Zach Bell could well be a “Monster” to contend with when he goes full throttle in this year’s motocross, which kicked off Thursday. (Photo courtesy Monster Energy)
Moto-phenoms Chase and Zach Bell to debut at Monster Mammoth Motocross
Since 1968, Mammoth Motocross has been revving its engine and once again the legacy continues here in Mammoth Lakes (June 17-27). Mammoth Motocross, now sponsored by Monster Energy, has forged a tradition of hosting the world’s best riders while also showcasing the next generation of motocross legends. So in lieu of the folklore, we caught up with some top up-and-coming throttle jockeys Chase Bell, 13, and brother Zach Bell, 15. Riding for Monster Energy, the two siblings have been tearing up tracks for the past couple of years and will compete in this weekend’s Super Mini. To better grasp what it’s like to be young and mega-fast, we hit ‘em up via telephone at the Bell compound in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Sheet: So I hear you two are pretty good. How did you guys get into moto?
Chase Bell: I guess it started with me watching my brother. I eventually got tired of watching him race so I asked for my first bike when I was 6. I did my first national race and didn’t do very well. Also, my dad used to ride back in the day.
Zach Bell: I was into BMX in the beginning and I would watch Ricky Carmichael race. At first my dad didn’t want me to get a motorcycle but I asked enough times and I eventually got a JR30. I raced a bunch and starting winning. I eventually got sponsored by Cobra and the rest is history.
Sheet: A lot of racers have a BMX background. Do you think that’s an important foundation to have?
ZB: Yeah for sure. You have to learn the same fundamentals like balance, flow and soaking up jumps. It’s definitely different with a suspension but the skills are the same.
Sheet: You two are pretty close in age. Do you race in the same division? Does it get competitive between the two of you?
ZB: Yeah, we race in the super mini 1. It definitely gets competitive and sometimes we battle. But I try to help out Chase when we’re riding at home. He usually finishes in the top 5.
CB: It’s hard. He usually beats me. But also he falls a lot!
Sheet: So speaking of your house. I bet you guys have a pretty sweet backyard?
CB: It’s pretty good, we have a super cross track, a sand track, a turn track and a clay track.
ZB: We also have a couple of ponds, a pool and a half pipe.
Sheet: I bet you’re pretty good at shoveling.
ZB: For sure, it’s like 68 acres and it rains a lot. So every time we leave and then come home we have to do a lot of weed whacking. Plus there’s wild dogs that come out and mess things up.
Sheet: Stupid wild dogs. So in terms of motocross, who do you guys look up to?
ZB: Um, probably Purcell or Eli Tomac. I used to race with Eli like two years ago but he’s definitely really good.
CB: Probably Ryan Villopoto and Dungey they’re some of the top pros.
Sheet: What about Travis Pastrano? Are you guys Nitro Circus fans?
CB: Yeah, I watch a lot of Nitro Circus … pretty much anything on Fuel TV.
ZB: And Bubba’s World. I also watch a lot of surfing. But mostly all moto stuff.
Sheet: Okay, if you guys could have any super power what would it be?
CB: Oh, I don’t know. I need to work on my starts.
Sheet: Usually kids your age pick things like x-ray vision or telekinesis powers. How about super strength then maybe you could ride a bigger bike?
CB: Well, okay sure.
ZB: I would probably take something to keep me off the ground. I’m getting over an injury so I guess the ability to fly would be a nice change.
Sheet: What kind of injuries have you guys had?
ZB: I’m getting over a back injury that was pretty bad. That was probably the worst injury I’ve ever had.
CB: I’ve had a punctured lung. I’ve broke my left arm four times, I’ve been knocked out…
Sheet: Does that ever freak you guys out? I mean, do you ever think about the possibility of getting destroyed while you race?
CB: Not really. I just don’t think about it.
ZB: I just focus on winning and having fun.
Sheet: So what do you guys do for fun besides motocross?
ZB: I do a lot of BMX still and skateboarding. I’m going to try to bring my golf clubs up when we come to Mammoth.
CB: I do a lot of scootering.
Sheet: Yeah I saw a YouTube clip of you on a razor scooter. You got those tail whips down. Any future for you as a scooter pro?
CB: I guess, if moto doesn’t work out.
Sheet: Well you should bring your scooter here to Mammoth. We have a pretty sweet skate park. You could do some damage.
CB: Yeah, maybe I will. (Footage of Chase on his scooter can be accessed at the bottom of this site’s homepage).
Sheet: Have you two been to Mammoth before?
CB: No it’s our first time. I’m excited, it looks like a really good track.
ZB: From what I’ve seen it looks pretty rough and rocky. A lot of turns and hills, and it looks hot. But I’m used to the heat here in Florida so it should be fine.
Sheet: Well, I look forward to seeing you guys race here in Mammoth. Any advice to the little guys just starting out?
ZB: I suppose if you’re just starting out don’t take it that serious and just keep it fun. Our dad was always easy on us so we didn’t burn out on the sport. But yeah, [Mammoth] should be fun. I can’t wait to race!
For more information on race times, festivities and more check out the official Mammoth Motocross guide available just about anywhere or online at www.mammothmotocross.com