Sam Lochoff has been racing motorcycles at the highest level for a couple of years, collecting honours along the way.
Aged 14 the South African, who now lives in Florida, started racing in a kart. Before a year had passed he’d progressed to bikes and decided to concentrate on them. He quickly achieved some podium finishes on 100 cc and 150 cc bikes. In 2017 he became the first rookie to win a National race on debut, and also won two regional championships.
2017 also saw Sam compete internationally against adults in the World Supersport 300 as a wildcard entry in Portugal.
In 2018 Sam won the Alpe Adria International Motorcycle Championship. He also secured his most prestigious result, by winning the FIM Supersport 300 European Cup. Sam took six wins and three second places in the twelve race series, missing out on two full races due to clash of dates with the other championship, to win the series convincingly. He also competed in the World Supersport 300; the eight race series started before Sam’s 16th birthday and included an 18th place finish for Sam in Misano, Italy.
Sam counted that as his greatest achievement to date.
In late 2017, aged 15, Sam decided to go vegan. It was as part of a process that has started two years previously, which raised concerns with his parents who wanted him to continue with all except red meat. “By 2017 it was easier for my parents to accept me becoming vegan” says Sam “as my sister was vegan and she had no issues whilst also being an athlete.” His sister Jenna had competed in showjumping and influenced Sam to start considering his food.
- Winner, 2017 FIM Supersport 300 European Cup
- First rookie to win a national race on debut
- Competitor in World Supersport 300
As well as Jenna’s influence, Sam was influenced by his South African mechanic and long term vegan Wesley Jones. Sam also watched a video about the slaughter of animals which made up his mind. Currently health reasons are a very prominent reason to be vegan.
Travelling never poses a problem to Sam, who says he will “rather go hungry than eat animal products”. He eats a lot of pasta, fruit, beans, lentils and also buys some vegan products. “Avocado and mushrooms on toast is my favourite” he says.
Bike racing is more demanding than some people realise, and all the top riders place emphasis on physical condition.
“Remember you are doing speeds in excess of 200 kph around a track that 40 or so riders are fighting for the exact same small piece of tar” Sam explains. “One mistake can cost you dearly, a split second is all it takes between life and a serious accident, even death, so discipline and point like precision have to be applied throughout the entire race. You have to 100% focused, when things go wrong as they do, the fitness of mind and body will make all the difference. The races are normally between 20-30min.
“Money cannot buy talent, you need to work when everyone else is asleep.”
Sam recommends watching ‘Hitting the Apex’ on YouTube to learn about the demands of the sport. He retains peak fitness by cycling, using the gym, road training and flat track training, which is dirt riding on a sand course to learn better control on the bike when you race on tar.
Unfortunately, Sam says many people have disagreed with his decision to be a vegan athlete, but this does not apply to everyone.
“Fortunately my mechanic/trainer in 2018 is also vegan” Sam explains. “I am also training with a vegan flat-track instructor at the moment.”
Sam has high hopes to continue his rise through the sport and progress from Junior honours. “I hope to go back to Europe in 2020 and race Moto3 and then Moto2 and finally MotoGP. This is the best of the best in the world.”
An issue which Sam continues to tackle is clothing. At the moment Sam is looking into it but has not yet found a supplier. “I’ve been trying to contact one company, although I am not sure if what they have meets the necessary safety requirements. We are exploring all other options and I believe a solution will be found.”
Sam’s clearly looking ahead, and his plans are big.
“I want to be the first ever vegan Motor GP World Champion, and prove to the world that we definitely do not need to consume animal products to achieve and live a healthy life, making a huge difference to the world we live in one vegan at a time.”