Brett Metcalfe Motocross Interview

June 19, 2009
By Jim Kimball

Coming into the 2009 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites East Coast series, my money was absolutely on Geico Honda’s Brett Metcalfe to take the title – and after a second place finish at the series opener I was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately a practice crash a few days later resulted in a lengthy recovery and a missed opportunity. It does seem like nothing comes easy for the native Australian as injuries have derailed his championship more than once. Yet, the man known as “Metty” always comes back stronger than ever! Brett is somewhat of a “quiet” rider; always putting his head down and working hard, and staying out of trouble. I had the fortune of meeting the now 25 year old when he first came to America back in 2003, and can sincerely say that he is one of the most genuine “un-rock star like” riders in the pro pits. If you happen to see him, you must say hello. Recently I sat down with the rider currently ranked fifth in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships.

Brett Metcalfe
“Coming into this outdoor season I knew there were some great riders in this class; but there isn’t a super dominant force yet. You know, the last couple years it’s been all Ryan Villopoto; now he’s moved up. There isn’t a dominant guy that has proven himself yet outdoors, so it’s somewhat wide open.” Brett Metcalfe

Beginning with Supercross Brett; when you were injured just after round 1, I don’t know who was more disappointed – you, or your fans.

It is always difficult to deal with injuries; no matter when they come or wherever they may be. It was definitely a tough day when I got hurt then. The first round in Houston went really well, and I felt even better coming into that second round – but you know, that’s the way it went. It was definitely difficult to deal with it, and actually took me a long time to recover. The broken collarbone was about a 4—5 week deal; but my wrist took nearly three months.

What were you able to do in that time off from supercross to prepare for the nationals?

Just try to stay in as good as physical condition as I possibly could, but there was a period there where I didn’t know what was going on with my wrist injury with my wrist, and it was frustrating – they took a lot of MRIs finally see what was going on with it. We didn’t really know how bad it was until we got an Arteriogram, and there was a point where doing surgery was talked about. It was borderline as to whether I needed it or not, and I chose to try and let it heal on its own. If everything worked out okay, then we’ll just keep going forward – eventually it worked out fine. Other than that, just tried to stay in physical shape the best that I could, watched the racing on TV, and stayed involved with the team – that’s really all I could really do.

You’ve looked great so far in motocross; especially with your injury induced layoff.

Thanks Jim; I guess I’m proud of what I’ve done so far in the first few rounds. Coming into Glen Helen I knew I was riding okay; but I knew that with everyone coming off of a strong supercross season with riding a lot when I hadn’t; I didn’t know how it was going to shape up. To come away with a seventh overall, by taking a 7-6 moto score was really good for me – I was happy. I wanted two top 10’s, and I pulled that off. Since then I have further improved, and feel a little better on the bike – I just want to keep doing that.

This championship is still possible right?

Of course it is; we’ve still got many motos to run, so it’s a lot of racing. A lot of things are going to happen in that time and the first few rounds for me have been excellent. I’m not where I need to be, but considering what I’ve done, I’m feeling really good about things. I just need to keep moving forward, and get closer to the front. I believe I can be up there, and be a contender for this championship.

How has the competition in the class compared to last summer’s?

It’s deep; the way that I looked at it coming into this outdoor season was that there are some great riders in this class; but there isn’t a super dominant force yet. You know, the last couple years it’s been all Ryan Villopoto; now he’s moved up. There isn’t a dominant guy that has proven himself yet outdoors, so it’s somewhat wide open. We’ve got Rattray, Pourcel, and Searle coming in from Europe, and then Dungey, Trey, Stroupe, and everyone else that was up there last year – so it’s just so deep with competition.

Brett Metcalfe
“I believe it will take being consistent and being really strong every race – that’s normally what you need to be fast. If you’re not fast, you’re not going to win or do well; you need to have everything in line to win a championship.” – Brett Metcalfe

With you mentioning Villopoto, it reminded me of your switch from Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki to the Geico Honda team – how has the transition gone?

I’ve been feeling great about it; although I’ve done only four races for this team [laughs], so we’re still learning about each other. A new team brings new people around you, and you need to discover, and learn how people work, and understand the way things flow. Also with the motorcycle; learning the Honda, and realizing what I don’t like and what I do like. Right now, we’re still kind of going through some changes trying to make me feel a little more comfortable, and I’m kind of chasing my tail with a couple little things, but we’re slowly ironing those things out. This is only my third race on this team, so I think we’re going to improve.

Continuing on with the team talk; all you riders seem to be pretty evenly matched; is there much inter-team competitiveness?

Yeah, absolutely; I think that no matter what team you’re on that each individual is a competitor against each other, whether we’re a team or not. But this whole team as a group is just excellent; all of us riders get along really, really well – and all share somewhat of a friendship. When we go racing, it’s for ourselves, and it’s competitive. After the past few last weekends, we all congratulated each other and it was good racing. We want to win and we’re all trying to push each other to do better.

The Geico Honda team is certainly a strong one, and then when you add in the other teams and riders it is an ultra competitive class – what will it take to win this championship?

Brett Metcalfe - AMA Motocross Lites  Glen Helen
“Coming into Glen Helen I knew I was riding okay; but I knew that with everyone coming off of a strong supercross season with riding a lot when I hadn’t; I didn’t know how it was going to shape up. To come away with a seventh overall, by taking a 7-6 moto score was really good for me ” – Bret Metcalfe

I believe it will take being consistent and being really strong every race – that’s normally what you need to be fast. If you’re not fast, you’re not going to win or do well; you need to have everything in line to win a championship. Everyone who’s won a championship has always been fast, consistent, strong, and they really eliminated a lot of mistakes – that’s what it takes to win a championship. That’s what I’m trying really hard to work on this year – not falling in the trap of making a big mistake. Whether it is at a race or during the week that takes you back to a tenth or a fifteenth or a DNF is what I want to avoid. It’s such a fine line to walk between, you know: being consistent and conservative and then pushing yourself hard enough to get good results without going over the top. It’s a very fine line, and I’m just really focused this year on trying to walk down the middle of that line. So fare, I’m happy with the way things are going; we just have to keep moving forward, and believe that the championship is never over until it’s over. I’m letting it come to me and I’m just trying hard to stay focused on doing the right things.

Any parting thoughts, Brett?

You know, I’d just like to thank the whole team, Geico Power Sports Factory Connection Honda. Every single guy on this team is working hard. We’re all getting along as a group, and it’s a great team. I want to thank all the staff, everyone, and special thanks to my mechanic, Brian (Kranz).