Whether you love him or hate him, you have to give props to Motoconcepts racing rider Vince Friese. Consider these facts; Vince is now 31 years old, while his MCR Honda is a great dirt bike, it is not a factory bike, and his strong development skills along with his riding, have led him to ride for the same team for seven years! At times criticized for his blocking those riders behind him, Friese simply wants to not only hold his position but move forward! Although you may think Vince is an aggressive tough rider, he has a relaxed demeanor and is relatively slight in his build. After racing the 450 class for years, and generally finishing top fifteen, the 31-year-old is now competing in the 250 West Coast Supercross series, and consistently finishing top five. We talked to Friese at San Diego after he narrowly missed getting on the podium.

By Jim Kimball

VINCE, LET’S BEGIN WITH WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO RACE A 250 THIS SUPERCROSS SEASON? We could not put our finger on the day or the time, but I think slowly throughout the season last year, we were just looking for something to make us stand out as a team a little bit more. It is tough; we fight hard, and the crew works hard. Mike Genova spends a lot of money for us to be on the scene. Even though we were going fast and riding well, we were getting tenth through fifteenth place finishes. Somewhere between Tony Alessi and Mike Genova, they came up with the idea to race the 250 class.

AND THAT’S WHERE YOU CAME IN? I was reluctant at first about doing it, and it took me a little while. I have been on such a fast 450 for so long. When I first got on the 250, we did not have a lot of parts, and it was basically stock for the first couple of months riding it. So going from a full-blown 450, probably one of the fastest 450’s in Supercross, to a stock 250 was even tougher. It had me rethinking, what am I doing here? They just kept reassuring me, “we are going to have a good bike by the time we go racing.” I believe in Chad (Braun), who is our engine guy at XPR Motorsports, but I was still nervous about being a month out from the race and I am still on a stock 250. Just the week after Christmas, they finished up the race engine. That was the first time getting on a full-tilt race engine and that made me feel a lot better about it. It still took me a few days to get used to that because it was so much faster than the stock 250. I still came into round one with a lot of nerves, but I felt better.

Vince Friese 2022 San Diego Supercross-0988

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU RACED A 250? The last full championship, I did on the 250 was in 2014. Then we started again in 2015 and I blew my shoulder out at round two, so 2014, was my real last real run in the 250 class. I was on a different team in 2014 but had signed with MotoConcepts for 2015.

HAVE YOU BEEN PRETTY HAPPY WITH YOUR RESULTS? YOU ARE GETTING A LOT OF RECOGNITION. I think we are doing what we wanted to do as far as the team. I led some laps and have been right there on the starts. It’s been good, but getting top five is not really what I wanted. I want to be on the podium and almost was at San Diego. I want more. Coming into this series, it was hard to know where I was going to be because it has been so long since I have ridden a 250. Still, I felt there was no reason I should not be on the podium and even fight for wins, really. I think Christian Craig is riding at another level right now, but everyone else seems beatable.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole top ten in that class are top-notch guys. But I felt like I should have been a podium guy. Top five was okay to start with, but I am looking for more.

Vince Friese 2022 San Diego Supercross Practice-5940

YOU WERE THE FIRST GUY ON THE TEAM TO RACE THE NEW 450 AND NOW YOU ARE RACING THE NEW 250. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT YOU ARE REALLY GOOD WITH DEVELOPMENT. I have worked with the same crew for a long time, so it has been good. We all feel comfortable together and whether it is me and the engine guy, the suspension guy, or me and Tony, doing everything in between those things.  Even during the summer, Tony would throw parts at me just to go ride motocross and test parts for the following season. When it comes time to start developing new bikes, they looked to me to be the test rider, and hopefully, give a little guidance. As I said, we work well together, and we enjoy working together. It really has just not been the last couple of seasons, but it has been quite a few years that we have gone through some different motorcycles with the same little crew; me, Tony, Chad, whoever was the suspension guy at the time, and my mechanic, Nick McCampbell has been here a long time.

YOU HAVE BEEN WITH THIS TEAM FOR SO LONG AND IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THERE IS A LOT OF RESPECT FOR YOU. Honestly, it has been more Mike Genova being loyal to me. There are so many other riders that he could have in my spot, past champions, race winners, and the list goes on with the high level of guys that he has picked me over them. I am grateful to be here, and I believe part of it is that he sees the level of effort that I am putting into it week in and week out. I think that is part of why he keeps me around; he sees that I am working hard and giving it everything I have every weekend. Hopefully this season the hard work keeps paying off and we keep moving forward.

