PulpMX: It doesn’t look like the Dungey comeback is gonna happen next year huh?
RC: Selfishly, it would have been great to see him at the races next year. I think it would have been fantastic for the sport. He’s such a likable guy. I think definitely we know that the fans would have rallied behind. Certainly that would have been the case. But from one competitor to another, I just don’t know that I could get on board with that decision and what the motive would be behind. Obviously I know the motive would be to go out and win. He’s just accomplished so much. I just go back to his last season and how hard it was for him to win that championship. He fought through and he relied on a lot of things. His past experience and his knowledge in the game. He had some luck on his side. Obviously you make your own luck for sure, however I couldn’t get on board with it. I would just hate for him to some reason hurt himself. I personally in the last two years the pace in supercross, especially the 450 class, has just gotten so fast. Those guys are going so, so fast. I feel that he would have been put in a position that quite frankly he wouldn’t have wanted to be in, whether it’s quadding through a section. I could be totally wrong. He went out on top. I love what he did. I am a huge Ryan Dungey fan, but I couldn’t get on board with it for those reasons. Mostly just from a safety standpoint and how fast those guys are. They’re so fast.
You went out winning every race on your part-time schedule, of course, and then you went out. Did you ever think about coming back the next year or the year after or anything? Did you have any sort of things like Ryan is having where you’re like, you know what? Maybe I could line up? Or maybe I could make this much money, or whatever? Did that ever come close to you at all? Anything?
The only time I felt that was after Washougal when Stew didn’t come back to race. I’m like, damn, I should have kept racing. But I will tell you, it did take two years. I didn’t want to line up at the races, but I still had that feeling like I could go out there and still do it and still be competitive and compete for wins. But I didn’t want to go out there and do it. I just think I was so burnt and fried. I didn’t want to do it. I think that Dunge is getting to that stage. I always say it takes two years to get over that hump to where you’re like, it’s just been too long since you’ve been out of the game in this sport. He’s almost over that to where it’s not even a thought anymore.
It was a surprise decision, for sure. I know RV pretty well. I’m pretty tight with him. Do you remember when he came back to race the Monster Cup like two years ago? I think he was a little shell-shocked. At the end of the night and the next day, I think he was like, “Shit, I thought I’d be better.” He was prepping pretty hard. He was just coming off his four championships. Like you just said a couple times, these guys advanced and I think RV was like, whoa. I don’t know if he’d ever admit that publicly, but I think he was like, holy shit.
That guy is a warrior. If there’s one guy I wouldn’t want to race for a championship, it’d probably be that guy. He’s just going to do whatever he’s got to do to win. True warrior. There’s no doubt about it. He just seems like he would just grind on you and grind on you and grind on you and just put you into submission to where you’re like, I give up. You got me. I was shocked, too. I thought he was going to get out there and do a little bit better than he did. But that just shows you professionally in supercross that these guys take off a fair amount of time. When I saw fair amount, when you’re off the bike for two months, three months at a time, you lose a lot. I really believe that. To come back and race these guys is really, really hard, especially when they’re riding all the time. They’re constantly improving. Things change. The bikes change. They’re always improving. The suspension technicians, the engine technicians, engineers involved. They’re working their tails off. When I watch down the supercross floor before the night program comes on, it just blows my mind just how fast those guys are going, how fast the bikes are accelerating. The things that they do just right out of the corner and the talent that these guys have. It’s insane how they’re able to do what they do on a motorcycle.
Then you look at some of the data stuff going on with the guys and how they’re programming the bikes to open the throttle at a certain percent at this corner of the track. This is stuff that you never had. You just twisted the throttle until it fell off. They can now monitor your throttle delivery at a certain part of the track and all of this stuff that just makes these guys so good. The starting maps, all that stuff.
