Music and motocross, the two go hand in hand. Riders all over the world rely on the songs of their choice for motivational use as they “get into the zone” for a race. It’s a common practice and a subject that can actually be quite intriguing. For Daniel Blair, that relationship is taken to another level.
Daniel and his brother Vincent have been a part of sport for many years, primarily competing in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship. After going the privateer route and fighting to make mains, the duo decided to make the move to the AMA Arenacross Series and take their shot at the 2011 title.
While the brothers are full-time racers, they are also avid musicians and the leaders of the band “Main Event.” For Daniel and Vincent Blair, music fuels their riding and their riding fuels their music. It’s a cohesive relationship that led them to form the ARMA Energy/MainEventRock.com Honda team.
With a new record out called “Hiatus,” the Blair brothers will use the proceeds of their album to help fund their racing efforts. Last weekend, the team made its debut in Tulsa with Daniel capturing a heat race win, only to find trouble in the Arenacross class main event.
The AMA Arenacross Series caught up with Daniel, to see how his transition into the AMA Arenacross Series has been.
Daniel, how did your first race of the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series season go?
“Overall my emotions are a little mixed about the first race. I was happy with a few things and unsatisfied with a few things. I started off with a heat race win (with a holeshot) and then in the main event I fell and couldn’t get going. I ended up finishing 14th. It was kind of an up and down weekend, but I had a good time and got through it safely. Now we’re moving on to Round 2.”
You competed in supercross for the last couple years and now you are moving into arenacross. What is the biggest difference between the two disciplines?
“To me it’s just the tightness and the intensity of the racing (in arenacross). Supercross has gotten really fast over the last couple years and is more high speed and opened up where arenacross is tight and action-packed. There isn’t much room so you have to be aggressive to make passes. I can’t say it’s too much different because racing is racing, but the tight confines (of arenacross) is the biggest difference maker for me.”
How close is the competition in the AMA Arenacross Series right now?
“It’s really tight right now. I was actually really surprised to find that there was just a second-and-a-half differential from first to 14th. It’s ridiculous. Everyone is going the same pace and everyone seems to be on their game so anyone can do anything on any weekend. I’m looking forward to it. I didn’t want to leave Round 1 sitting 14th in points, but next weekend is a whole new game. I feel like I can win but I’m sure the other 13 guys in that time bracket are thinking the same thing. It’s good. I think it’s good for the sport and its good for the season because people feel like they can steal victories.”
Consistency is very important in arenacross, particularly when it comes to the championship. Given your 14th-place finish last weekend, where do you think you stand in the title fight?
“(My finish) definitely put me in a hole right off the bat. It’s not where I wanted to start. I’m pretty bummed that I fell and ruined the opening week for me, but the good thing is that if you put together a string of races, you can get back in it. Josh Demuth actually got 13th last year at the first race and won the championship, so when I heard that, it actually lightened my mood a little bit. I can just go on a tear and get back in it, but I definitely can’t afford anymore (bad races). Maybe you can give one or two away (in a season) and I already gave mine away. I need to be consistent from here on out, but with guys like (Jeff) Gibson, (Tyler) Bowers, and (Chad) Johnson, they are going to be in the top five every week so in order to get back in, I’m going to need to get on top of the box.”
Even though it’s only been one round, has the move to the AMA Arenacross Series been everything you expected it to be?
“Yeah. It’s actually been better. I try to have good relationships with everyone and I try to be as involved as I can be. I was just blown away by how well everything was ran. Everyone was so cool. You know, everyone talks about how cool (the AMA Arenacross Series) is because the people are so great and I wasn’t let down by that one. They’ve been awesome. I’m definitely excited for the rest of the season. I had a good time and Round 1 and I’m really looking forward to the next 13 weekends. It’s going to be a fun year.”
In that same line of thinking, what has been the hardest adjustment you’ve had to make so far?
“Just the different type of racing. Everyone is so aggressive. Everything is quick and intense and I wasn’t as ready for it in the main event. I kind of made some mistakes and was a little uncomfortable with the racing. I’ll get used to it quick though. I can adapt pretty easily.”
What are your prospects for the rest of the year?
“Get on top of the box. I came into the series with the intention of trying to win this thing and after coming in and winning that heat race and having a chance to pace everyone and see where I’m at, I haven’t changed that assessment. I’m starting a little behind, but I think I can work a little harder, put some good races together, and get back to the front to try and make this thing happen.”
Your band “Main Event” has an album out now. It’s the basis for your team. How do you feel now that your record is out there and the season has started?
“I’m so happy. I’m really proud of myself and my brother (Vincent) for what we’ve accomplished. Our new CD has gotten such a strong response from everyone. We’re getting a lot of interest from even outside of racing, which is pretty cool. But I’m really happy with the decision that we made to start our team together and join the two. I look forward to hearing people’s responses because it makes me feel really good and we really worked hard on it.”
How does “Main Event” influence your racing? How does it all tie in together?
“For me, I base a lot of my music off of things that have happened in my life and racing has been my life. So, it influences my lyrics, it influences my brother’s drum and guitar lines – we like to write music that’s aggressive and intense because that’s what racing is. When it comes to racing, when I get ready for a moto, I like to put the headphones on and listen to stuff that gets me in the mood and that’s what our music does. They work hand-in-hand and just feed of one another.”
Round two of the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series kicks off in just a few days from Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, January 15 starting at 7:00 p.m. ET! New for 2011 is live timing and scoring from each round of the AMA Arenacross Series. To follow the intense racing action live, log onto www.Arenacross.com.