Brandon Ward is an AMA National Supermoto Pro rider, currently sitting in second place for points. I was fortunate to be able to get a minute of his time in his busy schedule to answer some questions for you guys about his racing career and his new venture BW Racing, which has some very ambitious goals for the 2015 season and looks to be a great push in the right direction for the sport of supermoto.
Tell me about yourself.
Well first off, I’d like to thank you for the chance to sit down and get some info out about myself personally as well as being able to touch on the topic of the BWR Race Team. Anyways, I am 22 years old and originally hail from Newport Beach, CA. I currently live in Corona, CA and work full time for Corona Clay Company. If you are in the Southern California area and are building a track, baseball field, or any other reason you may need recreational mix, check us out at www.coronaclaycompany.com! We actually supplied the material for the Dual at the Docks Supermoto National Championship (as well as other supermoto races) and all the material for the Corona Clay Company owned Factory Supercross Test Tracks. Enough about that, I work full time and rarely get the time to practice supermoto. I get out on the motocross track every now and then, but not as often as I should. On my off time you can usually find me hiking, surfing, hanging out with friends, or sending emails to find support for the race team.
How did you get into motorcycles? I'm assuming because of your dad. How was it growing up with Jeff Ward as your father?
Yeah, my dad got me into riding when I was around 7 years old. I originally started out riding and racing motocross. Life growing up with my father being whom he is was definitely different than most others I’m sure. He retired from professional motocross the year I was born, but we were always traveling while he was racing Indy Cars (which at the time was called the Indy Racing League). It was an amazing experience growing up having a father like him, always being able to travel to different states and even different countries. Of course, I was young so I do not remember all of it, but what I remember was unbelievable. Without him being as successful as he was in every sport he did, I do not think I would still be racing today. He was able to get a lot of connections that have helped me get to where I am not in my career. Basically, I owe him a long overdue THANK YOU. By far, I would say one of the most amazing things about having him as a father is all the stories I get to hear from complete strangers. The passions they have towards these memories are fascinating. He truly is a living legend and I will always look up to him as a role model and a hero.
I’ve been racing supermoto on and off since my last pro race in 2009, but how I got started is a whole other story. My parents were very serious about me going to real school and not being homeschooled like most of the other kids I raced motocross against, and it got to the point to where they were just able to ride and train more than I was and I could see that I was not going to make it big in the sport with the amount of time I had available. Around that same time, supermoto was thriving and my dad seemed to have a pretty big interest in it, and he was good. Of course I wanted to be like my dad, so I gave it a shot. From that point on, I found a very odd connection with it. I say odd because I am not sure what it is about the sport that I am drawn to, but it is strong. I have always loved motocross, but there is always a time where you just start to feel burnt out. With supermoto, I never got that feeling. I just always found myself wanting to improve, set higher goals and dreams, and obviously just wanting to go faster.
When did you start racing?
I started racing motocross at a young age but I didn’t start racing supermoto until I was on an 85. I was probably around 13 years old when I got into supermoto. It somewhat started out with the Honda Junior Supermoto Challenge. That was an amazing program and I really hope something like that can come back in the near future. It is a great way to help give kids (the future of the sport) a chance to try out supermoto. I started to race on my Kawasaki 85 and then eventually got on the Honda 85, bumping it up to the 150 when it came out.
What's your most memorable moment in racing?
I would probably have to say winning the AMA Sports National Championship back in 2006 at Troy Lee’s Dual at the Docks; the same day as my dad won the AMA Championship. Contrary to popular belief, I was actually the first person to win an AMA Sports National Championship on the CRF150R. Troy and everyone else involved really put on an amazing event at the Queen Mary and I am really hoping that supermoto can have more events like that in the near future. Winning that race and championship really proved what I was capable of in the sport and made me want to continue with the adventure.
What types of riding do you like most?
As I believe I said before, mainly supermoto. Unfortunately, I do not get any time to practice. I mainly go race to race without any practice between. I am hoping with the formation of the team and being able to have more support, that next year I can change that. With the price of tires, it is hard to get out there and spin some laps. If we are talking money wise though, motocross is my favorite. I recently just got a 2014 YZ 250 2 Stroke. There is absolutely nothing more fun than riding that beauty on the weekends. I do plan to get back into the moto world a bit, but somewhat mainly just for training. I plan to take the 2015 supermoto season extremely serious.
What are your racing goals?
I would say that a lot of them are coming true already. One of my biggest goals/ dreams was to be able to race supermoto in Europe and last year I had the opportunity to race in the Wanty Superbikers event in Mettet, Belgium. It was a huge eye opener to see how fast everyone over there is and I was hoping to get more seat time in this year before going back over to turn some heads, but I still plan to go over and have some fun and do the best I can. As of right now, I am sitting as an alternate for the United States SMoN (Supermoto of Nations) team; SMoN taking place in San Martino del Lago, Italy. It is still a great honor to be a part of the team and I look forward to being there as an alternate. Next year, I plan to work hard to make sure I am a racer on the team.
What's your dream race?
I would definitely love to have another race similar to Troy Lee’s Dual at the Docks. That was, by far, one of the best races to ever hit the US supermoto circuit. I also never had the opportunity to compete in X Games, which is an event I really hope supermoto can make a return in. I’ll keep that response short and sweet, haha.
