“There are much bigger problems in the world, but as far as where we’re racing and when we’re racing, I’ll just be happy going off the gate.”
A fortnight after winning the 2019 Monster Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Adam Cianciarulo reflected on winning the biggest race of his career, and also on what it took to get drafted into the Monster Energy Kawasaki 450cc program for 2020 and beyond.
“I can say from a personal perspective that the 250cc outdoor championship would have meant far, far less had I not had to go through what it took to get there,” said Cianciarulo at the time.
“I’m stoked just to even still be in the sport. So now, Eli Tomac, myself and the entire Kawasaki team are preparing for Anaheim 2020. I think for me with this first year on the 450, first and foremost, I want to be at all the races, do all the laps, and just gain experience. I think the challenging part of it – and this is highly publicized – is how long the season is and how grueling the schedule is. Long season, a lot of laps, I think that’s all something that I’ll need to adapt to.
Fast-forward nearly three months, seven 450cc main event starts and a remarkable average finishing position of P4 in the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series, and Cianciarulo took a look back at the opening to his 450cc debut season.
“I feel pretty good about it,” he says. “I think I definitely left some good results on the table, but a lot of my mistakes came from wanting to win and not necessarily really settling for what would be considered a good result. I was always trying to find the edge, and in a way, that’s kind of what the rookie season is about, right? You’ve got to go through those little learning periods, and for me, I learned so much and definitely some things I wish I could have done better. Not that the rookie season is over by any means, but just so far, I think I’m in a really good spot and I definitely think I surprised myself a little bit with how competitive I was able to be.”
And how is he dealing with the coronavirus pandemic?
“Currently, I’m on my couch playing that supercross video game,” he says. “A lot of PlayStation has been going down lately. It’s fun. I like racing online with everybody. Ever since I was a pretty little kid, I played Call of Duty and all the normal games online, so I’ve always been a little bit of a gamer nerd. I was around for the MX Unleashed days and stuff on PlayStation 2, and so to now be able to race people online on a dirt bike game is pretty cool, man. I mean, look at what everyone is doing with the iRacing with the NASCAR guys and things like that, it has been kind of cool. Technology, man, it’s crazy.”
The training and sweat equity Cianciarulo has been investing in has also kept things positive.
“Totally,” he says. “It’s a way of life for most of us, and I’ve basically been kind of training like a pro athlete since I was 14, so I don’t know what we can do now. It’s not like we can we go on vacation and shut the mind off and do stuff like that. Everybody is trapped in their house. I’m just doing everything I can to stay in shape, and like I said, I’m actually enjoying it and just waiting for everything to settle down.
“It’s always a game of training for an event, right? We always have that goal in mind, so now that there is not really a definite, for sure date where we can race, I think everybody is thrown off a little bit. I’ve kind of taken the stance of, ‘I really don’t know what else I would do if I didn’t train. This my life still.’ For me and training, I’m keeping up with it. I haven’t really taken too much time off. For me, I love what I do so much that I would be less happy of a person if I didn’t train. I’m taking it easy, for sure, but at the same time, I’m training and actually enjoying it. I guess there is not a whole lot of pressure right now because we don’t really know when we’re going to go racing, but for me, I’m just trying to be ready for that June date for the first Florida National. I think that is the tentative date, and who knows if it will actually happen, but I’m going to be ready for it if it happens.”
While Cianciarulo is in Florida, close friend and moto mentor Nick Wey is riding the pandemic out in California. Working together and collaborating via phone and laptop, the duo has been putting in the heavy lifting in hopes of going racing soon.
“Nick, that guy has always got me doing the right things and keeps me locked in and focused on improvements that I can make,” says Cianciarulo. “My health is good and I’m back on the bike and been riding outdoors, and this time here has just given me a little bit more time to be patient with it than I would have been otherwise. The collarbone injury that I suffered at Dallas was pretty basic. It’s plated, and everything is good. I’m doing everything that I did before in the gym, and I’m on the bicycle and the track, and everything is pretty much full-bore and ready to go now. Yeah, I feel good about all of it.”