Thursday
Apr192018

Jeffery Herlings Taking Control?

Discussion: Jeffrey Herlings

Monday, 16th April 2018 · 6 min read

Jeffrey Herlings has really taken control of the premier division in recent weeks, thanks to some small changes that have eliminated his weaknesses. Starts, pit-board messages, battling with Antonio Cairoli, a positive act and much more are all discussed in this chat from the Grand Prix of Portugal. This interview was originally posted as a post-race podcast.

MX Vice: Perfect day, really. I don't know what more we can say. It did not really seem like you put a foot wrong all weekend.

Jeffrey Herlings: No, it has been actually really good. It feels like we got our starts more dialled in. Got second twice and the pole also first moto. So, that was really decent and the riding. I felt great on the bike. I felt great on the track. It was a picture perfect weekend almost. Same in Arco di Trento. Let’s keep going like this, I would say.

Jeffrey Herlings currently leads the MXGP standings by sixteen points (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

I know you said yesterday that you struggled with line choice to begin with, just figuring it out on the first couple of laps. Was that harder today; leading from the front, not being able to watch anyone else and see what others were doing?

I felt like the second moto was good regarding my line choice, but the first moto I was struggling. After the moto I checked. My team made some videos and I checked like, dude, you are using bad lines my man! Bad lines. So then I felt like I was not riding good, but it was still enough to win. The first moto I could really control, because Tony [Cairoli] had to come from tenth place or something.

I knew Tim [Gajser] and [Gautier] Paulin were behind, but I knew they were a little bit less of a risk than Tony. I could just basically do my own thing. Coming back to your question, I think the Saturday I was having a tough time, same first moto because there were so many line options because of the track being so spongy, but the second moto I was good.

Speaking of that first race, watching your team, it kind of looked like they were worried that you were going to settle too much. Every lap they were kind of telling you to pick up the pace. I noticed that on the start in the second race they put on the board that you needed an eight-second gap immediately. Was that just their way of motivating you and making sure that you kept the intensity high?

Yeah. I felt like the track was capable of doing that second moto. The first moto the dirt was spongier and more wet, so second moto I felt like I was going to be able to really attack the track. I felt good. They always want me to put a little gap so in case if I go down or whatsoever. I went down the second moto after four or five laps and I at least had a small gap to afford a crash [and make sure] that I can still go out first. Just so I am a little safer.

Was that what happened in the second race then, on like lap three just after the finish? You lost like five seconds or whatever? Was that a crash?

Yeah. From the dirt what came up, there were some stones in-between. I just landed and there was just one stone in the line, then my front wheel went over the line. It was two lines together and I opened, whiskey throttle. I was like "yup, yard saled it."

Herlings only had one holeshot across the entire season a year ago (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

I know obviously starts are a big thing now. You led every lap in the first moto and then pretty much in the second race as well. From your perspective, is winning a race like that more rewarding or can you get more from starting fifth and working your way forward. You kind of earn it a little more, maybe?

No, I like it way more this way. Just give me a good start and preferably a holeshot and let me do it this way. I like it way better.

Speaking of starts, I spoke to Dirk last week and he kind of filled us in on the light and what’s going on with that. Is that the only part you got? It seems kind of simple that it just took a light to fix your starts.

Yeah, obviously I was not capable of getting the same RPM what was actually needed to pull a good start. When I was alone I could do it, but when there is like twenty-nine bikes next to me, for example, I could not hear my own bike. Then I was either too high or too low with the RPMs. Now the team made a great job and just put on some lights, so I can see that I am in the right RPM zone and since then it got better.

Do you even feel more confident just sat on the gate? Are you sat there now knowing that you can holeshot whenever?

Yeah, basically I just have to drop the clutch. I get the right RPMs, lean to the front and drop the clutch. They got it made pretty easy to me for now, but it is not that easy. To get the good start is one thing, but you have to keep doing it over and over and that is not going to be easy. The rest will also improve.

A familiar sight for a lot of the competitors in the MXGP class (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Obviously, Tony kind of changed his strategy in the second race and went next to you on the line. Did you think anything of that? It kind of reminded me of the old Ferrandis days a little bit, trying to get next to you and squeeze you out into the first turn?

Yeah – that is what he did. He went over the gate and actually had a better jump. I almost dropped over just before the gate dropped, because it took longer than I expected it to be, so I was hesitating. Then I got out of balance and then I almost tipped over, so I was in the right RPM but was just out of balance and he just got his handlebar in front of me. He cut me off a bit, but I probably would have done the same.

