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Joey Savatgy interview

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Heading into the 2017 Eastern Regional 250SX Championship opening round last weekend in Minneapolis, there were a handful of possible contenders for the title, but Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy was the odds-on favorite. After winning the 2016 Las Vegas SX East / West finale main event but losing the 2016 Western Regional 250SX Championship by just one point to Cooper Webb, Joey has been waiting since last May for redemption, and he started 2017 with a win at the 2017 Minneapolis SX on Saturday night.

Joey qualified for the show in second, won his heat race, and while he says he was struggling, he was still able to hunt down Jordon Smith, pass him and score the fourth win of his career. Wearing the #17 in 2017—a number known for winning 250SX Championships—Joey took the lead from Smith at the halfway point of the main and cruised it home for the 25-point night. Saturday night showed that there are definitely some other title threats in the East, but it also showed they’re going to have to go through Savatgy if they want it.

After the checkered flag waved on round one, MotoXAddicts’ Chase Yocom caught up with Joey to talk about his win, his off season and more.

If a night where he's struggling results in a win, watch out when he's feeling it.

If a night where he’s struggling results in a win, watch out when he’s feeling it.

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Joey, big win for you tonight. You obviously came into the opener as one of the favorites, and that’s a lot of pressure. Also, with your teammate Justin Hill killing it on the west coast, this has to be a relief and exciting to win the opener.

Like you said, it was a little bit of added pressure with Justin winning four in a row over on the west coast, but all in all it was a good day. We struggled for the most part. I didn’t feel good and I didn’t ride good all day honestly. That main event was a struggle for me—we’ll say that. I would have liked to have ridden better, but we were dealt the cards we were dealt and I did what I could with what I had. We’ll go back to the farm this week with Ricky and Jeanie Carmichael and get back to work on fixing things for Atlanta. We’ll try to keep the ball rolling.

 

When you say you were struggling throughout the day, what was it? Was it yourself? The bike? The track? What was really the big struggle? Obviously it couldn’t of been that big since you won. (laughs)

I think the track was difficult. With bike setup, we started off I thought good and made some changes to make it better, but at the end of the day it’s the rider. It’s me! I didn’t feel good and didn’t ride that great. Personally, I didn’t think so. The track was very difficult, very tight. There wasn’t a lot of flow or rhythm to it. It wasn’t ideal, but we still got the job done and that’s a great feeling. We started off on a good note, but we have to keep it going.

 

Over the past year—maybe a couple of years—you were a west coast guy, but now you’ve switched over to the east coast. How big of a difference was that? Maybe the dirt was a little bit different and a little bit more of a break? How was it it dealing with the switch?

It doesn’t really bother me too much. At the end of the day, there’s a starting gate, and there’s a checkered flag, (laughs) and everyone is on the same track. Kind of going from coast to coast, west coast has its perks and east coast has its perks, but all in all, it’s another race. There’s a green flag, checkered flag and there’s going to be a winner at the end of the night. All we can do is try to show up every weekend and put ourselves in a position to win and try to execute.

Joey gave the Monster / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki team the red plate now on both regions.

Joey gave the Monster / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki team the red plate now on both regions.

You were down at the farm again with Ricky Carmichael and on the same team—bike might be a little bit different—but how was the off season for you?

The off season, for the most part, was good—not a lot to complain about. We got our homework done and I feel good. It was a little bit of a bummer that tonight I didn’t ride as well as I wanted too, but the offseason was great. I’m down there with Ricky and Jeanie, got our homework done and felt like we had a good amount of laps under us. We also had a lot of productive days. I’ll watch the race tomorrow when I get home, talk it over with the two bosses at the farm and we’ll work on some things this week. We’ll try to come back next weekend even better.

 

You have a couple wins in a row now with winning the Las Vegas SX finale in 2016 and now the opener here in Minneapolis. I’m sure the goal is to keep that rolling and keep these Pro Circuit / Kawasaki streaks rolling? (laughs)

Like you said, we won Vegas last year and this is the first one since Vegas, so technically we’re on a streak. It feels good. Hill won four in a row and I won the first one now, so technically it’s a five in a row streak for Mitch [Payton–Pro Circuit], so I’m pumped. This is my third year with them, and I’ve seen Mitch put in a lot of hours. We haven’t had the results lately that he’s accustomed to and it’s sucked, but we’re going to make it happen this year. Last year, things started clicking for SX. We got some wins and we were close to a title. We had our mishaps outdoors, but it feels good to get a win for myself personally, but it’s also very rewarding to know that Mitch’s hard work is paying off. Mitch and Bones from Pro Circuit, Adam from SHOWA, we have a whole group of people who work around the clock. I call them at 9 am east coast and it’s 6 am their time, and they answer the phone call and I say, “Hey, it’s doing this.” They do what they can, and it feels good to have a team that thoroughly enjoys having you around. Every time I go on the track I give it all I got and that’s all I can do.

 

Congratulations, Joey on a great start to the east, and enjoy the win. See you next weekend.

Thank you.

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