Even more photos from Daytona!

Even more photos from Daytona!

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David tried to go, but the shoulder said no

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Ezra heading down into the shadows

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Nice shoot of Nate Ramsey

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RC taking a victory lap. SX track to left, Grandstand fans to right

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Sebastien Tortelli down a long straight

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RC & Travis on start

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Nice shot of Stephane

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Nice shot of Tim Ferry

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Nice shot of Travis in practice

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The Daytona Shuffle, Part One – 250 class

The Daytona Shuffle, Part One – 250 class

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If you would like to read the results and point standings from Daytona, please visit this link

Through the camera lens, the distance looks creamy and bright. The optics don’t just magnify the distance. They magnify the moisture in the air as well, and the light as it refracts through it.

Everything in the frame is slightly fictional. It takes on the quality of the emotion you bring to it, and right now the distance is thick with the promise and anticipation of battle. Contrasting colors overlapping and shimmering, the far reaches of Daytona International Speedway take on the quality of mirage, of illusion, of the surreal.

Outside the lens, the sheer size of the stands towering over the sweep of the racetrack dominates the scene. The Daytona Supercross presented by Honda features a track within a track. Nestled between the speedway’s finish line and pit row, the Supercross track is much longer than it is wide, and the asphalt that runs down its length rises up like the face of a wave, its rough surface gouged and streaked with tire marks.

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Stand on that slope and look down its length in either direction. The concrete wall, four-feet high with thick white paint over its scars, runs shrinking with the speed of your eye as you follow it. The downhill edge of the track begins to converge with the uphill edge and the wall becomes a thin white accent along the top of a dim narrow bank that finally disappears, curving out of sight.

A late afternoon shadow has begun to stretch from the top of the stands down. Much of the crowd is already in shadow. Still, the air here in Daytona is heavy and damp with heat. It settles against you and begins to press, seeping through your clothes and into your pores.

The magnitude of the distance you just witnessed begins to sink in. This place was built for those who live in a different world. Like the humidity, even in complete stillness, Daytona International Speedway is overwhelming.

It takes speed as great as the distance between these corners to bring them into perspective, to make them relate to one another. It can be seen, hovering just over the porous surface of the asphalt, banked at a three-to-one slope down to the infield where pit row stands below, and the 250 Supercross main event is lined up behind the gates.

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Thirty riders instead of the usual twenty-two face down the short start-straight. Sitting elbow to elbow, they form a rainbow of color, shifting and recombining as each one turns at the waist to talk to his mechanic or another rider. The umbrellas above their helmet-visors twist with each slight movement and glow brightly in the sun, their smooth, recurring shapes contrasting the jagged green palm trees behind them.

Through the camera lens, Travis is squinting into the distance, his face cast in shadow. There’s a damp towel draped around his neck and his vented No Fear jersey isn’t tucked in. Next to him on his right, Ricky sits with confidence, his Oakleys already strapped into place. Zooming-in, Johnny O’Mara is talking to him through the side of his Fox helmet, his jaw muscles flexing with each word. Refocusing to the left, Tim Ferry sits, blue and white, looking down at the ground in front of his fender, his arms falling relaxed from his shoulders to his handlebar grips, his gloved-hands squeezing the levers.

All three have won their respective heat races. And from where I’m standing, all three have chosen gates to the far right-hand-side, so they’ll have the inside going into the slight left-hander that opens up to the rest of the track.

Filling out the gates before the starter’s doghouse, are the runners-up. Ezra has lined up inside of Travis and panning left, Sebastien sits between Ricky and Tim, with Stephane just beyond. Ernesto and Jeremy nod their heads in conversation beyond Stephane, each one earning third-place in his heat. Scanning past the mat-red doghouse, the line of factory-support riders come and go, names like Damon Huffman and Nick Wey. Nathan Ramsey is there on his factory CRF, forced to qualify through a semi. And all the way to the outside, with the last picks on the gate, the privateers finish the lineup, triple digits on each number-plate.

But there is no number twelve. The current points-leader, David Vuillemin isn’t on the line. Why? A shoulder injury suffered just after round nine in Atlanta during a photo shoot. Hoping the injury to be minor, he hasn’t sought medical attention. But after riding practice off his pace, he’ll have to. David has decided not to compete. He’s ridden through knee injury and even surgery and still managed to podium at every round this year.

