Chad, congratulations on your second place this weekend in Texas. The conditions were tough, but it seem like you liked the track when it got rough.
The track was good; I actually really like that track. Yeah, it’s flat, and there’s no hills or anything like that. So it’s nice they’ve got some good jumps. It’s a difficult track actually; the weather has always been hot there. Every time we go there they have to put a lot of water on the track, and it gets a lot of lines. You also have to deal with the shading under the trees. They’re tough conditions to deal with.
How do you think your weekend went?
I was a little off this weekend. I just kind of felt I wasn’t hitting my marks as good as I needed to. Some things I learned about the bike we need to work on a little bit. Even though I was off; it was a real successful weekend. I feel like when we learn something it’s a good weekend; even though we struggled and didn’t get the result we wanted. It’s a good weekend to learn some things, and we didn’t lose points to anyone. My points lead actually grew more; you can’t be disappointed in a situation like that.
After the first moto you called out to the track crew to not mess with the track and to let it get rough. Is that because you like rough tracks, or were you confident in you fitness level to handle riding a rough track in the heat?
I guess both. For me, it’s like, why do we have suspension guys and all these people that are paid good money to give the riders the best bike possible? Why do we have trainers and live in the Florida humidity if they’re going to make smooth race tracks? It doesn’t make sense. Motocross racing is gnarly; it’s brutal. It’s the roots of our sport. I just felt it was really smooth, and anybody can go really fast in those conditions. If some of the younger kids get out front they can pin it, and it’s quite easy to go fast. If it’s rough then they start to fade after about 15 minutes. I think that motocross is all about being in being in shape and having a good set up. A smooth track just kind of takes away from that.
I think the spectators prefer the track rough as well. It makes for better racing when guys are battling on a gnarly track.
Like last year and this year, the first motos have been hard to adapt to. It’s changed since 2006. I think there are a lot more talented guys and more people that can go fast. Definitely the production level of the bikes has come a long way. Back in ’04,’05, and even ’06 not a lot of people could make Ricky, myself, James, Kevin and probably Ferry. You know we could separate ourselves quite a lot, and normally I was the guy who could let it all hang out and get away from those guys. Obviously Ricky was always difficult, but everyone else I felt I had a pretty good handle on. So the racing has changed now. Back then it was brutal, and the tracks were rough. It took a little more; where nowadays they’ve build berms on the outside and inside. Now you’re just on a slot car track, you know?
So now you’re a new father, has that changed your lifestyle or the way you go about racing?
It’s definitely been a real positive thing. I’ve heard both sides of the story where people are worried about getting hurt now that they have kids. Whether I had a kid or not, getting hurts sucks and it sucks not being able to do what you want or need to do. So for me, I’ve be a guy that’s always tried to stay within my limits. So that really didn’t change for me; I don’t feel like I’m being cautious because I’ve got a kid. I feel like I’m being driven more. I’m motivated; I want to win races, set a good example and make my son proud. In the next few years he’s going to kind of understand what I do, and that Dad is up on the podium winning races. That’s be person I want to be, and that’s the person I want him to see.
For the second weekend in a row Reed ran the red number plate background reserved only for the points leader.
So some fans felt like you were being a wuss when you came back at Daytona and then decided not to race and wait until you were fully ready. Do you feel like you got some heat because of that decision to wait until the last few races of the Supercross Season to come back?
Naw, I mean for me the reality of it was I didn’t feel like I was ready anyway, and then two days before Daytona I fell at my house and broke my thumb. So that’s what really delayed a lot of it. And at that point my hand was still hurting from the Phoenix crash. I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason. So maybe I wasn’t meant to be out there racing, it just wasn’t the right time. So I just sat out until the appropriate time. When I did come back racing, it was difficult. I felt like I was there because I had to. It was weird situation, because I’ve never felt that before. I’ve never been in a situation where going riding and racing my head and heart were elsewhere. And I’ve learned from that. I’ve never been through that experience before of having a child, and I didn’t know that once they get to 37 weeks they could come at anytime. So here I am on the other side of the country working out emergency escape plans to get back to the East Coast as quick as possible. It was difficult dealing with that; I feel like Vegas was the only race I rode with a halfway clear head.
So what’s it like riding on the Kawasaki team versus past teams? You seem to be happy where you are at right now.
It’s been a great experience and a lot of fun. Every team is different and has a different way of doing things, and just like any new job you’ve got to learn the ins and outs of everything. It was kind of an awkward situation because I was in Australia for so long, committed to the Australian series over there. So I missed out on a lot of testing, and critical bonding time with the team. So I came into Supercross feeling like I was a little bit behind the eight ball, but the outdoor season is going really well. I’ve had the appropriate time to test, and I’m really comfortable. I feel like I have a great shot at winning the title. The whole Monster Energy crew that comes along with the deal has been awesome and has been supportive of everything. It was a tough situation coming into a new team and being injured. Missing the majority of the Supercross Season is never a good way to start off a relationship, but through all that they’ve been really, really supportive. I’ve been trying to give it my all to bring them home a championship outdoors.