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Benjamin Smith- The Supersport Rider and College Student Discusses His 2021 Season

Benjamin Smith- The Supersport Rider and College Student Discusses His 2021 Season

MotoAmerica Supersport rider Benjamin Smith discusses his 4th place finish at Laguna, preparing for Brainard, and how he feels his season is going so far. The college student also shares with us what his off-season training is like.

Follow Benjamin on Instagram!


Pit Pass Moto Trivia Question:

Who won the inaugural AMA Supersport series, later to be called Supersport, in MotoAmerica? Name the rider and the year.

Check out the answer after our interview with Benjamin Smith!

MotoAmerica, the home of the AMA Superbike Championship - featuring 190 mph Superbikes, is the OFFICIAL sponsor of Pit Pass Moto!

Did you know...

There are 9 rounds of the best racing on 2 wheels, featuring 190 MPH HONOS Superbikes!

  • All 20 HONOS Superbike races air live on Fox Sports
  • Liqui Moly Junior Cup airs on Fox Sports
  • MotoAmerica Rewind and Inside MotoAmerica airs on Fox Sports
  • SuperSport races air live on MavTV
  • Don’t miss a minute of action, practice, qualifying, races and video on demand with MotoAmerica Live+ streaming

Tickets, info and complete schedule at motoamerica.com/tickets

Follow MotoAmerica on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Pit Pass Moto is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, Producer Leah Longbrake and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow.

PJ Doran

Welcome to Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm P.J. Doran. And this week we'll be speaking to Moto America racer Benjamin Smith. Moto America, the home of the AMA Superbike Championship featuring one hundred and ninety mile an hour. Superbikes is the official sponsor of Pit Moto Tickets Info and the complete twenty twenty one schedule are available at Moto America dot com forward slash tickets.

PJ Doran

Nine rounds of the best racing on two wheels featuring one hundred and ninety mile an hour Ohno's super bikes with all twenty rounds airing live on Fox Sports Supersport Races Air Live on MAV TV. Don't miss a minute of action practice qualifying races and video on demand with Moto America Live Plus streaming follow Moto America on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In the latest racing news, Moto America just wrapped up at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey with the big news being the King of the Badgers final race of the series.

PJ Doran

Kyle Wyman came out on top of the race and reigns as the champ over Tyler O'Hara, who came home second with Michael Barnes. In third, the overall championship again won by women, with Tyler O'Hara coming in second, and Hayden Gillham rounding out third position in the series in Supersport Race one and race two, for that matter. The results were Sean Dillon, Kelly, Richie Escalante and Corey Ventura. Shaun Dillon Kelly does the double yet again with overall point standings after the weekend.

PJ Doran

Sean Dillon Kelly on to twenty five, Escalante on one ninety four and Samuel Lakoff sitting at 107 in the Superbikes series. More the same. Jake Garner and Race one over Lawrence Bars and Cam Petersen. Race to Gonyea does the double the guys on fire over Bass again and Matthew Scholte rounded out the podium. That leaves the Superbikes standings with Jake Ganu on top on two twenty five Matthew Skold sitting at one sixty Josh Heron sitting at one forty five. In the offroad world, motocross fans saw a great race from Southwick, Massachusetts.

PJ Doran

In the 250 class hunter Lawrence dominated with the one one finish for the overall Joe Shimoda took second overall with a three four finish in the two motos and Justin Cooper rounded out the podium with six to finish is on the weekend, leaving the overall points in the 250 class, with Jet Lawrence on top at 204. Justin Cooper sitting in second with two hundred and one points and Hunter Lawrence rounding out third position with one hundred and seventy eight points in the four fifty class Dillon four.

PJ Doran

And it came out on top with the one three finish on the weekend Ken Rocks and came home second with a four two running of the two Motos and Justin Barker rounded out the podium with two four finish on the weekend. Eli Tomac recovered to win the second Moto but had a pretty disastrous first moto sadly in the overall standings. Then for the four fifty class, have Dillon Francis on top with two hundred and twenty four points, followed by Ken, Roxanne on 205 and Eli Tomac following up with one hundred and sixty seven points.

PJ Doran

This week's trivia question is who won the inaugural Aimé Supersport series, name the writer and the year? More on that after we talk to our guest, Benjamin Smith. We want to welcome to the show today motha America star racer Benjamin Smith, riding for naughty cycle outlet racing. Welcome to the show, Benjamin. Thanks for taking the time to join us. How you doing?

