Zack Archer – About life as a privateer and dreams come true.
Most of us that are into motocross are glued in front the TV every week checking out AMA Supercross, the Outdoors or MXGP depending on season. We see all the top guys racing with the big teams supporting them, in every part, to achieve the best result possible. But what does it take to get there? How is it to be a privateer? To struggle to qualify against the top racers in the world, without the same support as they get? How do you become a PRO? And what does it take to take the next step? All these questions we asked Zack Archer about MX life as a privateer and dreams come true.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
Hi, my name is Zack Archer. I am 26 years old from Moorhead Iowa USA. It is a super small town of maybe 200 people. I started riding dirt bikes when I was 5 years old. I started racing at age 8. It wasn’t until 2010 that I really took dirt bikes serious. I qualified for some amateur nationals in 2010 and 2011. In 2013 I graduated from college with two degrees in Applied Science, Small Engine Mechanics and Motorcycle Mechanics. In 2015 I started trying some pro arenacross stuff and qualified for one night show. 2017 I started getting my feet wet with pro/ams. In 2019 I earned my professional Outdoor Motocross License.
When did you decide to go all in and become a PRO? What does it take to do it?
I tried some pro arenacross stuff from 2015-2018. That’s way different process than racing the Nationals. Arenacross you didn’t have to earn a license. You showed up to the race and had to qualify in the top 30 fastest times from practice. There was usually anywhere from 70 to 110 riders trying to make the night show. To earn an Outdoor National License you have to travel around to the pro/ams. These races are all over the country here in the US. You have to earn 60 pro points in 18 months. Earning points varies depending how many people show to the race in the pro class. The more people that show up means more points that are available that weekend and if it’s a small turnout there isn’t many points to be earned. This past summer I had to travel to Colorado, Wisconsin, and Iowa to earn my points.
What does it really mean to be a privateer? What is the hardest part?
Being a privateer is being the little guy at the races. The guy traveling around the country in a van or small truck and trailer. Privateers are what keeps the sport alive here in the states. The hardest part for me is being the rider, race and practice mechanic, and driver. Also being your own manager trying to figure out the budget to get to the races and getting sponsors lined up. You truly have to love dirt bikes to be a privateer.
How do you prepare to a big race like this?
For me not knowing what I was getting into I didn’t go to crazy with my preparation. I made sure everything was in line from my bike to my WICKED gear. You have to change your number to the assigned number by the AMA, get new gear, order a bunch of parts so you don’t have a mechanical failure. And you want to look professional when you show up. Training for the race itself for me consists of cycling every day and good nutrition.
What is different when going to qualify to a AMA race compared to a smaller race?
Local races you just show up and sign up and you get to race the fastest guys in the area. Locally you get maybe 6-8 laps per moto. Trying to qualify for a National is way different. First, you have to register and wait for the approval email. Once you get accepted to be one of the 90 entries, you then have to go through timed practice. You get 5 minutes to learn the track which is about 2 laps. After those 2 laps you get 10 minutes of timed qualifying. They give you a second session to try getting a top 36 lap time. If you are out of the top 36 you have to be in the top 77 for the last chance qualifier. They only take 4 riders out of that and that race is only 4 laps. Once you make the fast 40 you have to 30 minute plus two lap motos against the fastest racers in the world.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to try to earn my AMA Supercross License. 2020 will be a busy year of racing. I plan to do 6 of the 12 Outdoor Nationals. I really want to try doing some international races. There are a few of those in the works as well so we will have to wait and see.
How did your season go this far, did you do any other big races?
2019 was a good year. From winning the Best of the Midwest Motocross Series in the +25Pro class to earning my Pro License. I stayed healthy and had good bikes all year. I couldn’t have asked for a better year.
What tips can you tell others that have the same dream?
The advice I have for people wanting to chase the dream is don’t give up and work hard. Whether that means waking up before the sun comes up to get a workout in or staying up all hours of the night to get your bike ready to go riding again. You don’t have to be a someone to be somebody. Be yourself and just have fun with it.
Lastly I want to thank my sponsors for everything they have done for me.
Thank you to Wicked Family for everything over the last year. Thanks to Yankton Motorsports, Rippin Ruts, TBT Suspension, Tamer Holeshot Hookup, Dunlop, Sunstar, Branking, EKS, Laced Belts, Skullcandy, ARMA Energy, ODI Grips, ASV Inventions, Engine Ice, Twin Air, JDOG Salvage, and everyone else in my corner. Thank you.
Follow Zack https://www.instagram.com/zackarcher765/
You can find the MX gear here: https://www.wickedfamily.com/products/motocross/
Thank you Zack for letting us know more about life as a privateer. Hopefully it will inspire others to follow their dream as well 😀