I wanted to talk to you about this last week, but obviously you had a flight to catch. I heard about something you did with another rider in time practice? Someone was down under their bike and you stopped, got their bike off them or whatever. You obviously have a lot of haters, so I feel like people would probably like to hear that story.

Yeah, because people don’t know I have got a good heart! Some rider was down and people just kept getting past him, but I was just on a slow lap. I was not on the heater so I was just like, come on. The guy’s under his exhaust, under his bike, and I was like somebody has got to help him. The flag marshal was just looking at him. I was like, all right. I'll do it!

Finally, a little break now. I ask you this all the time. Anything you need to fix? Anything you want to do? Is it just perfect for the moment?

For the moment it is pretty perfect. I still want to keep working on my starts, but I think regarding fitness and speed I’m on a good level. Can we improve? Yeah, we can always improve, but also bike-wise I feel great on the bike. The team did a great job over the winter with testing and whatever. They keep coming with good things and improvements. I’m very happy. The only thing I can do is just keep going and doing what I’m doing right now.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer

Thursday
Apr192018

2018 Red Fox National Enduro

Steward Baylor extended his lead in the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series championship standings by taking a solid win in extremely challenging conditions at this weekend’s FMF Red Fox National Enduro near Lynnville, Indiana.

Thursday
Apr192018

2018 Glen Helen IOTMX

Race 2 of the 2018 International Old Timers MX at Glen Helen

Fortunately the trip down from Northern CA to Glen Helen was mostly a North to South trip and I had a tail wind most of the way, the wind was bad. With a total vehicle length of 38 feet when I went West to East I was a sail in the wind.

I arrived Friday morning and the wind was still blowing from the North with big time gusts, which meant lot’s of blowing dust. Riding practice was sketchy you didn’t dare get off the ground. I did once and it blew me sideways and I automatically put my foot down and promptly tweaked my ankle and knee. They changed the configuration of the track a little bit and added some more sand sections, which were challenging. Overall I liked the track layout and I think most everyone else did as well.

 

Saturday morning was a different story; the winds were calm the day sunny and the racing was good. I was able to extent my personal win streak to 24 motos. (A sham less plug on my part) But not without problems my trusty Husky started giving me grief again. It started stalling again (Read part 3 on my Husky) I thought I had finally found the cure, evidently not. The idle was turned up a bit I thought but that turned out to be a lot and that began to mess with the TPS setting and the bike felt like it had an air leak. In this configuration it started pushing me into corners and scaring the shit out of me. I lowered the idle and that cured that but it still stalled a couple of times, back to the drawing board, again.

After the races a lot of people filed into the large hall for bench racing, tacos, raffles and the suppercross races.

Sunday morning was a little overcast and a slight breeze, perfect for racing. There are always dozens and dozens of stories that happen at any race and this one was no different.

Mike a friend of mine bought a 2018.5 KTM 450 Factory Replica (Formerly known as a Dungey Replica) moved up in age class and promptly got his ass kicked by another rider who had recently done the same. To be fair the two of them were way ahead of the third place rider. But had I not reminded him he would have once again forgotten to turn in his transponder. The last time he did this he earned the famous Eric McKenna “Fish Award” which he still has by the way from the last time he forgot. Another friend had his first race in thirty four months and was so wound up the whole weekend it was hard to be around him. It’s kind of disgusting to be around someone who has that much energy.

Another friend Kerry showed up with leaky air forks on his KTM made trips to LA to see if he could get them fixed all to no avail, but was saved by Craig who just happened to have a spare bike with him that had a set of the trick KTM Cone Valve forks which he loaned to Kerry and saved his weekend. Kerry and I seldom find ourselves on the same gate anymore since we are in different classes, but we did this weekend. In the second moto on Saturday and because he tipped over he found himself behind me. I was leading my class and behind the guy leading Kerry’s class. Kerry was desperate to get around me and go after the leader. (Kerry was also trying to keep his own winning streak alive) As he tells it, he just knew I would roll over and wilt under his pressure. Numerous times he was so close to me (And his bike was so quiet) I didn’t see him or hear him I finally made a little bobble a couple of turns from the checkered flag and he got by. He finished 2nd and that was the end of his winning streak. (I wonder if he realizes I had something to do with that. If he reads this maybe I won’t be able to park next to him next weekend.)

Well as they say all good things must come to an end and for me my 24 moto win streak came to an end. I ruled the day on Saturday but bad starts a couple of stalls and difficulty getting around some riders did me in. And on top of that my competitor got the hole shot for our gate both motos on Sunday and rode well deserving the wins.

