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Sadokist interview: Switching to sim racing and meeting Alonso

Reading time: 7 minutes
Sim racing commentator Matthew "Sadokist" Trivett about how he prepares his casts, his passion for motorsports and racing games, meeting Fernando Alonso and why he switched from CS:GO.
Photo credit: Sadokist

OverTake: Welcome, Sadokist. Can you talk me through how your daily life is as a caster and content creator?

During Covid, it has looked differently because I was doing stuff from home, such as the 2021 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. Prior to that, when I was still working in CS:GO, there were a lot of flights, I was on the road for 250-300 days a year. The events themselves are super fun. You also constantly have your producers in your ear, and you have to understand how to work dynamics, narratives or the crowd.

OverTake: If corona was no longer a problem, would you prefer to do more events from home?

Pre-covid, one of the things I wanted to focus on was quality over quantity. I'm 32 now and would like to have a life outside my career. But I still much prefer LAN events and having an audience and the athletes there. Being able to work with them for content is easier this way. It's difficult to get everyone's schedule aligned while we are at home. Also from a social dynamic, it's great to see all these people face-to-face. I just need to balance how many events I'll do in the future, so I won't work myself into the grave.

OverTake: In “The Story of Sadokist” you mention you had issues with work-life-balance as a CS:GO caster. Can you now find a balance?

Yes I can now. Part of it is that I'm no longer in a set duo like I was with HenryG. Before, we had to take time off together and agree on that. Since I'm a freelancer, now it's not that I'm working with all tournament organisers at once, but can pick which events to do.

OverTake: You previously worked as a CS:GO caster. What made you switch to racing?

It was almost a natural thing for me. My dad raced cars, so the first time I was at a race track I was around two years old. Canadian Jacques Villeneuve became the Formula 1 World Champion when I was eight. I always did something in the realm of sim racing, especially after I crashed my race car at 17. One opportunity came from OJ Borg, the stage host for CS:GO ESL events. He was working with the guys who produced World's Fastest Gamers but couldn't make it, so he suggested me instead.

OverTake: How did your interest in racing games start?

Our dad got us a kart as kids. I karted until I was around 15 and actually drove against guys like Robert Wickens. Through that and being the racing family that we are, we always had racing games around. The first game I ever played with a steering wheel was a karting championship title in 1996, I don't remember its name. We also played Need for Speed and messed around in casual racing games. I then got into cars at 15, crashed my dad's car and then our budget ran out. That's when I got serious with sim racing. I played GTR Evolution the most, and Race On. I learned a lot with those game, like how to heel-and-toe, which is a downshifting technique or trailbraking. When I eventually did get back into racing, I came out of the box fast and won the second race weekend.

I think there is a reason why there are so many young drivers in Formula 1 right now. When I made a mistake karting, I had to wait until I got back on the track. Now, you can review other people driving on YouTube and jump into sim and practice. The internet has developed skillsets so fast.

OverTake: Which game do you play the most at the moment?

iRacing, as they have the best system for licence points and give you the most competitive and clean races. Depending on how you are as a driver, you have other drivers around you with a similar skill and behaviour. Assetto Corsa Competizione also has a great feel and physics for GT3 cars.

OverTake: There is a plethora of different sim racing titles. How do you prepare your casts for different titles?

In CS:GO my preparation came from being at nearly every single event. For sim racing, I have to prepare differently. For my first event, I wanted a list of all drivers and researched their backgrounds. I also became close with a lot of drivers, such as Sebastian Job, Bono Huis or Frederik Rasmussen, so I could ask them about things. I then research what tracks and with which cars they are quick with. Erhan is extremely fast with prototypes in rFactor 2. Kevin Siggy is super good in open wheelers, and so on. Then I look at the stats from previous season, how they performed, how many pole positions they achieved. I'm more about narratives about the individuals then about the game itself.

OverTake: Do you think it is necessary to have experience on a track to be on top of your game?

If you have the fundamentals, yes it's easier to pick sim racing up. But you don't need it. It's all about seat time, repetition and practice. Sim racing is an opportunity, as most people can have access to it. We look at Lewis Hamilton and Alonso and say they are the best ever. Well, the best ever that got the chance.

OverTake: You met Fernando Alonso. How did you two meet up? Your post mentioned it was work related?

When Fernando made his sim team, he partnered with G2 to run the announcement event. They knew me from work, so they decided to let me host a showcase race that day. I had already met Jenson Button previously and had a great interview with him. That gave me confidence going in to work with Alonso, who is my hero. He arrived mid-broadcast and I legit got butterflies. We then talked about why he got into sim racing and how he saw it as a value for the future. In 2019, I met him again at Sebring a few minutes before he was to go on track. I also had a 2005 Alonso championship-winning hat. That year, Spain bought all of his merchandise and I had to wait six months to get mine. I didn't want to be unprofessional at work, so I got Danny Engels to sign it, who was G2's manager at the time.

OverTake: You have a brother who you shared your car with when you were younger. Is he and the rest of your family still into racing as well, and also into sim racing?

I think they would love sim racing, but it's complicated. My dad is good with computers, but not with gaming. My brother didn't race for ten years, but I invited him one time when he visited us. At first he was so slow, and in karting he was way faster than me. He was always a consistent and smart racer. Now he is up to speed again and does some endurance races with me. Dad is my main mechanic. We still watch every F1 race together.

OverTake: Your "Let's Go Grassroots" series: what is it about and will there be more episodes?

It was kind of a filler series for what is now "The Race". I've been already working with the same producers for World's Fastest Gamer, so we collaborated for the series. We had plans for instructional content in a bunch of different local tracks, how to get a race licence, autocross etc. But it was difficult and became repetitive, as there is only one track within eight hours of where I live. I was also doing all of the filming myself which was challenging.

There are actually three more episodes, probably the best ones, which are not yet released. I might post them on my own channel. I would also love to produce a simplified version on my own in the future with some assistance. Last time, I was late for so many grids because I had to switch cameras and so on all the time.

OverTake: What are your goals for the future - for both sim racing and traditional racing?

I would love to drive in a Porsche Cup race, that's the best series we have in Canada. I think I'd be in front of the field, but I want to try and see how I would line up. I also want to do a 24h race one day. On the grassroots level, winning is secondary. It's the accomplishment. From a commentary standpoint, I would love to get back to CounterStrike a little bit and continue in sim racing. The scene reminds me of where CS was ten years ago, it's all about the competition and the racing, not yet about prize money or contracts.

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