But today, David Vuillemin won’t score a point. Instead, he’ll be forced to sit on the sidelines and watch his arch-rival, Ricky Carmichael lean over his handlebars, drop his right elbow as he opens his throttle to the stop, and holeshot the 2002 Daytona main event.

Everything disappears and reappears in flashes as the camera-shutter closes and opens. The Number Four front-wheel lifts. Ricky maneuvers his upper body. The front wheel sets down. He slides to the back of his seat, roost shooting low and straight out behind him.

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RC & Travis take off

Outside the camera, Travis and his Michelins have lost the battle to Ricky’s Dunlops. Crossing the gates, the One-Ninety-Nine Suzuki has thrown a huge roost, and lost critical forward momentum. Rider Number Four hasn’t thrown a roost at all. He’s turned all of his horsepower into forward acceleration, and bringing the top of his foot up underneath his shifter, banged it into the next gear under full-throttle without even putting his foot on the peg.

They streak down the short straight leaning over their bikes, Travis and Sebastien swerving in behind Ricky as he picks up speed, just ahead of Tim and Stephane.

The start is over in an instant, clouded in dust as the motors rev into the distance, warble as the riders shut off at different times for the first major corner, and come in a gathering roar back again. Somehow, Travis has come through the pack down the long, wide-open sections of track, and is in third place, just over Ricky’s shoulder, side-by-side with Tim Ferry and his factory YZF.

Through the camera, the riders jump in size and the light flares across their helmets and fork-legs. The pack is still tight and edgy as it begins diving into the second corner of the track, a 180 degree right-hander that leads into an immediate rhythm-section. Ricky has set up to the inside of the corner, but Travis is coming in harder. The frame begins to flash. Black and then color. Travis has bumped Ricky out of his line. Black and then color. Ricky and Travis have hit the first jump together. Black and then color. Ricky is higher in the air that Travis, clearing the second obstacle. Black and then color. Travis has launched off the second obstacle and is flying over Ricky as he lands.

But not only will Ricky hold off Travis, Tim will leap past Travis, who, in his attack, has missed the good rhythm over the jump-section.

The race has leapt and weaved itself steadily out of sight, toward one end of the speedway and the roar of the pack has dropped to a low rumble, blending into the general murmur of the crowd.

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Tim Ferry, second place

Then the grandstands, towering overhead, explode with applause. Like Ricky Carmichael, Tim Ferry is from Florida, and this is his hometown crowd. He’s just stunned both Ricky and everyone else, by taking the early lead. This is his first race back after bruising his lungs in Phoenix. In fact, this is his second comeback of the season after missing Anaheim One due to a knee injury, and the crowd is on its feet for him.

The pack can still only be seen in glimpses, but its growl is growing, steadily rising over the last of Tim’s cheer when the Grandstands erupt once more. Has Travis passed Ricky for second? Has Jeremy moved up from his fourth-place position? No, a roar like that can only mean a change in the lead, and this time, the cheers are for Ricky as he reclaims his position.

And the lead does belong to Ricky. He won’t be challenged again. For the next eighteen laps, each one over a minute-and-a-half, Ricky Carmichael will push through the hottest, most grueling conditions of the season, setting a brutal pace. It will take him over a half-an-hour, nearly twice as long as some of the other rounds in the series, but in the end, Ricky Carmichael will roll his Universal Studios CR250 over the finish-line-tabletop, steer his way to one end of the speedway, take off his helmet and climb the asphalt slope, and ride through the shadows of the grandstands standing on his pegs, his one hand raised in victory, waving to the crowd.

It will be his third-consecutive win in Daytona. In his post-race interview, he’ll praise his competition. He’ll say he isn’t concerned about setting records. And perhaps, everything he says is true.

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But to see him on the track is to see him betray those words, and reveal his one true desire. To annihilate the competition.

He’ll ride every corner and every whoop with the same relentless drive. He’ll attack the peak of every jump with the same focus and fury. Like it simply weren’t enough to win, but that it had to be driven into the very psyche of his competition: I don’t want to just beat you. I want to beat you by a wider margin than the greatest riders of all time.