From your website/knowing you - you have sponsors, would you like to tell us more about that?
I definitely need to update my website quite a bit, that was just something I personally threw together, and keep forgetting to update, just to promote myself a little as an athlete. I will work on that in the near future, so keep an eye on that (www.brandonward92.com). I do have quite a few personal sponsors that do a lot to support me, the most important being my father and the rest of my family. These others all hold a special role in my program: Troy Lee Designs, Surface Sun Systems, Virus Intl, Enzo Motorsports, Jeff Ward MX Training, Beringer Brakes, Renthal, Pole Position Raceway, Cytosport, Cycra, Oakley, GoPro, Rad Mfg., FMF Racing, The Factory Metal Works, Stomp Design and Print, Boyesen, and I may have forgot some others, but I hope not. I really appreciate everything that all my sponsors do for me and I love the relationships I have built with them. I always do everything I can to represent them to the best of my potential.
Any advice for motorcyclists and young racers?
I think the best advice anyone can give is just to never give up. No matter how down you may be, just always push forward. Give 110% all the time. People always try to go out and set their sights on winning for someone else. Always do it for yourself, no one else.
Tell me more about BW Racing.
Well with supermoto finally making a comeback, I wanted to try to get my foot in the door by starting up a professional sports team. I will no longer just be a racer; I will be taking on the roll of team owner. As of now there will be 3 riders. I would like to come out swinging with the first factory-backed team since 2009. I want to show people that BW Racing isn’t just here to help the sport grow; we are also here to win. We plan to film our entire season viewed as an online web video series either on the team’s website, it’s own website, or possibly a YouTube channel. It will include the entire racing season, testing, heartbreaks, drama, and all the other behind the scenes trouble and fun we get into. We are still working on our team website, but keep checking back every now and then to see if we have it up and running (www.bwrraceteam.com).
I thought I heard Hermunen and Wharton will be riding with you on TM's for 15. Is this true? Will they be at all the AMA SM rounds or are you guys planning on doing more/other series?
I have known Blake since my amateur motocross days and he was always the nicest kid. I had seen him a few times throughout the years around the SX tracks and he had always taken time out of his day to stop and say hi and see how the family and I was doing. So when I heard Blake wanted to get into supermoto, I got really excited. I got in contact with him the day after I heard and we talked for a while. After talking for a few weeks, we decided to team up and give it a go. He came out to Road America in Wisconsin and he did amazing for his first race! Since then, he has raced a few of the FIM North America Supermoto Championship rounds and has done pretty great! He is starting to get the hang of things really quick! He plans to race Supercross this coming season but has full intentions to get back in the saddle of a supermoto bike as soon as SX is over. Most people assume the team name is just my initials, but it actually came together after Blake and I realized that it was both of our initials. After Blake and I found a solid foundation for the team, we decided to take on another rider, and that is where Mauno came into play. I have looked up to Mauno for a while now. He has AMAZING talent. I love his style and how he presents himself as an athlete. I have spoke with him a few times now and I know he really wants to come and race in the US and I want to make that possible for him. I have him included in my proposal and I am doing all I can to try to get him over here to race with us. As for racing with TM Italy factory support, all I can say is that we have been in contact with multiple factories, but nothing has been agreed upon. As far as the series goes, we are still looking at our options. I am in contact with both, Matt from AMA Supermoto, as well as Marco from FIM North America Supermoto Championship and we would like to support them both but aren’t sure of the details of either series yet. In an ideal world, BW Racing would compete in both series, and we hope we can. And if there’s anything else you want to touch on that I didn’t ask or think to ask please do!
How do you like riding the TM? I hear they’re one of the best setup SM's on the market right now. Id love to hear your opinion
The TM I borrowed from Eric Siefkas was a great bike! I need to throw a special shout out to Eric for letting me borrow his bike for the last 2 rounds. It is definitely different than any converted bike over here in the States nowadays. Most bikes on the grid now are just motocross bikes with stiff suspension (possibly), supermoto rims, supermoto brakes, hand guards, and a few other add-ons for supermoto. The time and R&D that TM has put into their bikes really shows. You can tell it was built just for supermoto. It definitely takes a little getting used to after riding a stock Kawi 450 with no slipper or anything changed to it at all besides brakes. Pretty pricey from what I hear, but it seems to live up to the hype!
Its been absolutely wonderful talking to you Brandon, before we end is there anything else you would like to add?
There are a few things I would love to throw out there, if you don’t mind! I am going to try to get some supermoto schools together next year with some/ all of the team riders as well as possibly my father. Please keep checking back when the site is up for dates and locations. All of us at BW Racing love to give back to the sport of supermoto as much as we possibly can. With that being said, I have created BW Racing to be a great platform for representing and promoting companies. I would love for anyone who may be interested, or have a friend or know someone who may be interested, in supporting the team to please take a look at the team’s proposal for 2015 and contact us to see if there is anything at all we can work out to help each other out! Click here for the link to the proposal. Also, be sure to follow us on our social media sites! InstagramFacebookTwitter
One last thing to everyone, if anyone ever has any questions out at the track as far as suspension help, technique, line selection, etc… Please feel free to come up to any of us and ask us for some advice! We are here to help!