Here’s a snippet from Monday’s PulpMx show with Atlanta 1 winner and legend Chad Reed.
Here’s a snippet from Monday’s PulpMx show with Atlanta 1 winner and legend Chad Reed.
Reed won Atlanta SX and joined us on the Pulpmx Show.
PulpMx: We had a guy call last week and he wanted to bet me $1500 that you would never win again. He was going to donate it to the Canadian des Nations team. And I said, well, there is no more Canadian des Nations team, but let’s do a gentlemen’s bet. And then you win the next week.
Reed: I could have made you more money, just like I did in Vegas that time.
How much credit do I get for the win for that text after the heat race where I noticed some things that you weren’t doing out on the track?
You know what’s funny? I never saw your text until after the main event, so I’m going to have to say zero on that one. Your information was correct if that means anything. We obviously watched the videos and I watched it on live TV. My phone was in the semi and I actually just got back on the bus. I never went back to the semi. But it was the same info. We all thought I was losing a lot in the whoops, which when you watch it back, I wasn’t losing too much in the whoops. It was more the gator back I was jumping one too many deep in. So, I needed to kind of change up a line a little bit there.
It hasn’t been the greatest year for you but the races that you started up front – Oakland, this weekend – you’ve managed to put in some great results. JT wrote a little column on Racer X and we were talking about it. Kenny’s average starting position and Ryan Dungey’s average starting position, these races are really boiling down that way, aren’t they? It certainly helped you this weekend. So more and more emphasis on these starts, I guess. As we’ve seen if you get a start you can win.
As far as bike setup-wise that’s pretty much what we did this weekend. We just basically went full Alessi and set the bike up for the start. It’s such a key thing. But I just finally rode well. I had the opportunity in Oakland and felt like the track in Oakland actually suited me better than what this past weekend’s track did. But I just wasn’t able to ride as good as what I needed to in Oakland to get it done. Trey beat up on me pretty good there. This weekend I was just able to go from the beginning and that was key. You can’t get a good start and then waste it. I was glad that I took the opportunity in Atlanta.
The quad after the whoops, I heard you did it in practice. I never saw that, but I saw Seely try it. Obviously that’s the jump where Kenny wadded up. Did you kind of have that in your back pocket and you were just feeling it? You kind of went and jumped through the whoops and then as soon as you landed it looked pretty easy. I think it really helped you in the first three or four laps. You stretched it out.
I actually saw Seely do it in the practice and that was what made me do it. I didn’t even think about doing it until I saw him do it. I was like, well, I guess that makes sense. I didn’t do it seat-bouncing and then I saw Kenny seat-bounced it and almost died, so I’m like, okay, cross that off the list, no seat-bounce. And then as it worked out the line, the way it was popping me in it, it actually was easier. I was confused because I talked to the AMA guys after that and they were going to change it actually, so we couldn’t quad, but then they actually kind of built the jump up and made it easier to quad. I kind of erased it from my mind and thought that’s over and then the heat race I noticed that it was kind of easy. I was doing the three quite easy and then the whoops were beat down and I had a clear track. I just seat-bounced it and it was easy. It was good.
How nice did it feel crossing the finish line? You got the black flag thing going on, it hasn’t been the season that you’ve wanted so far. How nice was it to show everybody, like “suck it, everybody”?
After 10 years of feeling like you’re going to tell everyone to “suck it” it gets old. It just felt good to win again, honestly. A lot of people seem to think that was the big one. I think Anaheim 2 last year when I won, that was a big one. Then I got hurt in ’12 and I struggled through ’13 and then made a lot of changes for ‘14. So that was kind of more of an emotional one, where this one just felt that you can’t work that hard and have that good of an off-season, and have the results that we have had this year. Quite disappointing, the year I’ve had and it’s taken this long to get a win, to be honest.
Great ride by Reed in the A-T-L, can he do it again?
Keefer: Travis (Preston) and I were driving up here today and we were talking about us as racers. You ride and you get 6th or 7th all the time and you have these guys beat you all the time, but with you it seems like it never bothers you. Which is so hard to grasp as a racer because you get beat down, beat down, beat down, and you’re so mentally strong that you can come out the next weekend and just kick everyone’s ass. How hard is that to get as far as just strength to know, even though I didn’t have a great weekend I know I can win? How does that happen?
