With all the talk lately about some of our top riders, very few are talking about some of the young riders who will be making their pro debut in 2019. Tallon Unger is one of those riders who is looking to get his feet wet in this year’s Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series. After years of building valuable experience as an amateur, Tallon is ready to make his series debut in Calgary. We sat down with Tallon to get his thoughts on what it’s like to be racing the pro class for the first time.
MXP: Hey Tallon, what is going on today?
Hi Chris! Nothing much going on today, I’m actually riding the bike as I answer these questions then I’m off to work until past midnight to pay for racing!
MXP: Where do you call home these days?
I’m currently living in Langdon, Alberta, a very small town with a population of about 4500 people. I’m a 25-minute commute to Wild Rose MX Park! It has been a huge advantage living here for most of my life because I am so close to the track and able to ride 3-4 days a week!
MXP: I know winter arrived pretty early this year in Alberta. Are you a fan of winter?
I am a huge fan of winter! The cold weather doesn’t bother me too much as I’m mostly working indoors.
MXP: What type of things do you do in the winter to keep busy?
I absolutely love to go skiing during the winter! I go to the mountains at least once a week because I’m within a three-hour drive for 4+ ski mountains, which is awesome because it’s easy to drive up if there is a powder day on short notice.
MXP: That sounds awesome. I don’t ski, but I probably would if I lived out there. Talk to us about how 2018 went?
My 2018 season had a lot of ups and downs between qualifying 7th in Prince George or compressing my back at the WCAN. I had an awesome off-season coming into spring because I ended up winning multiple local events in southern Alberta. I then set my sights for the MRC Amateur series, but after Round 1 in Calgary with a poor turnout I decided to try the last three western rounds! As a test year, being 16 years old, I had no expectations heading into the western rounds. Between qualifying 7th in the mud and finishing 13th almost multiple times it motivates me to train my butt off this winter and prove that I can Top 10 as a privateer and as a 17-year-old.
MXP: What did you think of the Popkum and Prince George tracks?
I think that the Popkum track had a super fun layout but the deep dirt just wasn’t there, and may I mention the roost was deadly with rocks. Prince George has been my favourite track in Canada to this day. I have yet to ride it dry though, knock on wood, hopefully next year. I love the wet conditions in Prince George because it is super technical and easy to capitalize on somebody’s mistake.
MXP: I agree, I think a lot of riders like the Blackwater Track in PG. So, after a successful amateur career you’re now moving to the pro class for 2019. You must be very excited?
I am super excited to move to the pro class and race 250! It was super cool being an Intermediate running up top, though! I have been cycling five days a week, and I’m on a specific training regimen to ensure I’m doing all I can to help myself and those supporting me.
MXP: What types of things did you learn this past summer racing those two nationals that might help you in 2019?
I learned that starts are 100% the key to a good 250 pro class race. If somebody is a second faster a lap than me, but I get a good start and they don’t, chances are good that I’m still going to beat them. At Popkum the gates on the very outside were very dusty but watered in the middle gates which was tough, but I managed to still get a decent start. It’s all about experience, though!
MXP: Obviously it’s a big jump up to the pro class, especially when you’re young. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been training hard. It sounds as though you’re going to be ready to go once riding season begins.
For sure, it’s a big jump! I went from racing kids to 25-year-old men! I have been on the bicycle five days a week to get prepared for California in March and April, and I will be doing a lot of mountain biking. I will also be training with @Honstein_32 and hopefully doing some training at the Deegan Facility again!
MXP: So, you’re heading to California at some point to ride?
I’m going to be down in the Temecula area for just about two months with my buddy @tristan_587 who will also be competing in the Canadian outdoor series at 15 years old! I am training as hard as I can before I head down south to ensure I’m getting the most out of the money that is being spent because it is not cheap for a privateer.
MXP: What are your racing plans for 2019? How many Triple Crown events do you plan on racing?
The plan is to do all of them. Again, with the economy as it is it’s going to be very challenging financially, but hopefully with some good rides this spring I may be noticed by somebody and get some support! I’m not a big fan of Arenacross and all the tight corners and jumps, but I would definitely ride supercross!
MXP: What are some of your goals for 2019?
My goals for 2019 are to have an injury free season and to have put some really good rides in. This year with even more training and preparation I really think that I could be running Top 10 with some heavily supported riders.
MXP: Final question for you Tallon, who would you like to thank for supporting you?
I’d like to thank Ryno Power Canada, Schrader Motosports, Pro Action Suspension, Bills Pipes, Gibson Tyres, 100% Goggles, lrx performance. Todd Starchuk and my Mom and Dad; everyone has helped so much!