Through the camera lens, the track can be seen reaching up through Ricky’s Honda and collapsing its suspension, leaving explosions of dust behind him, settling down over the top of every other whoop. He’s still small and his bike can’t really be heard but he’s getting larger. Behind him and even smaller, Tim and Travis appear, growing in size at the same time. The roar of the crowd begins to spread from the direction of their approach, its leading-edge surging past the camera before Ricky can fill the frame and disappear, his body thrown over the back fender, his CR250 pitched to one side.

The camera shutter flashes and Tim is airborne, correcting the sideways kick of his Yamaha and Travis is right beside him, chest over the bars, absorbing the hit of the same sandy whoop, elbows up. Another flash and Tim and Travis fill the frame, side-by-side, their bodies thrown into unique positions. Another flash and they can only be seen from the chest up, out and over their front number-plates as they preload their suspension. Another flash, and the backs of their jerseys are blurred, and out-of-center as they fly through the air.

Outside the camera, Travis completes his pass. It takes him the entire straightaway, the longest one on the track, a whoop filled, triple-jump rhythm-section strength-robber. He just grips his Suzuki with his knees, and takes the abuse better than Tim does. The pass takes such a long time to play out, that by the time Travis takes over second, they’re both small in the distance once more, Ricky already out of sight.

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Grandstands, Travis, and Tim Ferry

Jeremy McGrath blitzes by, big number two across his back. Then Number Eleven, Chevy Trucks/Kawasaki’s Ezra Lusk. Their motors don’t leave an echo like they usually do. They rise up out of the distance, faint and then urgent and then threatening as they explode by, bike kicking across the ground, ground shaking with each kick, shuddering from the speed and inertia of their wheels.

Watching Ezra close in on Jeremy is more like watching an outdoor national than a Supercross. Every obstacle seems to affect them like a surprise, and they must correct for the new direction their bikes taken-off in. Not at all the style of Supercross, where everything is so quickly and smoothly executed, lap after lap.

The sun is dropping down behind the stands and the deepening ruts throw shadows over their depths. The race is half-over, and Travis has just dropped out while running alone in second-place. Whether he fell or just pulled off and collapsed is unclear. But he’s down beside the track, just on the far side of a hay bale on his back, and he’s not moving.

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Florida riders, Florida track

Shadow has crept down the slope of the speedway and is slowly reaching across different parts of the track.

Ezra has passed Jeremy, and Sebastien has passed both of them, but only managed to stay ahead of Ezra for a lap. For the first time in 2002, Ezra will finish on the podium, and move into third place in the points. Jeremy will finish fifth, behind Sebastien and move into a tie with Stephane for fourth-place points.

After lying on the ground, suffering from symptoms of heat exhaustion for several laps, Travis will slowly come back to himself. His arms will loosen from their muscle-locked position, and slowly, awkwardly he’ll take off his gloves.

Beside him and his father, and the small knot of medics around him, the other riders go from shadow into light and back, slamming over the rough, rutted surface of the track. Lying him in the shade behind one of the biggest obstacles, the medics will place his legs on a hay bale, and let him rest for while longer, before putting him on an ambulance vehicle, and driving him back to the pits.

It’s the last lap and Ricky is nearly finished lapping over two-thirds of the field. Up to ninth place. His Honda shines red as he throws it into corner after corner, briefly gleaming white when he turns into the direction of the setting sun, and when he crosses the finish line, some fourteen seconds ahead of second-place Tim Ferry, he’ll have illustrated why this speedway was built.

To showcase those who come from another place, and live in a world of extremes.

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RC is King of Daytona

Royal Blue Explosion

Royal Blue Explosion

These are photos and a written article by Tyler Young. It’s meant as an expanded feature to our normal race coverage. To see our normal coverage, please click Race Results on the left hand side navigation.

The explosion is deep royal blue and the thumping that trails in the distance sounds like a heartbeat dosed on adrenaline. It flies bursting in fits of leaps and turns, leaving stars and letters in its wake, leaving clouds of dirt clods and dust settling down, leaving thousands of cheers and shouts of alarm reaching through the time of the moment.