Benjamin Smith

I'm doing great. Yeah, thanks for having me. I really appreciate the show.

PJ Doran

Well, thanks for joining us again. You had a good weekend. It seemed like outwardly from Laguna. Had the race go for you?

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, yeah. It was a pretty solid weekend. Overall, we made some good progress qualifying on the front row, got to fourth place finishes. We had some good races. Actually, yesterday's race and race, too, was a lot more positive for us than we had in race. One didn't quite have the pace to be getting the time with the leaders for as long, but our overall race pace was was much improved from that which we had on race.

Benjamin Smith

One definitely making progress, making steps with the bike. And we're I think it this weekend we were one of the closest we've been to the front to all season. So we're definitely making strides in the right direction.

PJ Doran

Well, you say that, Benjamin, but you've actually had some podium finishes this year, right? As I remember, there have been two thus far. Is that fair?

Benjamin Smith

Yes. Yeah, I've had I had wanted one at about America. So we've been on the podium, but it's on the podium. And being in contention for the race when are two different things. So I think that we've we've definitely even know we weren't on the podium this weekend. We were obviously really close. But I think that we definitely picked up the pace a little bit, too. We're just constantly learning.

PJ Doran

And currently, as seasons go, you're in pretty good shape. You're currently sitting 15 points. But if you're looking at the points tally, it's easy to say you have a legitimate shot at a top three finish in this season's title Chase. Is that where your goals lie right now?

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, absolutely. That was actually a big takeaway from this past weekend. You know, I think that unfortunately, some of my competitors that I'm competing for, that top three spot the championship with, didn't have their best weekends this past weekend. So and we were able to pick up two pretty solid race finishing points. So definitely close the gap down. And I believe, like I said, I believe that it's pretty close to third, back to fifth or sixth.

Benjamin Smith

So, yeah, we're going into kind of the East Coast, laying down some tracks that I know pretty well. Brainard's should be exciting because it's a new place for everybody, really. So, yeah, we're kind of just hoping to keep keep collecting points and, you know, ultimately end up sort of a championship. That's that's kind of what we're shooting for.

PJ Doran

Have you ever speaking of Brainard, have you ever even been to the facility? It's foreseeable. A guy your age might never have been there, a race there?

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, I actually did make it out to Brainerd about a month ago. Now after after the round and run America, me and Jackson, and went up to Brainerd to do a track day. There's actually quite a few but America teams that day. So we went up there and just rode every day just to kind of get familiar with the track, at least see which direction it goes so I at least know what I'm getting into. And then we do have a test day on the Thursday before the race began there.

Benjamin Smith

So that should help, too. We can really start to dial in the set up on that test day. And like I said, at least I know which way the track goes at this point. So that's definitely gonna help me.

PJ Doran

Out to what were your initial thoughts about the facility? I've been to that track a lot, but it was in its former heyday, not the current configuration. Is the track surface like race. Will you like the way it's going to play out?

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, absolutely. I thought the track was pretty cool. It's it's different. Like even the locations different. I mean, we were and felt like we were driving down a main road and then all of a sudden the track disappeared, which is it's not normal for most racetracks. Most of them seem like they're out in the middle of nowhere. So the location is definitely a little bit different. And as far as the actual track goes, it's cool.

Benjamin Smith

It's got some really fast sections. I mean, the first two or three corners are almost six hundred, were basically wide open in fourth year and then almost wide open in fifth gear. So it's it's definitely got some fast sections to it. It should make for some good racing. It's also got you know, we were going into a section called what they were called the Joker. Luigi called the Joker was a really tight section. So I think that the tracks got a little bit of everything so fast, sleepers stop and goes.

Benjamin Smith

So I think that it should make pretty good racing. Everybody's first time they're the playing field should be pretty level. So that's I'm really looking forward to getting up there.

PJ Doran

So you've been racing around for a while, Benjamin. Your career suggests this is you're not new to this. Twenty, seventeen. You, the RC Kitemark Cup champion. Clearly you've been raising a long time. One might say you're a veteran at this point. How do you like the way your season's going thus far? It really does seem like you guys are gathering steam.

