MotoAmerica: Exclusive interview with Austin Miller
Austin Miller will ride for the Pure Attitude Racing team in MotoAmerica Supersport in 2021.
Austin Miller has had an incredibly varied career, whether it be on tarmac or dirt he has proven to be fast. He is the winner of multiple AMA championships in Motocross and Supercross before his career took an incredibly unexpected turn and he ended up racing on tarmac. In 2021 he will race for the Pure Attitude Racing Team on a Kawasaki ZX6R in the Supersport class.
Before racing on the tarmac you were pretty quick on the dirt, winning multiple state AMA championships in both Motocross and Supercross. What made you change to tarmac?
So it all started in 2017, it was the last year I raced on dirt. I made it to the Loretta Lynn’s that year which is the biggest amateur motocross race, after Loretta’s we went to another local race, it was still a championship race but it wasn’t as big as Loretta’s, on the second lap of practice I had a bad crash and ended up bruising my liver and broke my left leg in two places, my fibula and tibia.
I had two surgeries on them and after the first surgery the Doctor told me I couldn’t be doing high impact running or jumping meaning motocross was out of the question, however at this point I had already done my first track day on a Ninja 250 so I asked about road racing and riding street bikes, there’s no jumps, you just sit and cruise on the pavement.
The doctor did advise against it but said it was a safer alternative, fast forward to after the second surgery when I got the titanium rod taken out I was still riding on tarmac with the rod in my leg, once I got it out I started pushing harder and picking up the pace. I fell in love with it due to my injury and have continued riding on tarmac since.
How do you juggle racing and college? Are there ever times where you have to choose one over the other?
At the moment I haven’t reached that point but last season I graduated from High School so this year is my first year at college, last year because of COVID it was easy because I was a senior and was going to school from home so could just log in and say I attended class but you don’t really have to attend class. Weird how it worked.
Last season was easy going, this year I haven’t really had the time come where I have had to make a decision but I do feel it is coming very soon.
What are you most looking forward to about this year in the MotoAmerica Supersport championship?
Definitely looking forward to racing in the Pure Attitude Racing tent, it’s something I have never experienced before and I know it’s going to make me want to improve knowing I am under a bigger name and on that rig now, I have a great group of people backing me and a lot of great teammates with Liam McDonald, Trevor Standish and Nate Minster. Me and Nate [Minster] raced together last year so having him in the same team knowing we can talk and bounce data and information back and forth is probably going to be really helpful for me as I have only really done tarmac racing for 3 years now.
Tell me, how does the Pure Attitude Racing Academy (PARA) help to improve your racing and make you a better rider?
The Academy is something very new to the sport over here, it is going to use some of the aspects of a training facility and use it to help us riders. With me being a part of that now I can train full time and still continue my education, I can use the academy to also help up and coming riders grow and improve as I also grow and improve myself.
The Academy includes many things including motocross and flat track training, diet and the gym also.
Why did you change from the Twins Cup to the Supersport championship last year?
So the first round of last season in Road America I did the Twins Cup and just had a freshly built second-gen Suzuki SV whilst other riders were using the third-gen SV, that bike was outdated and like a tank to ride. I am a little guy, I am 5”7 and 125lb so riding that heavy bike was very hard for me, I couldn’t manoeuvre it around at the speeds I wanted it to without putting lots more money we didn’t have into the bike.
I finished in the top 10 at Road America and every rider ahead of me had a better machine, all the riders ahead of me were on lighter bikes which were third gens, for me this was the deciding factor to change classes. I had a brand new ZX6R which was ready to race, Road Atlanta came around and I decided to ride the Supersport and I was able to race it much better as it was much more suited to my riding style, I kept racing it and now I have a brand new ZX6 being built for the 2021 season to race in the Supersport championship.
What are your career goals and aspirations for this season?
I’d really like to get a solid top 5, a podium finish really would be a dream but realistically I am looking to push for consecutive top 5’s. This year I am going to learn as much as I can and see where I am at to see what I need to put in for next year because the way I was raised education was very important. I still want to continue my mechanical engineering degree at UNC Charlotte (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) and also do racing, it really is a fine line of how much I can put in both without having to drop one or the other.
This year I really am feeling everything out, juggling college and racing and seeing where I am at as a rider and then hopefully next year I will be able to make that tough decision of seeing where racing takes me or focusing on school to get a degree.
Featured image – Pure Attitude Racing