Race Weekend Essentials: Rally champion, mountain bike star Brandon Semenuk
Published August 6, 2023
by Jack Benyon
There’s not much Brandon Semenuk can’t do.
Just to name a few of his achievements, he is the American Rally Association champion alongside navigator Keaton Williams and a freeride mountain biking champion in things like the X-Games and Red Bull’s Joyride and Rampage series.
Semenuk is up there with the best extreme-sports stars competing today.
The British Columbia native took his first ARA rally championship last year and is the only current Subaru manufacturer driver for a marque that’s won World Rally Championships and shot people like Colin McRae and Richard Burns to fame.
He’s all but won this year’s title after six wins out of six too, and Subaru has just made the exciting announcement that he’ll be partnered by fellow extreme athlete Travis Pastrana in next year’s ARA series.
Whether it’s bikes, cars or the many brands he works with, Semenuk is a lifestyle all-star and Podium Life was lucky enough to go behind the scenes to bring you Brandon’s race weekend essentials.
When you’re competing, what’s the one thing that you absolutely must have in your bag?
Laptop. There’s lots of preparation before and during a rally, so having a fast laptop to review/download onboard race footage is essential.
Also, my pace notes and Frixion erasable pens to mark up the notes while studying the stages.
On the rally side you obviously have to be prepared to make repairs and tune the car as you go as well as do specific preparation. Is there anything you always pack to help you with some of the intricacies of rallying?
We do carry a compact tool bag for on stage repairs, but we probably find ourselves reaching for the Duck Tape and zip-ties more often then anything else!
Subaru is such an iconic brand. It must be an honour to be their latest champion when you look at those who have gone before you?
Yes, that’s for sure. Subaru is the brand that got me interested in rallying in the first place.
They have a long history with some of the most iconic drivers, so it’s an honor to wear the blue & yellow, but also a bit nerve-racking to carry that torch as the only Subaru works rally driver at this current moment.
Recovery must be a big thing for you with all of the different sports and exercise you do. Is there anything you use, protein powders, drinks, that sort of thing to stay in tip-top shape?
Yes, recovery is very important, but rally and bike require different types of recovery.
Typically with rally you don’t exert the same amount of energy, but it does require a lot of focus and brain power, so usually I will put an emphasis on healthy meals with good brain foods like veggies, fruit, tea, etc…
With the bike you tend to wear down your body, so collagen, electrolytes and BCAAs are all common supplements I’ll use. Hydration and rest would be the two that stay consistent throughout both.
On the bike side we know you’ve been with Trek for your whole career. How important is the bike you use in what you do and what is it about Trek that you love?
Having equipment that’s reliable and gives you the ability to perform is essential to find success as an athlete.
My bicycle is obviously the most important component to that equation and I’m lucky to have a brand like Trek supporting me all these years.
Just like I’ve been pushing the sport with my riding, they have been pushing with their engineering/technology.
On the rare occasion I’ve needed something different, they’ve been helpful with those bike developments, as well as simple things like a custom paint job from their Project One paint department.