I’m just relying on facts. If I felt that the 4th, the 5th, the 6th, whatever it may be, going 10-10 at the beginning of the year, if I come off the track and I’m like, man, that was a good ride. I don’t think I could ride any better than that. I don’t think I could go any faster than that. I think that that’s the day I go, shit, that’s the best I am and I no longer want to be a part of this. I have come off the track even when I was 3rd in Oakland believing that I left so much out there, and just knowing that you’re better. I’m not really frustrated in getting beat up because, trust me, when you spend as many years getting beat up by RC and Stew, none of these guys bother me too much these days. It’s just really trying to get back to the basis of finding that happy thing that makes me tick and get back to being at the front. I think this weekend, for whatever reason, I just showed up and rode good and it felt good. I felt like I deserved to win. I rode well and got it. That’s just kind of what I run off.
I looked over at your pits after the second practice and your guys were busy on the bike, and then after the race I was talking to Byrner. I mentioned that to him and he was like, “no, he’s always keeping us busy.” And I thought, that’s right it’s Chad. There’s always something going on. Did you make some big changes that helped from the practice session to the night show?
We made a lot of changes. I made a lot of changes on the west. I was really struggling on the west coast. The tracks were developing really strange. They were watering them a lot and pretty much every turn felt like you just were turning on a dime. It was retarded and I couldn’t turn that sharp. So we had to really make quite big geometry and wheel base changes to compensate and get me in and out of the turns. You kind of give up stability and you give up whoops. You’ve kind of taken a few things that are my strong points away from me, but then I was able to get through the turns better. Now that we’re heading east coast it seems like the race tracks are becoming a little bit more what I’m used to at home.
This weekend we made a big change. We pretty much went back on everything. Besides having spring forks on my bike this weekend was just same as what it was in 2014, wheel base-wise, geometry-wise, all that kind of stuff. We made big changes but it wasn’t necessarily like we discovered something that we hadn’t before. It was just basically backtracking and going back to something that we knew worked.
I haven’t talked to you much on the record about the Pirelli tires. You got Pirelli a win. I think it’s their 4th career Supercross win. I think James has the other three, and then now you put them on top again. How’s that switch working for you? You’re a guy who’s notoriously finicky about the way the bike handles. How’s the Pirellis?
Pirellis have been good. They’re obviously very different than what we came from. They have more movement. They comply with the ground a lot more. So we’ve had to obviously tweak the chassis to accommodate that. I felt like this weekend was probably the slickest track we’ve rode all year almost. I was super pumped on how everything was working. Other than tweaking the chassis here and there to accommodate the more movement in the tire, we’ve been good.
What’s the biggest thing for you that makes it feel like everything is clicking and you could really win that night? Some nights I feel like are better than others. What makes Chad Reed think he can take the main event win?
I think just having a solid day. I don’t need to be on the board. I’m not the guy that needs to see my number up on the top 5. If I’m anywhere in the top ten and I’m floating around that one second off the fast lap, I feel good going into the night program. And then I think it’s just a matter of getting a good start and laying down six laps in the heat and 20 in the main. And that’s really where it was this weekend. I was ninth in practice I think, but I felt really good, felt comfortable. I did the quad. We made improvements to the bike. I was maybe just over a second to Trey but everyone else was only like a half second or something like that. So that’s kind of what my plan is.
My plan is never to go out there and be the fastest guy, just because I’m not prepared to lay it on the line. You guys have been there. It’s actually scary. When I re-watch videos and watch those guys and see how they’re achieving that lap, you know that they can’t lay that down for 20 laps. It’s just not possible. I try to get within the window that I feel is necessary and then try to carry that through the night program.
(Caller) What would be your advice to a young aspiring racer?
Obviously I grew up in Australia and did the whole amateur scene down there. We started at the local level, tried to progress from there. When we got competitive at that level we went to the national level or state level. You just take it step by step and try to be there. As a parent you try to give your kid the best tools that they can go and achieve their goals. It’s what my mom and dad did, it’s what I’m going to try to do for my kids.
