He had dropped out of college and come to live with me when my dad
passed away. I have so much loyalty to him. Pro Circuit Kawasaki did not
want to bring on another mechanic, and I wanted to bring Brent with me.
That was a huge part of me going to Honda. Another reason was that
Pro Circuit already had Ryan Villopoto, and Geico was pursuing me really
hard. I felt like I would have just been “another person” at Pro Circuit.
Looking back, it would not have been that bad of a deal, but at that point
I wanted to have the attention that a team gives to its lead riders. Since
then, I have gotten to know Mitch, and he is just such a good guy. It is
cool for me to look back 10 years ago and see that I made a great decision. I think I did my mechanic a lot of justice, and I feel good about that.
IN YOUR ROOKIE SEASON YOU WON THE 250 WEST
CHAMPIONSHIP OVER VILLOPOTO. Yes, but it was something that
I did not expect. That is what makes that series so magical for me. I did
not expect to win the championship. I did not expect to even win a race.
But, I had a little catchphrase: “200 percent.” I was going to give 200-per-
cent effort. To be a 17-year-old kid in your first year on the circuit and win
a title was something else. I am so grateful that I was able to do that—
and what a series that was!
“I WAS ON THE INSIDE AND
TRYING TO PASS HIM. IT WAS
TIGHT, BUT I DID NOT GO IN
THERE WITH THE INTENT
TO CLEAN HIS CLOCK. IT IS
UNFORTUNATE IT ENDED THAT
WAY, BUT I HAVE A GOOD, CLEAR
CONSCIENCE ABOUT IT.”
YOU WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE FINAL ROUND WHEN
YOU AND VILLOPOTO COLLIDED. Yes, that was at the last round.
I hear a lot about that one! People can say this or that, but I never had
any intention of taking him out. I would not have touched him if my back
wheel had not slid out. Usually, when you are taking someone out, you
are running into their front wheel or T-boning them. I was on the inside,
trying to pass him. It was tight, but I did not go in there with the intent
to clean his clock. It is unfortunate it ended that way, but I have a good,
clear conscience about it.
TALK MORE ABOUT WINNING THAT FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP
IN YOUR ROOKIE YEAR. Winning the 250 East Coast Supercross
Championship was probably one of the better things for my career, but it
was also probably one of the worst things, because I had a lot of pressure
from that point on. I thought that once I won I should do it again. But,
it was tough, especially my first outdoor season. I broke my femur at the
end of that, and then when I came back and got rolling again in 2009, I
broke my wrist. That first year and a half was really difficult for me. A
femur break is not an easy injury to come back from, and then to add a
wrist injury on top of that was difficult. But, 2010 definitely made up for
any lost time that I had. I would probably call that my best year of racing.
I won a couple of 250 Supercrosses. I was on the podium five times on
the CRF450 filling in for Andrew Short. I won the 250 National Motocross
Championship and was part of the Motocross of Nations team. I started
Supercross rough, but it’s still one of those series that I look back on and
have a lot of thankfulness about.
YOUR FILL-IN TIME ON THE 450 WENT GREAT! The 250
Supercross series got off to a slow start for me. I was a pretty good
chunk of points behind Jake Weimer, who was leading at the time. Then,
Honda was like, “Hey, you know, Andrew Short is hurt. We would love
to see what you can do on the 450.” I was excited; you know, this was
Factory Honda. It was just a cool experience to be a part of the 450 class,
although the first race was a nightmare. I crashed and broke the bike, so I
could not finish the race. But, it was probably good, because my expectations from that point on were really low, so it was amazing. The podiums