Vince racing the MCR CRF450 at Atlanta Supercross last year. Ironically, with Mitchell Oldenburg, his new teammate, behind him. 

IT SEEMS REALISTIC TO EXPECT A PODIUM SOON. For sure, that is a first step goal. I want to try to keep myself in this points race. Christian, as I said, is riding so well. He is going to have to beat himself to be honest, from what I have seen. I want to keep myself there. I don’t want to go over the top to try to get one podium one night and make that hinder the points battle but it is one of the top priority goals to try to get up on the podium.

WHEN SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AROUND LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN, DO YOU STUDY YOUR COMPETITORS, AND HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS? Yes, but that was part of what was so crazy coming into this season. I did not know any of these guys. I did not know anything about any of them, other than Christian. I raced with him a little bit but the rest of the guys I have not even heard of. I probably should have because I am at Supercross every weekend, but like Seth Hammaker, I barely heard the kid’s name. I know he podiumed last year and maybe even won a race. He was up there week in and week out, but I guess I was not paying enough attention.  Man, that kid is unbelievable, and I probably had not watched him ever do a lap in my life. It is rare that you will find somebody that is not even on your radar that can beat you at this level after you have been doing it this long. It is wild, these kid’s all ride great. They are all smart racers.

I was joking with Mitchell Oldenburg because he will do the East Coast Supercross that I got the more mature, more got-it-together crew, with Hunter Lawrence, Christian Craig, Seth Hammaker and Michael Mosiman. I think his crew on the East Coast is going to be wilder with Austin Forkner, Cameron Mcadoo, and RJ Hampshire. That is going to be a wild crew. It has been impressive; the poise and everything that they all seem to race with is impressive. Then you see how old they are, and it is even more impressive. It is crazy how good they are at such a young age. Me and Christian are quite a bit older than the rest of them, but it is fun to watch and race against them.

HAVE YOU SEEN THAT FAN SUPPORT INCREASE? I don’t know as far as gaining fans. I honestly tune it all out once we get a few weeks in the season and shut down looking at any internet stuff. But the team tells me that the exposure has been great, and they are happy with it. The sponsors and everyone seem really happy. The exposure has been a massive increase from what I got riding the 450, which obviously is the goal. Hopefully, it helps win over a few fans for me. I feel that I am putting on a great show for the team and the fans, and hopefully people appreciate it. I am out there trying to make a living riding a dirt bike and I am trying to put on a good performance for this team, the sponsors of this team, and all these people that have supported me for so many years and watched me ride around tenth place in a 450 Main. Hopefully, now, I am paying them back with some action. It feels good and hopefully we can keep putting on a show and hopefully it only gets better as the season goes.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE THAT ARGUE YOU TRY TO BLOCK THOSE BEHIND YOU, EVEN IF THEY APPEAR FASTER? Well, what would you do if you are in third place, and the fourth-place guy is catching you? Would you pull over and let him by? If you would do that, why even race. I’m just out there trying to do my best for myself and the team. How many laps go by without you seeing some blocking or aggressive racing – it’s Supercross.

Vince Friese 2022 San Diego Supercross Qualifying-7837Vince finished fourth in San Diego. 

DO YOU HAVE A GOAL WHERE YOU WANT TO FINISH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? Well, right now, I am fourth in points, and the three riders in front of me are great riders.

As I said, Christian is almost going to have to beat himself. But it has happened to him every year that he has done this. Whether it happens this year or not, it is what it is. Maybe some tracks will change, and suit me more than they suit him, and we can give him a little bit of a run. But again, he is riding so well. The other couple of guys that are ahead of me are great riders, but I feel like they are beatable, and there is still a lot of racing left. We take a break and come back, so there is a lot of stuff that can happen at the practice track. I feel like I should be in it towards the end. That has been a goal for the team; to try to stay consistent, stay in it and see where that puts us.

WILL YOU DO THE 450 ON THE EAST COAST? Yes, that is the plan. Minneapolis will be the first East Coast round, so Mitchell will be on the 250 and then I will switch over to the 450. I am looking forward to that. I have not done something like that in a long time so it will be exciting switching it up.

Mitchell is going to be great; you can look forward to every bit of the same show that I have been putting on. His starts are good, and his bike is good. We have been doing a lot of laps together at the practice track all year long, and I think that his racing the 250 is going to be just as exciting and cool as it has been for me.


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