Kawasaki Canada Presents MXP Chatter With Darian Sanayei

Coming into the 2021 Triple Crown Series Darian Sanayei was still getting himself back into shape after a shoulder injury suffered last year. Due to the quarantining rules that were in place due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Darian and his wife arrive in Canada in early June weren’t able to leave their new Canadian home for two weeks. Because of both of these issues, Darian came into the opening round of the Triple Crown Series not quite as prepared as he would’ve liked. However, Darian had a plan and that plan consisted of him getting better and better through each of the opening rounds and then challenging for the 250 title late in the Series. Well, his plan almost work as he ended coming up just a couple of points shy of winning the 250 outdoor championship. But Darien would storm back in the final four Supercross rounds to win the overall 250 Triple Crown Series Title. When all was said and done it was a very successful season for Sanayei and hopefully he will be back in Canada in 2022 to try and win the 250 outdoor championship. We caught up with Darian as he is now back home relaxing in California.

All photos by James Lissimore

MXP: Hey Darian, what are you up to today?

DS: Not too much today. We haven’t been back home for too long so we’re still getting settled.

Due to the Covid-19 rules, you were forced to spend all summer in Ontario. How long were you and your wife away from home?

We arrived in Canada in early June so we were there for over three months in total.

That’s a long time to be away from home. This was your first year in Canada, apart from the racing did you enjoy your time north of the border?

Yes, I did! You guys have an awesome country and the people are very nice. From the time we arrived until the time we left we got treated great.

Did you find it to be a big adjustment from life in California?

No, not really. Other than the currency and a few of the store names everything is the same as the USA.

Having travelled the world to race motocross I guess you’re not a stranger to a new country. Is it safe to say that it was easier to adjust to life in Canada compared to Europe?

For sure it was easier going to Canada. Europe is obviously so different with travel and the language. When I landed in France a few years ago I was in shock at how different everything was. Where I was living no one spoke English so I had to really figure things out.

As you know there has been a lot of American riders who have come to Canada to race our series over the years and I think almost everyone has raved about how nice Canadians are and how well they got treated. So I’m glad you enjoyed your summer here. Okay, onto the racing. You started off a little slow in the opening two weekends but then you really caught fire and almost won the 250 outdoor title. Was your plan to ease into the series and sorted see where you would fit in?

Good question! Since I was coming off a pretty serious shoulder injury I wasn’t quite 100% physically and mentally when the gate dropped at the opening round. I planned to try and finish on the podium in the early rounds and then try and start winning at the halfway point. I guess it almost worked and I ended up losing the title to Piccolo but just a couple of points.

Yes, you could really see your riding go to a different level at Round 5 at Sand Del Lee. Did you physically feel better at that round or was it more mental?

I think both actually. At the opening rounds at Walton and Gopher Dunes, I was still adjusting to the bike and getting comfortable with racing against riders I didn’t know. We made a couple of bike changes and then I really felt good on the SDL track so I began to push. I should’ve won a moto there but came up just short. Then I believe we had a week off before going to Quebec. During that off weekend, we worked hard and went to the final two weekends feeling really good about where we were at.

If you look at the final points and how your series went it was that opening round 5th overall that really cost you?

For sure! But all of us had a bad race or two that we’d like to go back and change. That’s just racing. Before the opening round, I hadn’t really raced in almost a year so I just got tight and didn’t ride very well.

Earlier you eluded to having to learn to race against new riders. Was the speed at the front of the pack of the 250 class what you expected it to be?

Actually, I kind of underestimated how fast riders like Piccolo, McNabb, and Ward would be. They’re young and willing to take a few more chances than I was so at times they were really pushing the pace. I was trying to go fast but I was also trying to stay in control and not make mistakes. I remember in the opening moto of the series I was in second behind Tanner and thinking that his pace wasn’t that fast and that I was capable of going faster. Unfortunately, I would get arm pump in that moto and drop off the pace. But in between motos I was thinking that I would go out in Moto 2 and win no problem. What I didn’t know was that in the opening moto Tanner’s bars were messed up and that he wasn’t riding as fast as he could. So in Moto 2, I was surprised at how fast Tanner was and also Piccolo. I think that’s just some of the things you have to deal with when you’re new to a series and you don’t know where you fit in. Anyway, I learned quickly that the riders in Canada are just as fast as everywhere else, and in the end, I was happy that I was able to eventually win races and battle for the 250 title.

Looking back at your summer what was your favourite track and which race do you considered as your best?

I really enjoyed SDL and Deschambault as far as the dirt and layouts go. As far as my best race. I think it was Round 7 on the Monday in Quebec. I didn’t get a great start but I was able to come from behind and take the win. That one felt great and with Piccolo having problems in that moto it really put me in a good position to challenge for the title at the final round.

With the disappointment of losing the outdoor title it must have felt good to finish off the season in style at the Supercross rounds and win the overall 250 Triple Crown title?

Yes, it felt good to win the overall Triple Crown title and end my first season in Canada on a high note. The SX races were fun and there were some great battles in the 250 class.

Would you come back next year?

Of course! I had a good time and I met a lot of great people. My team was great and hopefully, I get the opportunity to return in 2022 and try and win the outdoor title. It sounds as though the series will travel out west next year so it would be fun to see more of Canada.

Well, we hope you come back for another season as it was great to have you here in 2021. What are your immediate plans for riding and racing during these next few months?

Right now I’m just going to keep riding around my home in California and see what my options are for 2022. I’d like to ride some of the Monster Energy Supercross rounds next year but right now I’m not sure. That’s really it for now. I’d like to come back to Canada next year but we’re still a few months away from deciding that.

Darian, thanks for your time, and congratulations on a great first season in Canada. Hopefully, you’re back next year and battling for more wins in the 250 class.

Yes hopefully! Thanks for calling and thank you to Canada for a great season!