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I have I've been at it for a while. You know, I started I came into the professional team. I was pretty young. Fifteen or sixteen. It was when I started. I'm twenty one. So, yeah, I've got some experience under my belt. And it's kind of the first time in my career and my second career that I've had the same, the same package for two years in a row. And that's really helped because, you know, we were able to gather a lot of data on our six last year and we've kind of been able to use that this year to.

Benjamin Smith

Start off the weekend strong. We're not guessing so much on set up, we have we have an idea from the from last year, so that's really helped. They've put a great block underneath me where, like I said, we're there. We've got the pace to run with the leaders. We're just figuring out how to make the six go at that pace for for a whole race distance. But we're absolutely making steps in the right direction. And I say that both myself and the team are pretty happy about how the season is going so far.

Benjamin Smith

Definitely my best season in the out of class so far.

PJ Doran

Would you consider race that facility to be your home track? I assume it is as you're a Pittsburgh native, right?

Benjamin Smith

Believe it or not, it's actually not really my home track. New Jersey Motorsports Park is actually a lot closer to me. I'm about an hour outside of Philadelphia, so I'm more on the eastern side of the state. Race is a good four four hours from from my home. But I mean, it's it's the only track in Pennsylvania. So they know America does kind of count it up to be my home race, even though New Jersey is much closer to me.

Benjamin Smith

But I love the facility. I love the track. So, I mean, it's a great place overall.

PJ Doran

Yeah. It seems like a great facility. And arguably one of the newer ones in the Moto America series. And GMP, though, is pretty sweet track too. And so you've got a lot of laps of both of them, it sounds like.

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, yeah. I've got a good amount of laughs at both pit race and Champix. I started actually racing and JFP on their Courtright and then moved on to the bigger tracks. Those are the two places in the country that I would say I had the most seats on that, which is good. Both on the schedule.

PJ Doran

Yeah, they're both on the schedule and upcoming. So you go into them hopefully with a little more an extra bit of confidence. I'm sure the season wraps up. Bahbah, I'm hoping to be at all these races. Pittsburgh, sadly, I think is the one I'm not going to be able to make, but I'm hoping to make all the rest of them from here on out. Is it too early for you to start thinking, talking about next year?

PJ Doran

Clearly, we're past the halfway point, but there's racing to be done yet. Are you locked in for next year so that you can put that to bed or is it after the season's over type of deal?

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, you know, we've definitely been thinking about it and about what what my best move would be in my career. Nothing is completely set in stone yet, but we've got a good idea about what I'm going to be on. Hopefully I can continue with North Sikelel Racing in whatever class we choose, whether it be for me to stick in Supersport and try to go after a championship or, you know, potentially move up to one thousand. That's kind of where we're at right now.

Benjamin Smith

We haven't exactly decided what route we want to take. We're going to do a little bit of talking around the paddock and figure out what did opinions just get opinions from knowledgeable people and think try and get a plan together for what would be the best move for me in my career. But I think that there's definitely there's definitely a good chance that I'll be at least in the paddock riding something. So that's that's the goal, just to just stay in this paddock for, you know, as long as you can keep improving the results until hopefully you get you get one of those prized Servite.

Benjamin Smith

So it's looking good for next year.

PJ Doran

Do you do any offseason training after the Moto America season ends, Benjamín, as in motocross? Are you one of those guys? Are you out flat track? And what do you do for side training?

Benjamin Smith

All right. A little bit of motocross. I'm not near as good in the dirt as I am on the road. So I try and keep those wheels on the ground because I usually end up hurting myself more if I if I start getting there. But definitely incorporates the motocross, this amount of mountain biking, running, just trying to keep myself in shape. And that's actually something that we're you know, I take what I take obviously the sport really seriously.

Benjamin Smith

But coming up really soon, I'm going to be it up a little bit and that side of my program, because I feel like that's a little bit of the last piece of the puzzle that I need to really be running with those top to week in and week out. It's a serious sport. Obviously, you've got to be pretty dedicated to it. So like I said, I plan on stuff in that part of my program up here. Actually, in the coming weeks, I've got something coming, but I definitely try to do as much as I can to stay sharp and get as much actual tee time on my race as I can.

Benjamin Smith

But that's a little bit difficult, especially living up north. Yeah, trying to hit all aspects of training.

