Interview: First-Time Arenacross Winner Aaron Plessinger

Shan Moore | January 14, 2014
  Aaron Plessinger won the Baltimore Arenacross. Photography by Shift One Photography

Aaron Plessinger made a big splash in his Arenacross debut in Baltimore. Photography by Shift One Photography

The name Aaron Plessinger keeps popping up as of late. Over the past couple of years, the teenager has been putting his name at the top of the leaderboard over a variety of forms of racing. Not long ago, he won a GNCC round in the Lites class, then he reappeared at Loretta Lynn’s last year and came away with not one but two B-class championships, surprising a lot of people who figured he was more of an off-road guy. And now, in his first attempt at Arenacross, the 18-year-old captured both a main-event win and an overall victory. Many believe Plessinger just might be the next big thing in motocross/Supercross. And he does seem to be heading in that direction.

Yes, Plessinger surprised many of the Arenacross regulars last weekend in his professional debut at round two of the 2014 AMSOIL Arenacross Series, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, in Baltimore, Maryland.

The MyPlash/Star Racing Yamaha-backed rider from Georgia got warmed up on Friday night by grabbing a podium finish. He then lowered the boom on the competition by taking a spectacular win on Saturday night, making him the first “Road to Supercross” competitor to ever take an overall victory in the series.

The Ricky Carmichael Road to Supercross program is the official feeder system of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and Plessinger’s goal is to make it all the way to the big time.

“I’m really wanting to get my pro card for Supercross, so I thought that might be the way to get there, to ride Arenacross, since they have the new Road to Supercross program,” said Plessinger. “You have to do three races, so I’m going to also do Louisville, Kentucky, and Greensboro, North Carolina.”

Although Plessinger has been riding the GNCC series since he was seven, getting a young start to racing thanks to his famous racing father Scott Plessinger, it was still a major feat to go into Baltimore and beat the best that Arenacross has to offer.

“To go in there and do as well as I did in my first Arenacross is pretty much a dream come true,” said Plessinger. “It was just me being myself and I think I proved myself.”

On Friday night in Baltimore, Plessinger got a good start in the first main event and was running second behind Mike McDade for about half the race until McDade bobbled in the whoops, which allowed Plessinger to take the lead and eventually the win. In Friday’s second main event, Plessinger got off the line in about sixth and worked up to fourth, which gave him third overall for the night.

On Saturday, Plessinger finished fourth in the first main event after going down earlier in the day. In the second main, he led from start to finish, giving him the overall win.

“It surprised me for sure,” said Plessinger. “I was going in there thinking a top seven or top five would be good, but then to win it was a big surprise, I was really stoked.”

Aaron was also surprised that he was able to adapt to Arenacross so quickly after so many years of racing off-road.

“There’s a big difference in the two types of racing,” said Plessinger. “In GNCC, it’s three hours, so you have to pace yourself. But in Arenacross, it’s all sprints. It’s definitely two totally different sports, but I guess I can do it.”

Plessinger gets backing from MyPlash/Star Racing Yamaha, but he’s still going about his racing in a relatively low-key manner.

“We’re just loading up in a pickup truck and going to these rounds hoping it pays off,” said Plessinger.

Plessinger hopes to get much better as the series unfolds, since he got very little practice before the Baltimore race.

“It’s been raining down here so much in Georgia that we haven’t had a place to ride for a while,” explains Plessinger. “I’ve been able to ride a little bit on a sand track around here, and then next week I’ll go to Matt Walker’s place and practice on his Supercross track.”

Plessinger will try to build on his momentum at three of the AMSOIL Arenacross Series this coming weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.


Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.