Interview with Phil “This Semi Is Almost the Right Size” Oppen

Phil Oppen, alongside girlfriend Miranda Williams and her son Kellen Williams, will be heading East this year. All the way from Estacada, Oregon to, well, all over the East Coast. Phil and familia are pursuing the ATV MX circuit this year. After getting a small taste of the competition at the ATV Pro Challenge, Phil traded his truck and trailer for a big dogger tractor trailer combo last Spring and has been putting countless hours into making the rig ready for the upcoming MX season. We asked him a few questions about his upcoming adventure.

Tell us about your racing plans this year. You’re heading back East to compete on the National Level. Are you excited? Nervous? Ready?
That is true, it is something I have wanted to do since I started racing and this year I finally have a chance to go throw some laps down over there. I am very excited to be able to have this opportunity and feel well prepared for the season ahead.

When did you first think that racing back East would be possible? 
Well I was kind of feeling out the work situation last year to see if there was a way to make it mesh. Also, we were having a tough time fitting everything we needed into our last set up, so after I found the semi, it was a done deal.

Did you maybe get bit by the “bug” at the ATV Pro Challenge?
Absolutely I did, it was a level of racing that I had never experienced. It made me realize that I can and will need to push myself a lot closer to the edge than I ever have.

You didn’t get much seat time in last year. How prepared do you feel you’ll be for your first round?
I have probably lost a little speed from not riding very much last year, but I have been working on my fitness a lot and feel confident in myself that I will be able stay in the front of the pack.

The new racing setup is pretty impressive. Can you tell us what you had to do to it to make it ready for travel/living/racing?
Well thank you. It had a living area and garage in it to start with, but I was not happy with the layout of either, so I pretty much gutted it. I changed the interior around to suit us better and make the space more useable. I will not have the garage done for this year but the plan is to have a lift so we can haul all of our quads, parts, tools, gear and have a place to wrench while still being able to fit a vehicle inside to make errands easier.

What track are you looking forward to the most this year since almost all of them will be new for you?
That’s a hard question since I am always excited about getting to ride new tracks. If I had to pick one it would probably be Red Bud. It has just always looked like a fun track with good dirt on TV. I’m pretty excited about them all to be honest.

What do you think the most difficult part of your season will be, and how do you plan to overcome that challenge?
It will definitely be keeping up on my training with all the flying/driving I will have to do. I am going to have to keep my head up and keep pushing myself every chance I get.

Can you tell us what the most important thing will be this year to help you be successful on and off the track?
The family/race team. Without everyone doing their part and having the same goal, this would be impossible.

What’s the most exciting part of racing on the East Coast?
I might be able to better answer that after the season is over, but right now I am excited about the opportunities that racing the AMA series seems to have. I am really excited about the competition over there. I know it is going to be fierce and I am up for the challenge!

Look for posts from Miranda Williams regarding their journey this Spring! We’ll catch up with Phil and crew later in the year as they progress on their adventure!

Megan

Megan grew up riding quads and got involved with the racing community in 2004, creating PitTraffic.com in 2005. A lifelong love of motorcycles keeps her involved, while her two small kids keep her very busy.

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