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A more confident cook: Levi Kitchen finds the recipe for success

A more confident cook: Levi Kitchen finds the recipe for success

It wasn't exactly a slow boil for Levi Kitchen, who won his first Monster Energy Supercross race in his fifth start at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January, 2023, but people liked to remind him that overall victory came in a Triple Crown format race in which he failed to stand on the top of the box in any individual moto.

He continued to ride strong but failing to win a feature that night nagged at him. Even while training, Kitchen always wanted to be the fastest rider on the practice course.

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Kitchen closed out the next six races of the season without scoring another win, coming closest at the end of the season in Denver with a second.

He also went winless in 2023 Pro Motocross and came into the stadium season with something to prove.

Kitchen's first Supercross feature win came this year — once again in a Triple Crown format — He got the early lead by winning the first feature. At Anaheim, he showed both consistency and speed by finishing second in the next feature and third in the finale. That easily served up the overall victory.

SX 2024 Rd 11 Seattle Levi Kitchen head on.JPG
SX 2024 Rd 11 Seattle Levi Kitchen head on.JPG

Confidence Man

Confidence was building. He left Anaheim with the red plate. Unfortunately, he had to share it with Jordon Smith as the two riders were tied in points.

Kitchen finished second in the next round in Glendale, Arizona — a standard format race. Better still, he had beaten Smith by two spots and had sole possession of that coveted red plate.

It was good timing as the 250 West riders took a break as the series headed to the East Coast and Midwest, leaving Kitchen with several weeks to revel in his accomplishments.

Kitchen fired out of the gate in Seattle the following week and won.

"Once you win, you learn how to do it, and I think I'm finally learning to do that part," Kitchen told Ricky Carmichael and Ryan Villopoto on a recent edition of their Title 24 podcast. "It helps. There's just so much confidence when I'm on the line now."

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That guest appearance came after Kitchen scored his fourth career Supercross victory and third Triple Crown. This time, however, he left nothing to question by sweeping the three features for only the second time in series history.

Kitchen led early in each of those races. That was critical because the dirt used in St. Louis, Missouri is known for its tendency to break down.

"The big thing I'm focusing on is being as ready as I can for the weekend — my body, physically — these last couple of weekends, Seattle and this weekend now, I just feel really aggressive right out of the gate and ready to go in these races," Kitchen said.

But Kitchen refused to put all of the credit for his strong run on his gate drop reflexes.

"Last year, if I had gotten these starts, I don't think I believed in myself enough to do this," Kitchen said in the post-race news conference last weekend. "I think that's the difference now. I just believe that's where I belong and I think that helps on the starts too. I want to get to that first turn first every time, obviously, and I do my best to do that.

"I think it's a confidence thing. Last year was a solid one for me; I stayed healthy all year and learned a lot so I think that just carried into this year."

Kitchen left St. Louis with a 15-point lead over RJ Hampshire and 26 above Smith. Anything can happen with three rounds remaining, but it's safe to say it is Kitchen's championship to lose.

And while it may not quite be time to turn his attention to the outdoor series, Kitchen can't help but reflect on the next step in his career. Still winless in the Pro Motocross season, Kitchen knows that piece of the puzzle needs to fall into place before he thinks about moving up to the 450 class.

"I just want to establish my name as one of the guys in the 250 class right now and whether that brings a championship or just brings plenty of battling up front or whatever it is in outdoors, I just want to make sure that I'm not just a Supercross-only guy."

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