Photos: Braeden Ortt/Facebook
We’ve talked about Braeden Ortt off and on in CMG before; the kid from Calgary made it all the way to World Supersport in 2016, as the youngest-ever racer in that series. His results weren’t as good as he hoped, so he headed back to the AMA in 2017. He’d previously raced in the AMA’s RC390 series in 2015.
This past summer, he competed in the Superstock 600 class, riding a Yamaha R6 for Tuned Racing, and saw much more positive results, including a win. Interested in his thoughts on the past season, we sent him a note to see how he felt about his return to the US, and about his future plans.
CMG: Why return to MotoAmerica this year? Why not try CSBK, or have another go internationally?
Braeden Ortt: I decided to return to MotoAmerica because its an environment I know and I know so many of the tracks that are on the circuit. As well, I have some good friends within the MotoAmerica paddock that have made the transition a little bit easier. As well, MotoAmerica has a lot of rounds which allows me to get a lot of seat time, which at this point in my career, is very important!
CMG: What were your goals, this summer? Did you feel you met them?
Ortt: Headed into the summer, my goal was to get a podium by the end of the season … By Sonoma, I had my first podium (which was actually a win)! I absolutely met my goals and then managed to finish the season off with a four-podium streak! At the start of the season I didn’t think that I would be able to achieve these results, but I proved myself wrong (in a good way).
CMG: You were fairly consistent all summer, improving your positioning every weekend between Race 1 and Race 2 (except at Sonoma). What do you think this means for next year, should you choose to return?
Ortt: I think my consistency is a major factor which is going to help me going into next year. I was one of very few riders to finish every race this season, let alone in the top 10 of every race! Last year, however, I had no luck whatsoever, no positive finishes, and no consistency. Since I was showing good progression especially at the end of this season, I think that if I can continue this, that next season is going to be very successful for us.
CMG: Speaking of Sonoma—what did that win mean to you, your team and your family?
Ortt: My win at Sonoma was huge! Before my win, my best finish was a 5th place, so, to have such a big jump like that came as a surprise to me honestly. But it was a major confidence boost for my riding and proved that I could run up front. As well, it was really big for us as a team. It proved that Tuned Racing can operate a team at an extremely high level, and proves that we can operate well as a unit. It was also quite validating, seeing all of the hard work my family, my team, and myself have put in, pay off.
CMG; You had two podium finishes at Barber as well; it seemed like you were finding your SuperStock 600 pace at the end of the season. Do you plan to chase that again next year, or are you going to try another series or class (maybe CSBK)?
Ortt: Yes, things really started to click at the end of the season. Next season however, we are going to come in swingin’. The plan isn’t to get up to speed at the end; the plan is to be up to speed from Round 1. We are going to be competing in the new MotoAmerica SuperSport 600 class now that they merged SuperStock and SuperSport.
CMG: What are you working on in the off-season to develop yourself as a racer? Are you lapping anywhere in the US, in Canada? …
Ortt: I have been doing lots of training here in Canada, and will be doing some testing in the upcoming months in California to get ready for the start of the season!
CMG: How did your Superstock 600 bike compare to the Supersport you had last year? What were the differences between your competitors, and the tracks?
Ortt: There is a huge difference between my season in Europe in World SuperSport and this year in MA SuperStock 600. The tracks in America aren’t quite as smooth as the European tracks, but the standard of safety is very high in both Europe and America. I really enjoy riding American tracks considering they are what I have raced on many times previously and the I like the flow that each circuit has. The competitors are very strong in both Europe and America … In Europe it was especially difficult because I was on a new bike, which wasn’t competitive whatsoever. Not only was I struggling with power, but I was having to learn the bike and some of the tracks as well. I have had plenty of experience racing on the Yamaha R6 which made my transition in SuperStock 600 much easier. Also, the Graves Motorsports-built 2017 Yamaha R6 is very competitive, and the support that they have given me throughout my past season is unlike anything I had in Europe. Overall, my experiences racing in Europe and America have both been very positive and helpful for my racing career, but overall, I am very happy to be back in the American series.
CMG: Do you plan to return overseas to race in the future?
Ortt: I would like to make the leap across the pond again in the future, but when I do, I want to make sure I have the experience and proper tools to ensure a successful ride.