Reed’s on the chase for 50 career sx wins.
Your mom and dad were never the super serious, Tony Alessi amateur parent types were they?
I’m not sure you if you can compare my mom and dad to Tony Alessi. I believe that you guys have never seen my parents as they were. I came over here and they were pretty distant. It wasn’t like they were super involved. My mom and dad were super into it. My dad was gnarly. My mom pushed pretty hard. It’s one of those things where I think it’s the nature of the beast. I don’t really know anybody that’s been successful that’s just had a perfect upbringing and their mom and dad’s just been there, “We totally support you. Go out there and do your best.” There’s a push. That’s my feeling. I haven’t seen, unless you guys have, any mom or dad that just is all good about going racing and it’s just “Do your best, kid.” I think that everyone’s heavily invested.
I know my mom and dad spent a lot of money and I think when they’re spending a lot of money they don’t want to just waste their time. They want to try to get the most out of it. I was the kid that grew up and my dad was gnarly, but he always told me, when you turn 18 you can do what you want. Well, then I turned 18 and I’m still living at home. And then he’s like, when you’ve got your own house and you pay your own bills, you can do what you want. I’m like, all right, so I’ve got to get out of here. That’s when I packed up and went overseas. From then on, I always wanted my dad to be a dad, not my coach or the guy yelling at me.
(Caller) What are your thoughts or predictions on Ryan Villopoto? How do you think he’s going to do overseas?
I don’t know, man. We talk about it. I’ve been there, raced that series and have a lot of friends over there. I think it’s intriguing to see RV go over there. We all know what RV can do. We know how talented he is. I know a lot of things that he’s doing as far as bike setup and everything like that. He’s going down the USA route and I don’t know that that’s perfect for over there. Maybe he’s good enough to just make it happen. From what I’ve seen on TV it looks a lot like Utah. It’s going to be at night, it’s going to be sketchy. Ryan Villopoto’s pretty good at sketchy. I think this weekend and then Thailand will be decent weekends for him. When we start doing the European tour I think we’ll start to see where he fits in.
Keefer- You’ve been married for many years and you have three kids. Your home life has to be right as far as everything’s good at home, so when you leave you know everything’s okay in your mind. I think you can relax when you race. I think on the outside people don’t see that. They see you winning, they see your team, but they don’t see the part when you go home with Ellie and your kids and all the calmness that you have around you. For me, just being an average guy, I need that in my life, just to have a good day. How important is it to have a really solid base at home to make you ride well every Saturday night?
Absolutely. It’s such a perfect thing to touch on, because it’s like your family or in this case Ellie, she’s like the backbone. She’s the support crew. She’s the one that picks up the pieces. When you’re living somewhere and you’re living in a motorhome, suddenly you find yourself having to not be selfish. And suddenly you start to have to be like, my wife’s home sick or my girlfriend’s home sick. Then you got to play the babysitter and “It’s cool. Only six more months of this.” I’ve been there. I lived out of a motorhome and when it rains it’s muddy and nasty and she’s crying, “I just want to go home. I miss my mom,” and all of these things. And I don’t know enough about Ryan and Kristen to know that she’s close to her family or anything like that, so I’m not saying it necessarily about them. But there’s a lot involved.
Is it hard for you to turn off the racing once you walk through the front door? Do you guys talk about racing at all or is it something totally different when you’re at home?
It is hard. This is our 4th year at the race team and Ellie and I doing this thing. Last year we took on the merchandise. We’ve kind of gotten to a point where the race team, we talk about it in August, September, October, and then it’s like we don’t talk about it. It becomes kind of like I deal with the race team, I deal with it during the off-season and my agent, and all those kinds of things. We’ve kind of found a happy medium and it takes a long time to find that. If I was kind of doing race team I couldn’t overlook race team and I couldn’t overlook the merchandise. So then Ellie was pretty much 100% doing the merchandise, I was doing race team. You try to find that place where you can’t all just take on so much and your plate’s just full.