Yeah. Especially when the riders are willing to accept the data and learn from it. It’s one thing to have the data, but being able to apply it and put it to where you can use it to your advantage, whether you’re the rider, whether you’re the engineer, making it work, that’s another thing. It’s absolutely so cool to see that. It’s funny. When we had RCH and we were working on all the start modes and all that fun stuff and the lockdown device, we were just trying to get the bike to where you could basically just make it dummy-proof. Just let the clutch go. Not racing with that kind of technical, I sucked with that kind of stuff. Full start mode, lockdown, I couldn’t even do it. I’m like, you know what? I’m not your guy for this. You need to hire Ivan or somebody to do the testing that has raced recently. I felt like a complete goon. There’s probably some video floating around somewhere with it. It was so embarrassing. But it’s cool. I think it’s great for the sport. I think it would be cool if we could talk a little bit more about it, explain it a little bit better on the broadcast next year. I think that would be something fun that the fans would enjoy.
Are you still riding right now? What’s going on? You’re not with Suzuki anymore. Do you have a bike and all that?
Yeah. As far as moto, to be honest with you, I’m a fair-weather rider. I don’t ride that much, and when I do, the conditions got to be just right. The thing about it living in Florida, obviously there’s no mountains or anything like that, so if you can’t go out and do that kind of riding and you just want to go out and pound out laps on the track, to me it’s not fun riding at 50%. To ride at 100% honestly I’m scared something is going to go wrong and I’m going to hurt myself. So to answer your question, I ride once in a while. But what I do find joy in, when I do ride, I like riding supercross. It’s crazy for me, right? Outdoors was my thing. The reason that is, is because I can put the bike in second gear and just ride at my own pace and not have to go so fast. In outdoors you got to go so fast to get that challenging feeling. Just the speeds are what worry me. But only once in a while.
I heard through the grapevine you may be associating yourself with another OEM in the near future. Do you have anything on that, or is that crazy sources?
I haven’t heard from anybody. I really haven’t. But if it happens, if somebody is going to hook me up, you guys will hear about it. That’s for sure.
I talked to Fro this weekend at Pala. How is the podcast going with you two? He told me he’s been bugging you to jump on more and more. How do you like that end of things?
I’m glad you asked that. We have fun. Real Talk 447 is a fun little project for us. You kill it. You own this space. You do a fantastic job. You have a huge viewership, listeners, viewers, all that. We get on there and we like to have fun with it. We do it when we want to do it and we like if people listen to it. It is a lot of fun when we’re able to do it. It’s been different, but fun. For me, I end up just repeating myself of what I said on the broadcast so I’m always trying to find something other to talk about. Not so much gossip, but just other things. Even if it’s other disciplines or sports. I’m also down with talking about that. But it’s a lot of fun now. Jeff will pass the buck and say, “I tried to get RC to do it but he’s always busy.” Don’t let him fool you. He’s busy running the market there on Balboa, big dogging it. It’s never Fro’s fault. It was funny at first because he was doing all the editing and all that fun stuff. I got to give it to him. He was doing a lot of the back-end work, which got to give a hats off. But right now, he will pass the buck for sure. So it’s funny that he said that.
Once supercross starts for sure you guys will be up and running. I assume you’re back as the analyst for supercross TV?
I’m hoping so. That’s the plan, for all intents and purposes. That would be good. I’m hoping. Everything sounds like it’s a go, but you never know anymore. I think that we’re in a good position. I thought I had a good performance in Salt Lake City. Been working at it and doing the best that I can. A lot of people said, “He really got better from the first year to the second year.” Did I work on it? Of course I did. Did I study it more? Absolutely. But at the same time, all you guys know that it’s just making laps. Making laps, as Ralph would say. You get more comfortable. You get better. You know what’s happening. You know what to expect. I will say what really helped me going from the first year to the second year was watching the outdoor races. Being a little bit more in tune. I didn’t know that I was going to be in that position until basically December before the supercross started in ’19. So I wasn’t watching all the motocross events either. I kind of just unplugged from it. Then when the opportunity came up, I hopped in. So I was much more prepared for the 2020 season. Honestly just simple math, just more laps and being there each weekend. I really love what that balance looks like. It works out well from a timing perspective for me, with as much as I’m involved with my kids. So they’re in school during the week and obviously on the weekends I’ll work. Then I have them during the weeks most of the time, so I’m able to work with them, make sure everything is going good. Then in the summers for the most part when I’m not doing my brand ambassador, I’m able to spend as much time with them during the summer and still get some stuff done. So it’s a really good balance. I like the routine. I had a long enough break away from it. The kids are old enough now that I can do that kind of thing. I feel like I’ve found a nice balance and I enjoy it.