PJ Doran

So you've mentioned you're living up north. How about are you burdened with the realities of a day job or are you currently a professional racer who doesn't have to deal with the humdrum life of daily work working well at this point. So I'm actually I'm still in college going into my junior year of college. I'm currently enrolled at Penn State as a university and I'm doing school online, actually covid believe it or not, help me out a little bit in that sense that it made online schooling a little bit more accessible for me, because I've always been you know, I've been in public school since my whole educational career, high school and high school.

PJ Doran

I've always been publicly educated, but now I'm doing online through Penn State. And I guess I should say that my home is Pennsylvania, but I've actually during. The school year and in the winter, I just started living down in Charleston, South Carolina, so as far as training goes, actually that's going to make it a little bit easier for me to to stay riding my dirt bike and be outside and be able to do a lot more training activities so that that should help to the off season.

PJ Doran

Do you have any training partners that you're working with or teammates or are you a solo operation on your current team?

Benjamin Smith

Well, I so I do have a teammate this year, T.J. Laroche. He just recently joined the team as of this year, all surrounding Supersport. He's made huge steps this season as well. But as far as trading partners go during the off season, not not many. I've got a bunch of a bunch of close friends in South Carolina that also ride their bikes so we can always go out and ride. And it helps me to stay fit on the motorcycle.

Benjamin Smith

But I'm kind of doing my own training program right now. But like I said a little bit earlier, that's that's a part of my my whole package that I'm looking to improve. And I'm going to be working with, you know, a guy here soon that should help me get pointed in the right direction. As far as my training goes, a lot more meaningful exercises, workouts, nutrition and diet. So that that's all part of my program that is going to be stepping up here soon.

Benjamin Smith

And I think it's really going to help my own track abilities.

PJ Doran

Yeah, no one ever talks poorly of the decision to take their training diet, all the things you just mentioned. And the next level it is what differentiates the top level top caliber racers, right? They don't no one misses that section of training. And it's credit to you that you're making that very serious move. So good luck with that. As our times nearing its end. Benjamin, I definitely want to give you a chance to thank any sponsors you've helped get here.

PJ Doran

Anybody you want to give a shout out to are. Thank you, too. We really appreciate you being on and wanted to give you a chance to say thank you to them.

Benjamin Smith

Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I appreciate you guys having me on and I'd like to thank, obviously, northeast like a cycle of racing. They've been behind me for quite a while now and they've been putting a great package underneath me track. They winner is really stepped up here once one of their events earlier on in the season. If anybody out there is looking for days to go to, they run a phenomenal event. They've helped my program as well around Helmet's Dynegy Leather's also hard racing car bone and Yamaha USA.

Benjamin Smith

There's a bunch of people out there that have made this effort possible. Yeah, I mean, anybody that's supported me, anybody that's special to me, like, you know, I really appreciate it. That's what helps keeps me going. It's obviously takes a lot of my time and I really appreciate any support that I received. So it's all my sponsors and the people to reach out. Just know that I really appreciate it. So thank you.

PJ Doran

Well, that's awesome. I look forward to seeing you up at Brainerd, Tommy Boy, and I'll come by your pits and say, hey, yeah, absolutely awesome. I again, I really appreciate you guys have me all great. So I guess we'll we'll see you, Brian.

PJ Doran

Thank you to our guests, Benjamin Smith, this week's Pipas trivia question was who won the inaugural Aimé Supersport series? Name The Writer and the year? And the answer is Doug Pullen, who won the first championship in 1987, writing as a privateer. This led to a factory ride with Suzuki and further championships. Upcoming racing in the AFC series American Flatrock will have to do Choying Mile this weekend, July 17th. Will also had Lucas Oil probe motocross from Millville, Minnesota, this weekend, July 17th.

PJ Doran

And Moto America looks forward to racing at Brainerd International Raceway eight months and July 30 through August 1st. Thank you again to Benjamin Smith for being with us today, and thank you for tuning in if you enjoyed this episode. Make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please write and review us as well. We really appreciate it. Make sure you're following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and visit Pippos Moto Dotcom, where you can check out our blog.

PJ Doran

This has been a production of Evergreen podcasts, a special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, our producer Leah Longbrake, and audio engineer Eric Koltnow. Now I'm PJ Doran. We'll see you next week. Have a really good season.

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