro debut.

Sean Cantrell took the Arenacross Lites-class win in his Pro debut.

Thus far during the 2016 AMSOIL Arenacross season, the contingent of up-and-coming riders in Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross program have left a lasting impression, showing they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Last weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, Troy Lee Designs/ Red Bull/ KTM’s Sean Cantrell kicked off his professional career with a win, going bar to bar with Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites-class points leader Daniel Herrlein in a memorable AMSOIL Arenacross debut.

This weekend, Cantrell has his sights on even more success as the championship travels to Tampa, Florida, for one night of action inside Amalie Arena. The confidence is there for Cantrell, and he’s optimistic about his chances of contending for an Arenacross-class win on Saturday night, which would allow him to join the elite company of Austin Forkner and Aaron Plessinger as the only Road to Supercross riders to win a main event in the premier class.

AMSOIL Arenacross caught up with Cantrell to get his thoughts on last weekend and what he’s looking forward to in Tampa…

 

Sean, you had a great professional debut last weekend in AMSOIL Arenacross. Talk about your night and how you’re feeling headed into Tampa tomorrow night.
Like you said, it went pretty well. There were some ups and downs. Practice was pretty rough; I struggled through the whoops all day. Once it came down to race time, I had a different mentality and I just went for it. I got through the heat races clean and didn’t have to go through any LCQs, which was a big confidence-booster. I got the holeshot in the [Arenacross] Lites main event and I knew I was capable of winning. I just went out there and had some fun. It was really cool being in front of the crowd. I definitely had pressure on me [from Daniel Herrlein] but I just tried to ride my own race. It’s a different riding style; you have to play both defense and offense the entire race. I was able to get the [Arenacross Lites] win, and in the Arenacross class I kind of struggled. I had a little crash after the whoops in the first main event. I think I was running sixth or seventh, but it put me in the back row for the next main event. It was kind of unfortunate, but I’m definitely more confident than I was last week going into Tampa.

Now that you have a race and a win under your belt, what was your biggest takeaway in how to be successful in AMSOIL Arenacross?
Everybody is going to say that the starts are the most important, and they definitely are, but it’s about what you can do the first couple laps. If you can get out front and ride your own race, build a lead, feel confident in yourself and your bike, then you can just control the race. What I learned the most is that the whoops are no joke. Everybody told me, but I underestimated them, for sure. I worked on hitting whoops a little bit this week and I should definitely be ready. I was definitely aggressive [last week], like everyone was telling me to be, and it worked in my favor.

Sean Cantrell is ready to challenge the stars of the Arenacross class.

Sean Cantrell is ready to challenge the stars of the Arenacross class.

You mentioned that you received a lot of advice heading into AMSOIL Arenacross. What did you do to prepare?
I’ve been riding supercross on and off the last few months. When I was in California, I did a little bit after [the] Monster Cup [in Las Vegas], and recently I’ve been staying at the Millsaps Training Facility down in Georgia. The past two weeks, I’ve been riding supercross and training with Dakota Alix, Anthony Rodriguez, Keith Tucker and all those guys. They’ve all had to race a couple rounds in AMSOIL Arenacross; Keith gave me a lot of advice. I think he’s done it the most. What everyone has been saying, and what Colleen [Millsaps] has been saying – it definitely all paid off. I’m just going to [keep] going out there and have fun. I know I can get top 10; I just want to have fun doing it.

Are you coming into Tampa looking for the win in the Arenacross class?
Absolutely. I know I can do some damage in the [Arenacross] Lites class, but in the Arenacross class, that’s a whole different story. I know Austin [Forkner] won and Chase [Sexton] did pretty well, so it’s my turn now. [Jacob] Hayes and all those guys, they’re no joke. It all depends on the track, and like I said earlier, the start is a really big key. If I get out front off the start, that’s a different story. I’d like to be up there. I’d like to be top three, but I’ve just got to figure out the whoops early and not let them ruin me for the rest of the day like they did last week.

What’s been your best experience in AMSOIL Arenacross so far?
Just being in the arena, in front of all the fans. Everything you do, they see, and if you make the smallest mistake, the crowd goes wild. It’s crazy. It’s a different scene. I like the racing [in AMSOIL Arenacross]; all the way from practice to the last main event, it’s pretty cool.

Sean Cantrell is the latest Road to Supercross rider to achieve success in AMSOIL Arenacross this season.

Sean Cantrell is the latest Road to Supercross rider to achieve success in AMSOIL Arenacross this season.

The seventh round of the 2016 AMSOIL Arenacross season will commence tomorrow night at Tampa’s Amalie Arena, starting at 4 p.m. PT/ 7 p.m. ET.

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About Feld Motor Sports
Feld Motor Sports Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena- and stadium-based motorsports entertainment. Feld Motor Sports’ productions include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, and AMSOIL Arenacross. Feld Motor Sports is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment. For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit www.feldentertainment.com.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit, member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling-rights and event-sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Not a member? Join the AMA today at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/joinC50_T2_BannerAd_590X300

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Category: Arenacross, Interviews, National, POV, Riders, Riders All, Riders' POV

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