Does it give you any of that sort of competitive thing you’re craving that you’re missing out on with racing? Do you get that with tackling a new… You’re getting better at something new and you’re getting the butterflies when you’re live on TV. Do you get any of that from it?
Hundred percent. Great question. Absolutely I do. The biggest things that I really get fired up on and getting bummed at myself and pissed and want to do better is obviously the stand-ups. Really want to do a good job at my on-cameras. We don’t have a lot of time because your co-host sometimes, Daniel Blair, always likes to hog up the airwaves. Land your plane, dude. Producers in our ear. I’m like, well, there goes about ten seconds of the twenty that I had. So I always want to do my best there and be short and concise and get the message across. Really when you guys are racing, what the approach that I tired to take this year was like, okay, what would I do if I had my helmet on? I just kind of really learned my role and what I needed to do this season. This year I went into it like, I’m going to pretend like I have the helmet on. Sometimes I have to take the ball from Ralph, and I certainly don’t want to overstep on him because he’s the play-by-play guy. He is the frontman. But there are times where I’ve laid off in the past and I’ve missed opportunities where this time if I see a pass coming, I’m going to jump on it and take it. Ralph has been totally cool. I’m like, “Hey, man. I just feel like there’s times where I just got to do it. I don’t want to be disrespectful to you at all.” Ralph is cool. He’s like, “Dude, totally. Go for it.” So, I did a lot of that this year. Of course, do I get nervous and is there anticipation? Absolutely. Most of the time it comes, like I said, for my opening stand-up. I really work hard on that one because that’s the message that we’re trying to drive home and try and deliver the message on what we want the viewers to see and what’s happened throughout the week and continue from the weekend before. Then finishing strong, your closing segment. You always want to go out with a bang as well. I do get butterflies, especially championship weekend before the gate drops for you guys. 110%. The anticipation. Something that I never thought. I didn’t even get that when I was racing. I get way more antsy being up in the booth before the gate drops, no doubt.
Ferry did take you down in ’97. That was a perfect bit of race craft there. Not winning one race. It was a brilliant strategy.
I believe I had the most crashes that season and in 1999. ’99 definitely was the year that I would like to forget, without a doubt. It was just mayhem, as a rookie. People don’t understand. I had to give AC a million kudos this year when he crashed in Glendale. That was a tough lick. To come back the next weekend in Oakland, I wish there was a way that I could have explained that better. To come back and rebound the way that he did is so hard to do at the pinnacle of the sport. I don’t know really how to explain it any better. I don’t know how. I think you have to live it and know what it’s like. I lived that, so I know how hard it is to do, not only physically but mentally. It’s so easy to get in a rut. The guy was just able to rebound, and it was cool to see. A lot like Zach Osborne. Kind of switching gears here to finishing out the series. He won at Salt Lake, and then to be in a hole that he was in in the 450 class. He was used to winning in the 250 the last couple years there. Then to be able to basically pull yourself out of the soup and win a championship, winning supercross. I think we haven’t seen the last of him because the guy knows how to win. Once he knows that he can do it, it’s like he won’t be denied. I just have mad respect for people that are able to do that because that is so hard to do.
If he doesn’t win the final round at Salt Lake, Anderson’s seat comes off to help him out a little bit. If he doesn’t win that, then maybe he doesn’t win this outdoor title. Just that little spark. Honestly you and the infamous Jeremy race at Anaheim, then you went on a roll. It’s kind of the same thing. Like, hey, I can do this. I can really do this.