It’s going off and off and off and in broad daylight it lights up the whole field shining brighter than the sun, light blue intensity and focus, bright star rejuvenate and spring to your trembling end, rejuvenate and sing with every throb and thump you leave behind, trailing in deep throaty sound.

It’s hard to believe that one man could generate this, is at the center of this, could command this much attention, fascination, and admiration. Generate this dazzling show of belief in one destiny, that one man could reach for greatness with such calm and recurring ferocity, it’s hard to believe that there was anything other than his current state of brilliance; no doubt, no fear, no possible end other than the pinnacle of achievement, nothing else, no setback, no failure, not ever.

This man exploding before us, streaking deep royal blue, racing toward his own ultimate end of victory leaving stars and letters behind him, he’s something unlike ordinary men, there can be no similarity here, see how he pulses and spins at the expense of his own strength and according to the measure of his own courage?

And what are those letters that float and fall behind him like the aftermath of battle or the lingering melody of a song that has just driven its audience to new heights? What are those stars that pop out gold from the streaking blue shine in the Daytona sun?

Those stars are victories. They’re marks cut into stone with the blade of a hunting knife, they’re symbols of dominance and a promise of more to come like the warning growl of something wild and ready to spring, each star is the twinkle in an animal’s eye when it’s fangs are bare about to bite, they’re the glint of determination in Chad Reed’s eyes as he comprehends the brutal landscape he commands with his Yamaha of Troy YZF 250, destroying the will of his competition, blowing their minds, beating them down, leaving them behind, disappearing from sight, managing them like each and every sand whoop and rut that demands his attention so completely, he isn’t even aware of the technique he’s using.

And the letters. R’s and E’s and D’s, rippling off of his body with the wind of his speed, fluttering with the contortions of his jersey over his chest and shoulders as they push into his lean with every corner and press down over his bars over the biggest jumps. They stand for Chad and right now Chad stands for something grand, his Yamaha sending a growling message of victory.

Chad Reed is winning, the way Roger DeCoster won, the way Jimmy Weinert and Bob Hannah won, the way Mark Barnett, Broc Glover and Johnny O’Mara won, the way Jeff Ward, Ricky Johnson and Jeff Stanton won. Absolutely. Ridiculously. Cruelly.

The will to win is a cruel thing. True, all-consuming, let-it-all-burn desire to be the best. The heart that drives Former World Champion Grant Langston and Defending Outdoor National Champion Mike Brown. That drive to exhaust their bodies and punish them for being exhausted. That force that pushes them to eliminate everything from their lives that would distract them from being the best.

It drives them to extremes, it drives them to separate themselves from everyone around them, and if they encounter anyone like themselves then they haven’t pushed hard enough, they haven’t convinced themselves that they were the only one capable of reaching that singular honor: knowing there was nothing more to accomplish, no higher perfection he or anyone else could reach.

Today, in Daytona, both riders, proven Champions, each one amazing in his own right, must admit defeat at the hand of Chad Reed.

Imagine how cruel the will to win is then.

To stand and see this, to feel the weight dropping down through your own legs, just a spectator, watching the demand Chad throws upon himself as he clings to the shuddering chassis of his Yamaha, checkered flag waiting, is to suddenly realize, can there be any coincidence, that the words won and one sound exactly alike?

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Reed watching Langston

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Reed watching Langston, II

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Reed watching Brown

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Greg Schnell chasing Buddy Antunez

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#69 is Motoworld Racing’s Andy Short

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Buddy Antunez

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Chad Reed – Finish Line

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Mr. Reed

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Reed jumping by Grandstand

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Langston, Grant

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Hi, how you doin’? Hi, how YOU doin’?

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Mike Brown

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Brown on the gate

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Reed is #103

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#36 is Steve Boniface, KTM Red Bull 125

This is Daytona

This is Daytona

If you would like to read the results and point standings from Daytona, please visit this link

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The track

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Travis – heat exhaustion

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Sebastien Tortelli

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Stephane Roncada

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Stephane Roncada

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Chad Reed

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Chad Reed

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Chad – perfection so far

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Nathan Ramsey

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The press room – 250 top three

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Ezra Lusk!