I also had one crash in the second moto on Sunday which further hampered my progress, a crash of my own doing. (Which most are?) My friend Art and I were on the same gate but in different classes. He suffered with bad starts all weekend so we found ourselves together in both motos on Sunday trying to get around a rider who got better starts then we did but was so squirrely he scared both of us when we were trying to pass him. In the second moto after we both got around him I decided to bonzi past Art on one of the famous Glen Helen down hills. I got by him but had a little too much front brake for the 90 degree right hand turn at the bottom, Art said he was thinking he’s not going to make and I didn’t have to think about anything and hit the ground and my head pretty hard. In that second I thought Art would say something to me as he went by but he said he was too busy trying to avoid running over me. That rung my bell and took me a couple of laps get my senses back.

All in all it was a great weekend for most everyone. It’s a short week because this weekend is the 3rd race of the season at Fernley, NV.

Doug 21J

 

 

Wednesday
Apr182018

Top 5 Motorcycle Parts and Mods for Off-Road Racing 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr172018

2018 Merzouga Rally

Benavides wins the second stage from Quintanilla, Barreda leads overall after two stages of the 2018 Merzouga Rally. 

 

Argentinean Kevin Benevides was the fastest rider in the Merzouga Rally at the end of stage two. After winning the prologue, Benevides had an error-free second stage to move into second place overall, behind team-mate Joan Barreda. 

“I felt very good today, I went out to attack." Said Benevides after the stage. "I saw the riders in front and over the final kilometres of dunes I wanted to attack but something made me think about not forcing and not risking to finish the stage safe.”

The short 175.3km timed special of stage two of the Merzouga Rally saw riders head into the desert east of the small town of Merzouga. The route was made up of two loops, separated by a 15-minute neutralisation. Comprising a mixture of dunes and faster tracks, the stage still required careful navigation in order to post a good time. 

 

Rally World Champion third overall

Pablo Quintanilla also enjoyed a mistake-free timed special to come home in second. Reaching the leading riders after the halfway mark, the reigning Cross-Country Rallies World Champion sits third overall. 

 

Pablo Quintanilla Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Enduro21 560

 

“We had a very early start this morning and in the first dunes it was difficult to see if another rider was in front.” Said Quintanilla.  

“Around the 120km mark I caught the leading group of riders and continued to open the tracks for the remainder of the special stage. I made no mistakes and felt fast from start to finish. My navigation was also on point and this is crucial in such conditions.”

 

Price recovers from day one errors

Toby Price kept his head down after the early start and concentrated, keen to not repeat the navigation errors he made on Monday’s stage one. At the finish, Price posted the third fastest time, just over three-minutes down on the leader.

 

Toby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2018 Merzouga Rally Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Marcin Kin

 

“It was a good day today, especially after having such a tough day yesterday.” Said the former Dakar winner, Price. 

“I just nailed each section and tried not to make the same mistakes as yesterday. After making a mistake like yesterday, you lose confidence in your road book, so today was all about building that confidence up again and getting a solid result.”

Tomorrow, rally stage three, sees the start of the marathon stage – two days riding without overnight assistance – which will feature a 63-kilometre liaison and a 239.21-kilometre special stage against the clock. Riders will spend the night camped at the foot of the dunes and will receive no mechanical assistance.

 

2018 Merzouga Rally – Stage 2 Classification 

  1. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 02:41:54 
  2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 02:44:10 
  3. Toby Price (KTM) 02:45:35 
  4. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 02:49:36 
  5. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 02:50:04 
  6. Joan Barreda (Honda) 02:50:11
Tuesday
Apr172018

2018 Red Fox National Enduro 

Steward Baylor takes a solid win in extremely challenging conditions at the Red Fox National Enduro near Lynnville, Indiana  round three of the 2018 AMA National Enduro series. 

Baylor managed to stay out of trouble to claim the overall victory by a 28-second margin over FMF KTM Factory rider Josh Toth, Thad Duvall fought through to third after starting way down the order. 

 

Tuesday
Apr172018

SCOTT VISION SERIES – EPISODE 7 – Justin Barcia 

Justin Barcia is no stranger to the whirlwind of change and obstacles being a professional motocross athlete can bring. After experiencing both highs and lows as a factory rider, Bam Bam taps into his amateur roots for a rejuvenation in both his racing and lifestyle.

