By: Casey Davis @air_d617
The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship welcomed several rookies to the professional ranks at the opening round in Hangtown, with the most noteworthy being Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GoPro/KTM’s Sean Cantrell. The #129 rocketed into the pros after finishing in tenth during his first professional moto, and although he’s encountered a few minor mishaps since then, Cantrell maintained an impressive level of consistency throughout the first four rounds. We caught up with Cantrell after a long day of riding and testing to get his take on his rookie season thus far.
You’re four rounds into your rookie outdoor season. How has everything been going for you through your eyes?
Everything is going okay. This has been everything that I expected and a whole lot more. Coming into my rookie season, I expected a lot and I knew that the work was going to be tough. I knew that it was going to take a toll on my body and I knew that my the competition was going to be insane! And let me just say that everything lived up to my expectations. With that said, I’m still having the time of my life out here! I still get pretty nervous on the line, but that won’t be there forever. Everything from the traveling to the racing has been a huge adjustment for me, but it’s all been a lot of fun. Each and every day I’m on the bike I’m constantly learning, and it’s been quite the journey so far, but it’s far from over. Like you said, we are only four rounds into the series, which means there’s a lot more racing to go down.
You’re out here working with former pro Kyle Lewis. How did the two of you meet and how long have you been working with him?
I met Kyle Lewis back in 2013 prior to the Monster Energy Cup, as we had a few mutual friends. I had a little mishap in practice that was entirely my fault, which in turn left me on the sidelines that night, but ever since then I have trusted him completely on and off the bike because he knows what he’s talking about. It’s funny because sometimes the things that he wants me to do on the track that sound a little different or weird end up working really well (laughs). He’s a great guy and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to riding and racing, so I’m very thankful to have him in my corner. It means a lot to me to have someone of his stature around overlooking the things that I do because I know this will all benefit me in the long run.
You’ve been with team TLD/Red Bull/GoPro/KTM since 2014, so how did things change with the team (if at all) once you moved into the professional ranks?
I joined the team after Loretta Lynn’s in 2014, so I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside guys like Jessy Nelson, Shane McElrath and Alex Martin, but this team has never felt like anything short of a family! I can honestly say that nothing really changed for me at all once I made the move up to the pros. Ive been with the team for a few years now obviously, and they’ve been grooming and preparing me for this point in my career for some time, now. Even when I was still the amateur kid on the team I never felt like the odd man out or a burden to the rest of the team. They want nothing more for me then to succeed and to win races! When a team is able to groom and mold an amateur I think it’s beneficial for everyone involved. I genuinely feel that this is the best team for me and I’m extremely happy with everyone.
We are approaching the halfway point in the series so it may be a little too early to ask this, but what’s the biggest learning curve you’ve experienced thus far?
That’s a tough question to answer because it seems like every weekend there’s been something that I’ve had to learn. Every weekend seems to hold something new! I’ve thought to myself, “Once I get this figured out I’m set!” But that’s just not the case. I’m happy to say that I haven’t experienced any large setbacks so far this season, either. I’m constantly learning every time I’m on the bike; especially on the weekends. I have tendency to be pretty hard on myself and even if I ride really well, I’ll still find something to nitpick. I can honestly say that I haven’t ridden to the best of my ability because I’ve been too cautious. That’s just the kind of rider that I am. It’s been four weekends since I’ve finished inside the top ten, and that’s not okay with me. This has been a fun, new challenge that keeps me motivated and driven. These guys that I’m racing against or no joke, either. I think that may be one of the biggest learning curves that I had to overcome; the fact that the top 10 or 12 guys have the potential to win in the pros whereas in the amateur ranks there may have been between 4-6 guys that have the potential for a win. And if I pass someone, they’re still there! It’s insane how fast these guys are, but the most impressive part in my eyes is that they are so incredibly fit and strong.
It appears that you’re the only one left on the team that hasn’t made the move to Florida. Can we expect to see you move east anytime soon?
I really don’t think so. I am a California boy, born and raised. It would be great to get over there every once in a while for some training and different riding, but I’m loving California. We don’t have quite the humidity over here as they do on the East Coast, but the heat is just as bad, if not worse. I know all of those guys are getting in some great training over there in Florida, but I am trying to work on myself first and foremost. I’m very happy with the way things are going here in California training with Kyle Lewis and Tyler Kalisiak, so, no I really don’t see myself moving to Florida anytime soon.