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This is Ezra Lusk too

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Grant Langston

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This is Grant Langston too

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Jeremy McGrath

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Tim Ferry

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Tim Ferry

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Tim Ferry

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Ricky Carmichael

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Nice photo of Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

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A 250 Start!

Chad Reed: An interview

Chad Reed: An interview

At some time in our racing careers we have all had dreams of racing in America and becoming a champion. Through your efforts, many people are able to live out those aspirations. Win, loose or draw – you are a true champion! Thanks.

Good Luck mate!


Perth – Western Australia


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How about having an entire country watching your career? This sums up the phenomenon that is Chad Reed. I’ve admired him on the track, but I wanted to find out more about him.

RJ: Chad, how is it going for you in your first year of racing here in the States?

Chad: I think it’s gone well. The first race (125 East in Indy) I won, although I didn’t feel like I was 100% ready with riding the four-stroke. The week after (Minneapolis) was a much better ride for me. I got the holeshot, and won, and I consider that one of the best races I’ve ever done.

On the Wednesday before Minneapolis, I couldn’t even walk because of a crash practicing earlier in the week. I wasn’t quite sure if I was even going to race. As I rode, I got warm, and it felt better, so I decided to race. That night in Minnesota couldn’t of been any better. I won my heat, and then I won the Main. I feel like I didn’t make any mistakes in the Main, which is hard to do.

RJ: Tell me about the injury. What exactly did you hurt?

Chad: I had a crash on the Monday before Minneapolis. I landed on my lower back, and it messed up my groin and lower back. I was weak in that area, and it was quite painful. I have a trainer working with me named Jeff Spencer who really got me prepared to race that weekend.

RJ: I worked with Jeff. He’s great, and a great motivator as well. Plus he has so much knowledge and experience. He’s worked with us motocross guys, but he’s also working with Lance Armstrong (Tour de France Champion).

Chad: Jeff’s great. I work with him on a day to day basis. He knows how to treat various injuries and how far to go on training. When I went to his house and saw all the people he has worked with in the past .. it was impressive! Johnny O’Mara, David Bailey, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods … all the motocross guys …. the list goes on. He works with Lance and Tiger on a day to day basis as well. Everything he says is positive, and makes good sense, so I really enjoy working with Jeff.

RJ: When I would go down to Australia to race against Jeff Leisk and Craig Dack, there was so much pride for them in Australia, and from Australia when they raced overseas. How does it feel now to be the first one to win a supercross in America?

Chad: It feels good. But I’m not a person that’s about records. I enjoy what I do. I have fun doing what I do. Maybe when I get older it will feel even better to tell someone I was the first Australian rider to win a supercross in the States.

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I’m sure I won’t be the only one. There will be young riders coming up from Australia. I expect good things to follow.

RJ: Craig Dack, he was an Australian pioneer. We raced against each other here in the States, in Australia, in Paris, at the des Nations …. what is your relationship with him now that he’s the manager at Yamaha of Troy?

Chad: Craig’s a really good guy to work with. I rode with his team in Australia too. Obviously me and Craig are very familiar with each other.

When I heard that Erik Kehoe was leaving Yamaha of Troy, I mentioned it to Craig. I said ‘Hey, would you be interested in that job?’ He was. And Craig has worked with Steve Butler at Yamaha in the past. Craig is just a great guy to work with. He knows so much about motocross.

RJ: When did you start riding motorcycles?

Chad: I started when I was three and one half years old. I began racing at age four. Won my first Australian Championship at age seven. Over the years, I’ve won quite a few amateur championships, and two supercross championships in Australia. So, as a career, it’s been pretty much since I was four up till now.

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RJ: Does anyone in your family ride?

Chad: Yes. I have a younger brother that rides. He’s never been into racing to the same extent as I have been, but he rides my practice bikes around the bush for fun. He’s fast, but he’s not interested in competing.

RJ: In the outdoor series here, are you going to ride the 125 or the 250 class?

Chad: I’m going to be riding the 125 class. That’s the contract I signed with Yamaha of Troy. I need to hold up my end of the bargain. I’m going to try and win that championship for those guys. Then hopefully I can move up to the 250 class for next year.

RJ: Is it a one year contract with Yamaha of Troy?

