If you take a long look back at some of Canada’s best-ever amateur riders, the name Preston Masciangelo is one that most certainly comes to mind. From the moment the Brantford, Ontario resident throw his leg over a dirt bike Preston felt right at home and riding was always his favourite pass time. As he progressed through the ranks Preston and his family spent a lot of their time racing in the USA and competing at major amateur events like the Mini Olympics, Freestone Spring Nationals, as well as Loretta Lynn’s. Fast forward to now and Preston is getting ready for his sophomore season in the Pro Class, and with a much-improved program from last year, his confidence is very high. We caught up with this hard-working and likable 16-year-old as he was getting ready to head out for another day of training and riding.
MXP: Hey Preston, What is going on this morning?
PM: Not too much actually. I’m going riding later so right now I’m just finishing up some school work and then we’re off to go moto.
Where are you riding today?
I think we’re going to Zack Zager’s track near London. It’s a pretty good track and there will most likely be a bunch of guys there.
I’ve heard that Zack’s track is pretty good. Are you home-schooled or do you go to an actually high school?
I’m home-schooled and have been since like Grade 8. I like it a lot better and for what I’m trying to do right now with training and riding it’s perfect. I get my work done and then I have the rest of the day to ride and train.
Yes, that does sound like it would work out pretty well for someone in your position. Okay, let’s talk about 2021 for a minute. You had a solid rookie season in the pro class last summer. You weren’t able to crack the top ten but you came close on a few occasions. How do you feel it went?
Overall I was pretty happy with how things went last year. Looking back now, I think maybe my expectations were set a bit too high, and racing the 250 class was more challenging than I imagined. But it’s something you have to go through to gain experience and now heading into this year I feel a lot more prepared.
We’ve seen over the years that even the best amateur riders struggle for a few years after they turn pro as it really is a big jump. What was the most challenging part of last summer?
Oh man, where do I start? There were so many things that made last summer difficult it’s hard to nail down just one. Not only was I racing riders who were racing for a living for the first time but I don’t think I prepared as well as I should have coming into 2021. My family and I were still building our new house so we were busy with that, there were still some Covid restrictions that affected all of us, and I raced all of last year on just one bike so I had to limit my practice during the week. That was probably the hardest part because I love to ride and when given the opportunity I can ride a lot. With no practice bike last year I had to really watch the number of hours I put on my bike because it had to last me for the Nationals also. It’s hard to explain to people but the pro class is just different and as I said, I needed to go through it to really realize how difficult it was.
Fair enough Preston. I think you explained it well and it sounds like you’re much more prepared heading into this year?
I feel so much different right now than I did last year at this time. Even though I just started riding two weeks ago I feel better on the bike and hopefully, the next few months will go well for me. I did a lot of off-the-bike training over the winter and thanks to Hudson Motorcycles and Canadian Kawasaki I now have two bikes for this year. We’re also living in our new home and I was able to build a little corner track to play on. I don’t know, I just feel in a much better place right now.
Well, I think one of the biggest surprises that most rookie pro riders go through is just how challenging the pro class is mentally. There’s the physical side of it and also the machine side of it where you have to have a fast bike, but you also have to be in the correct place mentally. It sounds as though your head is in the right spot coming into 2022?
I agree Palms, the mental side is very important and last year we just had so much going on it was hard to stay focused on racing. When you’re competing against older and more experienced riders you need to be at your best and last year I wasn’t. But now I’m a year older and I know better what to expect when the gate drops later this month.
So what are your plans for 2022?
The plan is to do some AMO races in the spring and then hopefully we can pick up the Triple Crown Series in Manitoba and then continue east for the remaining rounds. Also, we’re going to race some of the Loretta Lynn’s qualifiers and see if I can try and qualify in the A class. If that all goes well then we’ll go to Loretta’s in late July and we’ll have to miss one of the rounds of the Triple Crown Series.
You sound like you’re really excited for this season. I can hear it in your voice.
I am for sure! As I said, my program is really solid for this year and hopefully, all of my hard work will pay off.
I think hard work always pays off Preston and it sounds as though you’re ready to go. I was putting together a KTMJRSX story for this next issue of MXP Magazine and it made me think of you and your experience with this program. Although a lot of lucky young Canadian riders have participated in these races you’re the only one who has won the final event in Las Vegas. Do you remember much about that race in 2014?
Wow! That was a long time ago. I do remember a little about that race. I was leading early I think and then I made a mistake and another rider caught me. On the last lap, we had a good battle for the lead and thankfully I was able to hold on for the win. That was probably the biggest win of my career!
I remember sitting in the stands with Ryan Lockhart and we were going crazy cheering on that last lap. It was quite the race. Well Preston, between that win and numerous other amateur victories both in the USA as well as here in Canada, you most had a decorated amateur career. Now it’s time to tackle your second season as a pro rider! Final question, you mentioned Hudson Motorcycles earlier as being a big help to your program. Do you have anyone that you’d like to thank?
For sure! I’d like to thank my family for always supporting me, Donk at Dialed MX, Canadian Kawasaki, MXTire, OG Gear, Atlas, Renthal, Pro Circuit, Hydro Power, Forma Boots, Hall Race Fuels, Pod Knee Braces, Serco,
Sounds good Preston. Thanks for doing this and have a great day riding!
Thank you for calling.
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