Tuesday
Apr172018

Cairoli - The Fighter

 

Bruised and battered from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Portugal, nine-time world motocross champion Antonio Cairoli will be seething. He knows that this 2018 GP season might be his toughest to date. He knows that speed wise the young lion Jeffrey Herlings might have his number, but if there is one thing about Antonio Cairoli, it is that he is a fighter, and the word, give up, or quit, isn’t in his vocabulary.

Time and time again 222 has turned up, and given his all, fought against the odds of injury in 2015 and 2016, and returned in 2017 as a different rider. Better than that young kid who won his first world motocross championship in 2005, back when he was just 19 years old, better than the rider who dominated the world in 2012, winning his sixth world championship and dominated the Americans and Herlings at Lommel with 1-1 results, and in my opinion the 2018 version of AC is better than the 2017 version.

If you ask Antonio Cairoli, he can still get better, can still find some extra speed and can 100% be a 10 times world motocross champion, and I for one, don’t doubt his desire and destination in the motocross history books.

Cairoli-and-Febvre.jpg#asset:6736

While we all marvel at the performances of Jeffrey Herlings in 2018, and for that matter also at the end of 2017, it might be reminded, that defending MXGP champion Antonio Cairoli is still, very much in the mix. The Sicilian legend is just 16 points behind Herlings in the championship points, and as we have all seen in the past, Cairoli knows how to win world championships, even when it seems his chances are slim.

He has handled the likes of Clement Desalle and Gautier Paulin in the past, two riders who have been at the very top of our sport for more than a decade. Paulin a multiple MXoN moto winner, and Desalle with a stack of GP victories to his name.

While it might seem that Herlings is presently the man to beat, you can be sure Cairoli is working harder than ever to find a way to match the Dutchman. If you look at how far Cairoli is beating everyone, apart from Herlings, then it is clear he has already picked up his pace from 2017, a season he himself admitted was Antonio Cairoli at his very best.

I have written the Italian off before, and for sure I won’t be doing that again, despite being a massive Jeffrey Herlings fan.

Cairoli-face_180326_105203.jpg#asset:5905

I still remember 2011, and the year it looked like finally, Desalle had found the momentum to uncrown Cairoli. The Belgian started the season with victory in Bulgaria, going 2-1 and Cairoli struggled. Round after round Desalle reeled off GP wins, in America going 1-1, and Portugal also 1-1, but Cairoli wasn’t going away, and after that round in Portugal, Cairoli fought back, winning in Spain, and closing the points lead of Desalle to a single point.

Cairoli would score GP wins in Latvia (1-1), Belgium (1-1), before Desalle would win in Czech Republic (2-1), but with the weight of the world on his shoulder and the points race starting to favour the Italian, Desalle excited the race and season with an injury.

A round later in England, Cairoli would win again, with a 3-1 GP victory, and then a round later in Gaildorf, Germany, he was crowned world motocross champion for the fifth time in his career, and equal the tally of motocross legends, Roger De Coster, Georges Jobe, Joel Smets and Eric Geboers.

Great champions usually find that extra bit of speed, that extra bit of motivation, and that extra bit of dedication to once again rise from the ashes of defeat. Antonio Cairoli, a rider many feel is the greatest Grand Prix rider of all time, shouldn’t be written off, and you do so at your own peril.

2018 is going to be tough, tougher than ever, but if you had to bet your house on Antonio Cairoli coming through, then it isn't a bad bet to make.

Ray Archer images

Sunday
Apr082018

Herlings Tops Trentino!!

Herlings Perfect in Italy

Posted on April 08, 2018

 

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings has scored his 70th GP victory, by winning the Grand Prix of Trentino in the MXGP class with 1-1 results. The Dutchman used good starts and his blistering speed to dominate the weekend and continue KTMs domination of the MXGP and MX2 classes.

Herlings regained the red plate and now leads Cairoli by 10 points in the MXGP series points (191 to 181) as they head to Portugal for round five next weekend.

The orange army have now won every single GP in both classes, and only lost one race from the 16 run, with their little sister, Husqvarna getting a moto win today with Thomas Covington.

 "Second out of the start in the qualification race, holeshot from the first moto and second out of the start in the second moto. I am so glad we could put it together this weekend.  I am so grateful to the KTM team."

Second overall was Desalle, Clement with 2-3 results and third Antonio Cairoli with 4-2 scores.      

Herling is just getting better and better as he took victory in the opening MXGP race at the Grand Prix of Trentino. The Dutchman took the lead on the first corner and commanded the race from the front. Giving the opposition no chance to challenge his lead he eventually won by around 10 seconds.