Yeah. Personally, do I think he would have been strong minus the win at Salt Lake? Of course I do. You could just see his confidence rising. If you just say that the Salt Lake residency that we did was like a second season, if you will, of supercross. Something clicked. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him as much as I would like to, but they clearly got the bike handling better for him. It was in a comfortable spot. On an average, his finishes were better. His starts were better. Everything was just working well for him. Then yes, do I think did winning the final round help him going into the outdoors? A hundred percent. Had to have a boat load of confidence. You would assume that outdoors is more his thing and he’s probably like, hell yeah. It’s game on. And he knows he’s tough. The guys that he’s lining up against, he knows that he can run with them and he won’t be denied. He has that never say die attitude. That’s really what you need, not only in all racing but especially the outdoors.
I kind of want to go back into your racing career a little bit. You went 24-0 two times. You were super impressive with those. How mentally challenging was it to do that, and was the second one harder than the first one? I’ve aways wanted to ask you that. Only one other dude has done it besides you, and you’re the only one that can do it twice.
Great question. In 2002 honestly, I didn’t have any intentions on doing that. It just happened. That bike was really good, by the way. The ’02 outdoor bike worked really well. The only time that the pressure got to me, and it’s the only time it did, was the final moto. Because you go 23 races undefeated, and then it’s like, you can’t screw this up now.
I would be freaking out on the gate.
Yes, I was. I was like, okay. Holy crap. Now I feel the pressure. But up until that point, it was I wouldn’t say easy, but I didn’t really think about it until really all the marbles were on the table. That’s when it got me. Didn’t know what to expect, so the second time that I did it in 2004, that bike, to this day that CRF450, other than my RM250, my 2005 SX bike, that was probably my two favorite motorcycles, and my ’98 KX125. Those three were my absolute favorite. It was so much fun to ride. I remember riding in ’04 during the week just loving going to the track and riding. It didn’t matter if the conditions were good, bad. That bike just excelled everywhere. It was pretty much stock, like a stock engine. There wasn’t a lot done to them. The things were so fast anyway. But I knew what to expect in 2004, so it was a little bit easier just because I had done it before. But I did feel the pressure, once again, on that last moto. Because like I said, you go so far and you’re like, I can’t screw it up. Another reason that I think also going undefeated in 2004 was a little bit easier was not only had I done it before and I knew what to expect, if you remember I landed on K-dub’s bike in practice so I was kind of preoccupied mentally. My ankle was all tweaked. Thing was like a balloon. So I had something to kind of take my mind off it. I was more focused on not dabbing my foot and all that fun stuff.
It was funny because in ’03 Timmy beat you in a moto, Windham beat you, but with the two-stroke you were spinning, you were going sideways, the thing was revving. All of a sudden you got on the four-stroke and it was like, oh shit. Well we all got problems now. Your two-stroke was at a disadvantage.
We were at Unadilla and Windham and I, I was going as hard as I could. I remember coming off and he beat me straight up. I knew it was going to be tough to beat those guys there, especially that track. K-dub, we all know how well he rides, especially at Unadilla. That track really suits his style. It’s rocky. You got to have great throttle control, a lot of just slippery areas. You have to have a lot of technique there. We got back to the Honda rig and Cliff White, he pretty much was the engine tuner there while my tenure at Honda. Love the guy. Got a great relationship with him. Still talk to him. He’s like, “I’m going to tell you right now there’s no way that you were going to beat Kevin at this track against that four-stroke, so don’t beat yourself up too bad.” Because I was pissed. I wanted to win.
I can see Cliff the way he talks, just all quietly and matter-of-factly. Like, “There’s no way you would have beat him Ricky.” And then just walked off.
Exactly. That’s pretty much how it was. Don’t beat yourself up. There was no way you were going to beat him. Why didn’t you tell me that at the beginning? But then fast-forwarding, let’s go to 2005 where I lost two motos. One was at Southwick. I kind of came from the back section. The front section I went over and Reedy ended up winning that moto. Of course the famous one that everyone remembers of me and Stew at Unadilla when he landed on me. I was like, I was so close to almost doing it three times. I won all the overalls, but just won 22 motos. So that really pisses me off, because I’m like dude, really? I couldn’t just hold two more motos?