Mind of a Mechanic: Working with Adam Cianciarulo

If you happened to catch the Minneapolis round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross on Peacock, you may have noticed the very eloquent and debonaire Adam Cianciarulo commentating on your screen of choice. Adam has always had the PR skills of a seasoned vet, as well as the personality to match. As I mentioned in the last Mind of a Mechanic AC has always been one of my favorite racers, even before I became his practice mechanic at the end of 2016.

I vividly remember sitting with my girlfriend (now wife) in 2014, watching this bright-eyed and spunky kid from Port Orange, Florida make a run at a 250SX East Region title during his rookie season. I hadn’t seen a rookie in supercross with that much hype since Mike Alessi. That hype was well deserved, as Adam finished 1-2-1-2-1 in the first five rounds of his rookie campaign. 

Just to refresh your memory, in 2014 AC was competing against riders like Blake Baggett, Martin Davalos, Justin Bogle (eventual champion), Vince Friese, and a handful of other very talented dirt bike racers. However, at round 6 in Toronto, we unfortunately saw that title slip away when his shoulder popped out during the main event. What solidified my admiration for Adam was him getting his shoulder popped back in by Doc Bodnar, and attempting to finish the race and salvage points.

I brought this story up because I’ve been seeing the online keyboard warriors discuss their opinions about Adam’s health and durability. Even Dirt Shark made sure to throw some jabs at Adam in his YouTube series by referring to him as “delicate”. Obviously, I worked with Adam at the end of my career as a mechanic and I can say based on my experiences with him, delicate isn’t a word that I would use to describe him. 

Back in 2017, Adam was a championship contender during the 250SX East Region. We were riding at the Nest (now Moto Sandbox), but wanted to ride somewhere different the Thursday before the New Jersey round to break the monotony. I remember packing up tools and supplies the day before, and heading down the road to the now defunct El Chupacabra Ranch (Blake Baggett’s former Florida training grounds). It was a beautiful sunny morning and I was generally excited because I felt that we had a good shot at the title.

I warmed up the practice bike and took a spin around the perimeter of the track to make sure the motorcycle was functioning properly. Afterward, we checked the sag with Adam on the bike and off he rode to the behemoth that is a Baggett built supercross track. There were a couple of really big rhythm sections, but it didn’t take Adam long to get the track figured out. 

Early in the first moto, Adam was racing down the longest rhythm section on the perimeter of the track. In the middle of the section, I remember it to be a table/single/single combo that he was jumping. I was writing a message on the pitboard and right as I looked up I heard a loud “clink!” The chain derailed, got jammed in the chain block, Adam went over the bars, and his body thumped into the last single. 

I remember feeling so deflated seeing Adam struggle to move, but was so relieved knowing that he was coherent and could eventually stand up under his own power.

Long story short, a very banged up and bruised Adam ended up racing at MetLife Stadium two days later and finished third in a very talented field featuring riders like Osborne, Ferrandis, Savatgy, and Craig. However, the keyboard warriors were on the prowl afterwards, chatting about Adam’s lack of speed and him finishing 15 seconds behind the winner. 

I understand that people in general have the right to voice their opinion on whatever subject they see fit. But, as a fan, or even a race team member, it’s quite irresponsible to form an opinion about a situation and then share it with others when you aren’t completely educated. It’s very important for enthusiasts of our sport to understand that there are so many moving parts that contribute to success (or the lack thereof) on the race track. Riders are human and deal with life like the rest of us except for the fact that they perform their craft at the highest level. At times, we are unaware of the situations on and off the track that may affect a riders’ performance on the weekend. Be mindful of that before hitting send on your next tweet.

Written by Brandon Anderson

Brandon spent 12 years in the motocross industry as a technician for riders such as: Malcolm Stewart, Adam Cianciarulo, and Blake Baggett. At Round 15 of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, Brandon won his sole race in the premier class as a technician for Andrew Short. Since leaving the industry in 2018, his primary focus is spending time with his wife and son, helping others through his bi-weekly podcast, and traveling as often as possible with his family.

Garrett Marchbanks to Race 450 at Daytona Supercross

Max Vohland Injury Update