"That was awesome and the right moment," Herlings said. "This track is difficult to pass. Hopefully another good start in the second moto. I am looking forward to the second moto and hopefully another start like that."

Antonio Cairoli did well to come through after a horrible first couple of laps where he went from fourth to eight, but fought back to fourth in the end.

Herlings took the holeshot from Febvre, Desalle, Cairoli, Gajser, Paturel, Coldenhoff, Liebr, Seewer and Nagl 10th. Gajser passed Cairoli and Paturel also went past the Italian. Cairoli in all sorts of trouble as Seewer and Coldenhoff also went past.

As Herlings looks in control up front, Cairoli struggled to pass Coldenhoff. Desalle moved past Febvre, and Paulin into 10th.

Desalle not letting Herlings get away as the gap remained at around two seconds after four laps, and Cairoli working over-time to get past Seewer, which he did on lap four.

Cairoli moved past Paturel, and went after Gajser who was four seconds ahead. After seven laps it was Herlings, Desalle, Febvre, Gajser, Cairoli, Paturel, Seewer, Paulin, Coldenhoff, and Lieber in 10th.

Paulin on a charge as he went past both Seewer and Paturel, and moved into sixth place. Seewer dropped back to ninth as Coldenhoff also passed him.

Desalle riding well, and after eight laps the lead of Herlings was just 1.4 seconds. Febvre in third was six seconds back from the leader. Herlings though turned it up a notch, just as he does mid-race and gapped Desalle by 2.6 on lap nine.

Paturel obviously feeling his lack of bike time dropped to 14th place as a handful of riders went past and Cairoli was getting closer to Gajser.

Lap 11 and Herlings moved to nearly four seconds ahead of Desalle, who was riding a lonely second place, then came Febvre, Gajser, Cairoli, Paulin, Coldenhoff, Seewer, Lieber and Simpson. Cairoli soon after moved past Gajser for fourth place.

13 laps and Herlings was putting on the speed as the lead went to six and a half seconds. 

Herlings wins it from Desalle, Febvre and Cairoli.

Cairoli took the holeshot in the second moto, and was followed by Herlings and Coldenhoff, then came Paturel, Desalle, Van Horebeek, Desprey, Paulin, Febvre and Lupino.

Cairoli was on it and trying to make a break, but Herling was coming. Herlings hounded Cairoli and then made a nice block pass on the Italian. Cairoli tried to slow and block Herlings, but the 2018 version of Herlings isn’t tricked by those tactics anymore.

After three laps it was Herlings, Cairoli, Coldenhoff, Desalle, Paturel, Van Horebeek, Paulin, Desprey, Febvre, and Seewer.

Just as it looked like Herlings would get away, Cairoli came back and was on the Dutchmans back wheel. While Herlings and Cairoli were playing up front, Coldenhoff and Desalle were also in a nice little battle. Desalle moving into third place on lap five.

Top ten after five laps was Herlings, Cairoli, Desalle, Coldenhoff, Van Horebeek, Paulin, Febvre, Desprey, Seewer and Paturel.

Gotta hand it to Cairoli, he is still finding more speed at the twilight of his career, but its still Herlings in command. Third placed Desalle 10 seconds back and Gajser moved into 10th place on lap eight.

After 11 laps it was Herlings by three seconds from Cairoli, then Desalle, Coldenhoff, Van Horebeek, Paulin, Febvre, Seewer, Gajser and Desprey.

Herlings wins it from Cairoli and Desalle.

Ray Archer image

MXGP - Overall Classification

1             84           Herlings, Jeffrey NED       KNMV    KTM       25           25           50

2             25           Desalle, Clement              BEL        FMB       KAW      22           20 42

3             222        Cairoli, Antonio  ITA         FMI        KTM       18           22           40

4             461        Febvre, Romain FRA        FFM       YAM       20           14           34

5             259        Coldenhoff, Glenn            NED       KNMV    KTM       14           18   32

6             21           Paulin, Gautier   FRA        MCM     HUS       15           16           31

7             243        Gajser, Tim         SLO        AMZS     HON      16           13           29

8             89           Van Horebeek, Jeremy   BEL        FMB       YAM       11           15  26

9             91           Seewer, Jeremy SUI         FMS       YAM       13           11           24

10           141        Desprey, Maxime             FRA        FFM       KAW      9      

Tuesday
Apr032018

MIKE BROWN TALKS

MXA INTERVIEW: MIKE BROWN TALKS ABOUT LIFE, RACING & AGE

 