Chad: Yes, it’s a one year contract that I signed. I wasn’t overly excited about racing in the 125 class, so my goal is to move up to the 250 class next year.

All I’ve ever wanted to do is race in that 250 class. All the biggest and best guys are racing in it.

RJ: You have a sense of confidence about yourself that a lot of guys don’t have, especially coming up. Every one treads lightly around the top guys. You can ride physical, and you seem comfortable is saying ‘Hey, these guys can be beaten!’ Where do you get that confidence?

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Chad: It’s from my dad. He has taught me so much in life. No one is above anyone else. We are all the same. All of us can be beaten. We are all normal human beings. We just happen to ride motocross bikes. That’s straight from my dad’s mouth. And that’s my plan: to ride my motocross bike real fast and try to beat everyone.

RJ: You’ve raced in Australia. You’ve raced in Europe. Now you are racing in the States. Do you plan to stay here for your career?

Chad: The world championships don’t interest me too much anymore. I think that some day the world championships will be held primarily in America. That certainly seems to be where it’s heading at least with supercross.

I see myself staying here for the rest of my career. I have a great life here. But I also see myself going back to Australia someday too. I love Australia, and that’s where I’ll live when I finish up racing. I can’t think of a better place for me to be than Australia.

I have a long time girlfriend living there. During the year, I can see myself going back there for a couple of weeks, but nothing too long. I have a house here, and right now the United States is my home.

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My parents are back in Australia too. They are building a new house. They’d love to be here in the States, but unfortunately they can’t be here. In a way it helps me with my parents not being here, because it makes a person grow up much quicker, and allows my personality to develop more fully.

RJ: When you came to the States, did you know you were going to ride the four-stroke, or did you think you’d be on a two-stroke?

Chad: I knew I’d be on the four-stroke. Although I didn’t want to ride in the 125 class, the four-stroke is something different. I certainly didn’t think if I rode that bike I’d be taking a step backwards. The bike works very well. It took me a while to learn it’s characteristics, but it’s a great bike and I’m having a fun time on it.

RJ: I like your riding style. What riders did you try to copy when you were growing up?

Chad: When I was really young, I had a cousin named Craig Anderson that raced back home. He’s four years older than I am, and he became Australian Supercross Champion. I call him the ‘Kevin Windham’ of Australia. ; ) So much talent. He could not even train sometimes and still win races. He’s just like Kevin – stands up a lot, very smooth, precise, with good timing. I looked up to him.

I probably became a bit more aggressive because of him too. When I was riding 60’s and 80’s, he was on the 125’s. He was always a bit ahead of me. So I was always trying to keep up with him. That’s how I learned to be aggressive. If Craig had the desire to conquer the world, he’d definitely be a top five rider here.

RJ: When you and Jeremy McGrath had your little ‘run-in’ in Bercy, what happened?

Chad: Seems like everyone has an opinion on that ; )

I was really close to Jeremy on the last lap. Of course, he has one story, and I have another. He squared the berm really tight, and I didn’t expect him to do that. I expected him to protect his line. When he squared, I jumped to the inside, and we collided in the corner. It was hard to deal with, and definitely one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my career.

I looked up to Jeremy for a large part of my life. I’ve idolized him. When he carried on the way he did, that’s when I fully realized that anyone can be beaten. I thought he carried on quite childishly, and maybe he wasn’t quite the person I’d thought him to be.

However, now, we are friends, and we talk quite a bit. It’s just a bummer that we had to go thru that little thing.

The fact is, we are all just human. Everyone can be beat. Like my dad said, ‘Go after it! We all work hard. No one is better than anyone else. We are all determined.’

I’ve dreamed all my life about racing against those top guys. I watch video all the time. I can’t wait for the day when I can start racing the whole season against them.

Chad Reed: An interview - Photo 6 of 6

RJ: You looked very comfortable early in the year in the 250 class. I thought you might even stay in that division because of the amount of points you had scored.

Chad: I would of liked that. Everyone says ‘You can win the 125 championship’, but that doesn’t mean that much to me. I never dreamed of winning a 125 championship. Always 250.

I get good bonuses in winning races, but that doesn’t interest me either. I just want to compete at the top level.

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