Since turning pro in 1990, Mike Brown has seen it all; from the movement from 2-stroke to 4-stroke, from racing as a privateer and factory rider, and from racing the FIM World Motocross Championships and the AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross Championships. Brown would eventually earn his way into the record books in 2001 when he won the AMA 125 Motocross Championships on the formidable Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team. Now racing for the factory Shock Doctor KTM Team, the 37-year-old competes primarily in WORCS events, where he leads the championship. With a 13-point lead going into the finale this weekend, the Tennessean hopes to take home another Number 1 plate. He also competes in EnduroCross where he’s currently sixth with two rounds to go. After the last EX in Ohio, I tracked Mike down as he was busily packing for a several hour drive to a GNCC event the next morning – where he would finish an impressive fourth overall!
So Mike, let’s hear a little bit about your EnduroX season this year.
Mike Brown is a multi-disciplined rider. He competes in just about every aspect of dirt racing there is.
Yeah, it’s going good so far. At the first race in Vegas, I got on a podium -I was riding well there. In Oklahoma, and then in Ohio I had good races there, but then had just a few crashes, like everybody has, and cost me a few good finishes. Overall it’s going good, and I’m having fun doing it. It’s tough; it’s actually the toughest thing I’ve ever done on a motorcycle for sure! The key is to just not crash; if you do not crash, then you do good.
I believe that it was about a year ago when you entered your first EnduroX; what are a couple important things you learned in the past 12 months?
Oh, a lot of things; the rock sections last year were really giving me a hard time. But I’ve been practicing that a lot, and eventually got a bit used to that. One thing last year that I didn’t know was that a bike’s engine size makes a big difference; I was riding a 450 and everybody else was riding 250Fs (laughs). Getting on a smaller and lighter bike made a big difference for me. It’s just like Supercross; the more you ride, the better you get at it. That’s what I’ve learned most about this sport - just ride it more.
Is EnduroX your primary focus, or is it more the WORCS series which you are in the points lead?
Yeah for sure; WORCS is the main thing that KTM hired me for. There, we’re doing well right now; we’ve one race to go and I’ve got the lead. But anything can happen; now I just need to keep it safe until that final race – then go out and see what we can do to try to win the championship.
Along with that, you raced Glen Helen Motocross National and were a pretty solid top-10 overall!
Yeah, I think I was like seventh overall; I had a good ride
In August, Brown won the AMA WORCS WEEK National Championship. The WORCS WEEK series is comprised of four different events combined into one week of racing.
going there, and I got good starts. It felt good to be out there with those guys and racing motocross - I miss it! Doing one or two motocross races a year keeps me good.
The 2009 season is winding down now; what else do you have going yet in 2009?
After going to California and preparing for the final WORCS race I’ll do an EnduroX in England at the end of the month. The rest of the year, I’ve got some Supercrosses do to in Europe; I’m going to do all the Supercrosses I normally do just to keep riding. You know, at my age [laughs], I think it’s best to keep riding than to take a month off and try to learn everything back again. I enjoy doing those races; traveling over there and racing.
In spite of your “age” comment; it certainly doesn’t seem like you are slowing down at all.
No, I’m not really slowing down like I thought I would. That’s kind of why I left Europe last year; to be at home more and just take it easy - but then I got into this stuff, and it’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be! So I’ve been trying to do everything I can to learn it as quick as I can, because I’m not very young now [laughs]. Every time that I get a chance to do one of these races, I do it. I try to learn how to do it the best that I can; it seems like every weekend I’m going someplace and doing a GNCC, EnduroX, Enduro, or whatever it is. I’ve done it all this year; about every type of race that you can do on a motocross bike [laughs].
I heard from a friend that did a recent KTM Ride Day that you were riding the 150 2-stroke and were smoking everybody else; do you still have good memories of your 125 days?
Mike Brown currently sits in first with a 13 point lead in the WORCS championship race with only one round to go.
I hadn’t had that much fun in forever! But it took me a while on the KTM 150 that I was riding, because it’s probably been since about 2003 when I got off the Pro Circuit bikes that I last rode one – then I got on the 4-strokes. Also, I think that I rode more in that day than I have in long, long time [laughs] - I just kept riding, and riding! It was awesome, and a lot of fun to ride a bike like that again. It’s so light and little, but it had a lot of power; it was very enjoyable to ride the thing.
To finish things up; what are you doing next year?
Well, I think that I maybe got out of the Supercross/Motocross side at the right time to get on an off-road team that’s good – like here at KTM. The economy is hurting this sport as well, but still with KTM, I think that their main focus is enduro bikes. They truly make a good bike for everything, but they put a lot of focus on the enduro stuff. I was very lucky to get with these guys last year, and be with them again next year.