Growing up, motocross has always been a passion of mine. We’re talking pajamas, movies, autographed posters from the pro’s, video games, a moto themed bedroom and on any given afternoon after school–you would find my little brother and I in the backyard replicating the past weekends Supercross tracks for our toy bikes. I mean really, the list could go on and on. That being said, the one toy that my brother and I would always fight over was the 2001 “Hot Wheels” Moto-X Mike Brown Pro Circuit KX125 action figure. We both were die hard Mike Brown fans and every weekend, we’d cheer him on. Fast forwarded to today, I still get a little giddy when I spot my childhood hero out riding, so, when I had the opportunity to catch up with Mike Brown at the “World Two-Stroke Championships” over the weekend at Glen Helen of course I took it. 

By Spencer Owens

FIRST OF ALL MIKE, WHAT’VE YOU BEEN UP TO? Just a little bit of everything really. Leading up to this I’ve been doing a lot of riding schools back home. I’m still traveling doing a lot races in Europe and South America. I’m still involved with Husky as their brand ambassador so I’m doing a lot of events for them, and just this week I’ve been out here doing some photo shoots with FXR before the Two-Stroke race. I’ve been traveling a lot.

YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU’RE STILL WORKING WITH HUSQVARNA AS THEIR BRAND AMBASSADOR. WHAT OTHER EVENTS WILL WE BE SEEING YOU AT THIS YEAR? Well, racing wise–just two weeks ago I was up in Canada for the Calgary Arenacross with the FXR guys. Presently we are here at Glen Helen for the Two-Stroke World Championships, next weekend I will be down in Argentina for some Enduro-cross before coming home for a few weeks. After that, I’m headed to Gorman, California, for some brand ambassador duties at the “Babes and Dirt” event, and I will be in Hawaii putting on a couple of motocross schools. After that I’ll be getting ready for Lorretta’s and the Vet MX Des Nations in England later this year. I’m really having fun with it, and I enjoy it more now because there’s not as much pressure.

 

I THINK HAVING FUN IS DEFINITELY A KEY IN THIS SPORT, AND YOU SEEM TO BE DOING IT RIGHT. TALK TO ME ABOUT HOW THINGS WERE IN CANADA. It’s going great. It’s really laid back compared to the motocross Nationals, and being with the FXR guys while I’m there is a big plus. I get no pressure from those guys–they provide me with top quality gear to race in, I have a great bike from the guys at Husqvarna, the tracks are fun, and you can really get a lot of exposure from racing there. For a guy my age it’s sometimes hard to get the right exposure and keeping my name out there, but I think things are really going well and I enjoy racing up there.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR RACING THIS YEAR? To just have fun, really. For me, every time I go on the track I’m there to win, but I have to look at my age and what I’m putting into it. Just to go and race with the top guys is fun. I’m not expected to go out and win, I’m only expected to go out there get good starts, give it my best, and keep the FXR and Husky products out front.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR MX SCHOOLS. This year I have really been pushing my MX schools thanks to my friends at Bonanza Plumbing, who are also helping me out. I enjoy coaching and sharing my knowledge with others. Like I said, in just a few weeks I’ll be heading to Hawaii to do one, so that will be cool. Soon I’ll be putting together an “MX Vacation” program back east in partnership with Husqvarna Motorcycles. Nobody really has anything like that back east, and I’m really looking forward to putting it all together.

LET’S SWITCH THINGS UP A BIT. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH HUSQVARNA? The one thing that has stood out to me is the variety of new bikes that they have in their lineups every year. They have everything from a 2018 two-stroke to a 501 four-stroke. They’re great bikes. I mean, some of these guys out here at Glen Helen today are riding old Honda CR’s, and it feels good to roll up on a 2018 two-stroke that’s been updated over the recent years. Husqvarna is on top right now–so, you know it’s not a bad brand to ride for.

YOU MENTIONED FXR GEAR EARLIER. TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE GEAR. FXR is really coming out with some big changes. It’s very comfortable gear, which is nice. They’re always making changes and they’re never stale with it. They’re constantly improving the quality and product every year and I think that’s the main thing that people look at. Overall, it’s top-quality gear and some of the best I’ve ridden in.

THIS IS THE FAN IN ME, BUT WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE RACE OF YOUR CAREER? Oh, that’s hard. I remember a few two-stroke races back in the day with Ryno (Ryan Hughes) and (Grant) Langston that were great. Obviously racing with Bubba (James Stewart) was always fun too, but honestly as long is it was a good race and we were banging bars, it was a memorable for me.