Loretta's. It's the one word that is constantly on the mind of ever amateur rider who wants to race against the best of the best at the ranch. It's that time of the year again, riders are qualifying for their classes, and they aren't wasting a second when it comes to preparing and training. To bring you up to speed on this year's top contenders, Ready for the Ranch will showcase select riders who will be battling it out on the famous Tennessee track.
Eugene Oregon's Max Miller will be heading to the ranch to take on the 65 class where he hopes to continue the success he has already seen so far this year. We chatted with Max about his qualifying races, riding with Justin and Josh hill on the reg, and everything in between (including some background on his shotgun skills).
How did your qualifiers go?
I got off to a good start, I was going good. In my last moto I crashed, but I went 1-1 in the stock classes and I went 1-7 for a 4th overall in the mod class. So it went good.
What are you going to do leading up to Loretta's?
I'm just going to try to stay healthy, work hard while I'm at home, train on the tracks at home, work out harder and push it when I get to Loretta's.
You were invited to the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship in Prague, how stoked are you for that?
I think it's going to be a big experience for me. It's going to be a blast! I'm excited to go with the Mosiman family, Aiden Tijero and Ty Masterpool. I think it's going to be really fun to do this.
What's it like to be able to go out to these races and have your dad out there racing too?
It's fun because if he gets done with a moto and I'm after him, he can tell me how the track is and what the good lines are, what's slick and stuff like that. It's so fun to be able to ride with him at open practice because we can train with each other and it's a blast.
Everyone knows that your mom makes the best food on the road, what is your favorite thing she makes?
Ummm.. That's a tough one. I'm actually not sure, I like all her food!
I remember having a really awesome dip she made, I think it had Elk in it. Is that stuff you guys have gone out and hunted yourself?
Where we live, we have 80 acres and every deer season we go out and do some hunting. My brother and my older sister hunt a little bit, and I hunt and my dad hunts. My dad usually goes right before the Dodge national and hunts in eastern Oregon for Elk, Whitetail and Mule Deer.
How old were you when you started hunting?
I hunt a lot. When I first started shooting my shotguns and stuff, I was probably about 4 or 5 when we cut down the stock on a 410 break action. My uncle helped me and we went out shooting birds all day long. Ever since then I kept shooting and I asked my dad if I could grab one of the guns out of our shelves and I just kept on switching through them. I've been through all our rifles and pistols.
You were at the Motosport ride day, is it true you are faster than Jarrod Rodgers on your 65?
I don't know if I'm faster! But he rode a little bit and I liked it when he was there. He was doing a little loop and every two times he went around the loop I would come around the track and he would cut the track. It was fun when I would go as fast as I could and he would go as fast as he could and I'd try to pass him and stuff, it was fun.
You get to ride at Josh and Justin Hill's house, what's that like?
Their ranch is amazing. They have multiple tracks all over the mountains. My favorite is probably either the woods track or the big track. The big track goes all the way over the top of the mountain to the other side and there are some jumps that I like. You can do the normal part where you go up a hill and then it turns left and goes around a corner and drops down a big hill and in the inside of the corner it's a big canyon. They jump all the way over the canyon and down the downside of the mountain. It's the coolest thing ever to watch!
Who are some of the riders you look up to?
Definitely Justin and Josh, whenever they ride I watch their technique and riding style so I can improve on what I do. If you watch them race, they dab their foot maybe once in the whole moto. That's what I've always wanted to do. When they ride it's like everything is spot on. Whenever I train with Justin, he tells me some stuff that helps so much. If I come into a corner, he'll say, "come out a little bit more wide and then it will be easier to take the line," and especially at their house it's up hill, downhill and it's amazing.
I also look up to Alyas Wardius and Chris Alldredge and all them. They help me ride too whenever we go to some tracks.