Valley’s Deven Raper and Chris Blose will hit dirt on their home turf for the Monster Energy Supercross Championship Tour at State Farm Stadium on Saturday, February 5.
“It’s super fun,” said Blose, a graduate of North Phoenix High School in the Paradise Valley District.
“So many fans, friends and family come to see me do what I do. And something that I can enjoy with everyone.
Glendale’s appearance marks his final tour in his storied career.
The 34-year-old started racing Supercross in 2006 and won an X Games bronze medal, a ninth-place finish in the 2019 Western Regional 250SX Class; a 2019 SX2 Australian Supercross Championship, the 2016 AMSOIL Arenacross Championship runner-up; eight overall AMSOIL Arenacross wins (250AX class); six top-10 finishes in the Monster Energy Supercross 450SX class and 13 top-10 finishes in the Monster Energy Supercross 250SX. Last season, he clinched 11th place overall on the circuit with four top 10s.
“Since this is definitely my last year, I try to enjoy every moment,” he said. “When I’m sitting on the line, I see all the fans around me. It’s those little moments that I try to integrate. I want to do my best and make it my best year yet. I want go out with a bang.
This season has a different meaning for Raper, 31, a graduate of Red Mountain High School. It’s his first tour since suffering a broken pelvis and two broken vertebrae in a pre-season crash in November 2019.
“It was definitely one of the biggest injuries you can have in motocross,” Raper said. “It was a bad one. And I always thought if I had a big injury like that I would probably call it. But I didn’t want to let go, I wasn’t ready yet. So I worked hard to get back in shape and it took me four months of physical therapy every day to be able to walk on my own once healed I went back to running but it was still a really big mental block to open up and go faster.
Raper, who has been racing professionally since 2009, had his best start to the season.
“In previous years, I only peaked in the season after the halfway point,” Raper said. “So with Phoenix being the fifth round (of the tour), it’s pretty early days, but I kind of have everything lined up. And I think this year is the year I can do my first main event in my hometown, so I’m really looking forward to it and really working every day to get there.
Blose and Raper come from motocross families. Blose started pushing pedals at age 3, while Raper started at age 8.
Raper’s father and older brother are professional riders. However, Raper supported his efforts financially, and that motivated him. Qualifying for the main event in Phoenix may seem like “doing the impossible, but (something) I’ve already done” being a privateer on this stage. A privateer is a participant in a race that is not directly supported by a manufacturer. He strives to use this platform to influence the next generation.
“I want to find someone who has the passion and the talent to go as far as I did just being a low-budget privateer with the best in the world,” he said.
“I would love to be able to make a living leading a team and giving the opportunity to someone else like me when I was a kid.”
Brose ponders what to do next.
“I’ve been doing this since 2006, so it’s definitely taken a toll on me,” he said.
“And now I have a wife and two kids, so I want to be home more and live that life with them. I started my own dirt bike suspension business just recently, the first of the year. So once the season is over, it will be full with that.
Like Raper, Blose wants to inspire promising cyclists.
“When I’m on the practice track, I really try to talk to people and be friendly and be like a normal person to them,” he said.
“I might be someone who could race supercross and kind of look up to them, but I just tried to be a normal person who can sit and talk with them and have fun. People always ask me, ‘What do you say to people to make them better? What can I do?’
“Honestly, have fun. We all started racing dirt bikes and riding dirt bikes because it was fun. If you’re not having fun, don’t bother. So it’s just to keep safe and have fun with it.
Raper is proud to be one of Arizona’s two professional drivers.
“My whole family is there,” he said. “This race is annual, and my title sponsors are from Arizona. Kelly’s Kawasaki is a bike dealership in Mesa. And then RJC Racing, my sponsor Dale, is also a general contractor in Mesa. He owns restaurants, and we we always get together in his restaurant the day before the race, and it’s a cool feeling. I’m glad we can race in my hometown, because it definitely brings a lot more energy than any other.
Monster Energy Supercross
WHEN: Saturday February 5; gates open/practice and start of qualifying at noon; FanFest from noon to 6:30 p.m.; opening ceremonies at 7:00 p.m.; and the race starts at 7:30 p.m.
OR: State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale
COST: Visit the website for more information