plate. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. I’m lucky
that Geico Honda stood behind me by giving me a great
450 race bike in 2014. I did really well my rookie 450 season, getting a fourth and then finishing consistently in the
top seven every weekend. Things started to click, but then
I got hurt pretty badly at the St. Louis Supercross.
WAS IT UNNERVING NOT KNOWING IF YOU
WOULD HAVE A 450 RIDE AFTER CLINCHING THE
250 SUPERCROSS TITLE? The good thing is that Geico
Honda had told me they were behind me the same night I
won the title. They said they would do whatever they had
to in order for me to have a 450 ride. That put my mind
at ease, because I knew I would be on the same brand of
bike and working with the same group of people for 2014.
They told me they couldn’t go beyond a year of support in
the 450 class, because they’re a 250 team, but they gave
me backing to get good results and find another ride for
HOW DID THE MONSTER KAWASAKI FACTORY
DEAL MATERIALIZE FOR 2015? At the time I was a
bit lucky, because I was on the couch injured and couldn’t
ride or test the bike. Still, people were impressed with
what I did my rookie year in 450 Supercross with Geico
Honda before my injury. I ended up getting a really good
deal from Monster Kawasaki. I was stoked. I always
dreamed of being on a factory 450 race team. Initially, I
was starstruck about the whole experience. It was a very
professional effort. The Kawasaki guys worked really hard
and treated me so well. Things didn’t work out the way we
wanted, but it was out of our control. I was under a little
bit of pressure to perform, but I was ready for it. I had put
the time in. Obviously, I had different people paying me—
from gear sponsors to helmet sponsors—that I wanted to
do well for. Things just didn’t work out, though. It wasn’t
for a lack of effort on our part.
WHY ARE SOME RIDERS, LIKE RYAN DUNGEY
AND KEN ROCZEN, ALWAYS ABLE TO BE AT
THEIR BEST? They are so set and tuned into their program. They know how to approach a series. They have an
incredible work ethic and stay off the ground. Those are
the reasons they have the number-one plates. There are
quite a few great riders at the top level, but it is hard to
bridge the gap. Guys like Dungey have been doing it for
years and know exactly what they’re doing.
WHAT ARE THE TOP HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR
CAREER? My first podium is my first really good memory.
That’s when I feel like things started clicking for me. Then
I started stringing together podiums at Troy Lee Designs,
so I expected myself to finish on the box all of the time.
Nothing can replace my first 250 Supercross win in Atlanta
in 2013. It was such a special moment that I’ll never forget.
EXPLAIN YOUR NEW ROLE AT GEICO HONDA.
I’m currently the Amateur team coordinator, which is
essentially part of the team manager role for the Amateur
program. I am also assisting with the Pro bike testing. I’m
learning about the bike and hopefully helping the team
riders make their bikes better, whether it’s through suggestions or even riding the bike. It’s not actually all that different from when I was racing.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR
FANS? I’m so very thankful for the memories and support
through the years. I am lucky enough to have developed
a really good fan base over the years. People seemed to
like me, and I hope I can continue with the fans, only in
a different role. I want to be a great role model and help
the sport grow in different ways. My goal is to bring up
Amateurs and teach them the ropes. If I am part of that,
then it will be very satisfying. ;