Photos by Brown Dog Wilson
How is the wrist feeling?
It’s not bad; actually, my wrist feels a lot better than I thought it would. This past week I rode twice, and I was a bit flustered with how it felt initially. Then I took the weekend off to sign autographs and hang out at the New York Supercross. When I came back I rode on Monday, and the pain I had the week before had gone away by about 40 percent. That was huge. I’m trying to take things slow, or at least as much as I can, and follow the process. It’s instinctual as a racer to want to over-do it, because you think that you can make bigger gains, but that’s not actually true. I just have to get my days in and rest when necessary.
Have you begun testing for the Nationals, or are you trying to get a feel for the bike?
I started outdoor testing. So far I’ve only focused on suspension settings. By riding I’ll naturally get a better feel for the bike, and that results in finding out where I want to go in terms of suspension setup. I’m doing motos and getting in as many laps as I can. That will help me get the bike sorted out.
Despite your wrist injury, you were going to quite a few Supercross rounds, including the aforementioned New York race. What were your thoughts on that race, which had several “Wow” moments?
It was a wild weekend. There was a lot of good racing. It showed who had strength, and who didn’t. I was pretty disappointed in [Eli] Tomac, because I wanted him to take the championship this year. He was riding well, and he won so many races. For him to fall over in a turn and take so long to get going was a bummer to throw it away like that. It was such a basic crash. Then again, that’s racing.
You generated quite the buzz on social media when you posted photos of yourself practicing martial arts. Was that done to scare the competition, or do martial arts serve a purpose in motocross?
I’ve had a long-time friend that does all my acupressure when I travel to Chicago. He has his own practice there, which includes martial arts. I took advantage of the opportunity to do some of that when I visited, and then when I came home to California I kept with it. Martial arts are something different, and I have to use muscles that I don’t normally engage.
When will you line up to the gate?
The goal right now is to show up at Hangtown and try to race. I’m not saying that it’s going to be pretty [laughter]. If I’m out there getting top-15s and earning points, that’s all that matters.
Will it be hard going into a race knowing that you’re not exactly going to set the world on fire?
Yes, it’s definitely tough. I’d like to have another few weeks before I start racing the Nationals, but I missed almost the entire Supercross season. It’s better to go racing than sit at home and do nothing. Obviously it’s important to the sponsors that I be on the track. At the same time I need to get back into that racing environment sooner rather than later.
The JGRMX outdoor test track is lonely at the moment with Phil Nicoletti on the mend, Justin Barcia training at home in Florida, and you out on the west coast. When will you be heading back to North Carolina?
I’ll be flying out to Charlotte after the Colorado National and testing for a week. Then I’ll bounce back and forth between California and North Carolina throughout the summer.
What would you say if you had the opportunity to ride a Suzuki RM125 when you were visiting JGRMX next month?
Oh, man! I’d love to ride a 125, just as long as it didn’t bog on me and I could clear the jumps [laughter].
Well here’s some breaking news. The JGRMX race team and retail side are working together to build you a Suzuki RM125.
That will be fun. I haven’t ridden a 125 two-stroke in probably ten years. It has been a long time. I’m actually in the process of building a Suzuki RM250 two-stroke, which should be complete in the next few weeks. I honestly had no idea that JGRMX was building me a 125. Hopefully I don’t break the thing in half! I’ll let you in on a little secret…I’m not that easy on equipment.
We’ll make it work. See you at Hangtown.
I’m looking forward to it.