Interviews by Jason Weigandt, Steve Matthes and Aaron Hansel
Trey Canard, Team Honda Muscle Milk, 2nd in 450SX
When you crossed the finish line, big fist pumps...
I’m sure I’ve said it a thousand times tonight -- that was a win. Physically it wasn’t, but emotionally and everything from January last year to now is just kind of going through your head. Man, I am so thankful to be here tonight. And what a race! I thought it was really a pretty good race.
Yeah. When guys are battling on the last lap for the win, it’s good!
Yeah! I thought the last five laps I was really going to just keep that effort in and be able to pull it all the way through, but I just haven’t raced in a long time. I’ve just got to remember that next time if I’m in that position.
On the last lap what was running through your mind? Do you feel you rode as fast on the last lap as the lap before? Did Millsaps just step it up? What happened there?
No, I messed up. I really did. The last lap was a terrible lap. I’m sure it shows in the lap times and everything. That was a disappointment, but I can not be bummed one bit. This is huge for me.
It was like a dream. Usually I’m a pretty serious guy on race day but all day today there was just a big smile on my face. I know I say this and I’m sure you guys are maybe tired of it, but I am so thankful to be here. I just can’t express that enough.
And during the race when you were just thinking at one point, “I can win this!”
I was thinking to myself, 'Am I really in 2nd right now?'
It had to be, again, kind of surreal - “I can win this.”
It was very surreal. I didn’t even know what to think. But, man, I tell you, I’m so grateful for it. It’s going to be interesting this year.
I’m sure I’ve said it a thousand times tonight -- that was a win. Physically it wasn’t, but emotionally and everything from January last year to now is just kind of going through your head." - Trey Canard
Simon Cudby photo
Ryan Dungey, Red Bull KTM, 3rd in 450SX
How was it?
It was good. I think Anaheim 1 was a good start to the season. I think all-in-all, no big mistakes and leaving here with a podium finish feels great. It’s been a great off-season, like I said in the press conference. We had some new components on the bike that really worked good tonight, too. I think we can obviously just kind of keep trying to improve things if we can, but just kind of keep consistent and keep building from here.
People would think last year was the new bike so now you’re just rolling along. But actually tonight you had new stuff again.
Yeah. It’s funny because after the motocross season we tried some new components on the bike and I’m like, 'Sweet - this is great!' And then that came about and it was like a whole other level -- the air shock was definitely interesting. And like I’ve said to others, the process is really young with it but I feel like it’s got a lot of potential and the time we do have on it, the couple months that we do have, everything came really easy. I think there are some bugs that we can keep working out -- small things, fine-tuning -- but other than that it feels great.
Did you have a crash back there somewhere?
I tipped over in the corner on lap 15. When I got to lap 10 I kind of had enough of the cat-and-mouse, hanging in fourth. I really wanted to make a push. I was trying but it was tough to make up ground. I ended up knifing the front in a corner.
Did you feel you were in a good spot? Were you thinking “I can win this?”
Well, to be honest, sitting in fourth, I’m like, 'it’s right there. Go get it.' That was a little bit the tough part, just seeing the guys right there and trying to make a push but then getting behind the guy and making a mistake and dropping back. It was a little bit of my fault but I’m not disappointed at all. It’s a great way to start the season. I’m excited.
And when you went down over there, did that have anything to do with getting held up by Matt Lemoine?
It was a little funky. It wasn’t his fault. He started cross-rutting in the whoops so it did get a little bit crazy and I think he tried to stop for the inside rut and then I couldn’t see the front end where I was at and that’s when I tucked it. But it wasn’t his fault; it was my fault.
"When I got to lap 10 I kind of had enough of the cat-and-mouse, hanging in fourth. I really wanted to make a push. I was trying but it was tough to make up ground." - Ryan Dungey
Simon Cudby photo
Ken Roczen, Red Bull KTM, 2nd in 250SX
It was the first race of the year, and there was big hype about it. Honestly, I just wanted to get it done. I had a good heat race, I won that, and in that main event I had a good jump but then I hit neutral, which set me back. But after that first-turn pileup I found myself in third place and rode around. I cased that quad once pretty bad and hurt my wrist a little bit, and I was riding a little tight. It’s the first race, and it’s all about consistency, and I don’t even think that’s going to be enough. We’ll definitely have to fight for that win. But the first race is done, and after watching the 450s, I’m glad that I ended up in second place. It could have been better, but it could have been worse! I’m definitely giving my best at the next races.
When you were in second place and you could still see Eli Tomac ahead of you, were you pushing hard to get him, or were you just trying to keep it together at the first race?
Oh for sure, keeping it under control and not crashing is one of the most important things! Like I said, I rode a little tight, and once you’re there, you don’t want to ride too hard and possibly mess things up. It was okay the way it was, and we’ll definitely have to fight for that win, there’s no doubt about that.
Cole Seely, Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Honda, 3rd in 250SX Class
First race back. Are you happy with that?
Yeah, very happy. It’s Anaheim, it’s my first race back. Super nervous coming in. Qualified, like, 12th, which is horrible. I consider myself one of the top guys, so 12th is not good. But I’ve never been a good practicer, even at our test track, here … no matter where we are. But something about as soon as I’m on the gate something clicks and I’m able to work with my adrenaline.
Was it all nerves? Was that the whole problem early in the day?
I think it was. I haven’t raced in so long and I was really just rusty. And everything that goes into Anaheim 1 built up on top of everything with my first race coming back was pretty crazy. I’m just glad to get through the night.
"I haven’t raced in so long and I was really just rusty. And everything that goes into Anaheim 1 built up on top of everything with my first race coming back was pretty crazy." - Cole Seely
Simon Cudby photo
Jake Weimer, Monster Energy Kawasaki, 5th in 450SX Class
The day started out rough, so it’s a good starting point to get fifth. There’s work to be done but it definitely could have been a lot worse, like Ryan [Villopoto]. It’s a building point. I have a little better idea on what I need to work on, and we’ll go to work.
Was it just nerves at the beginning of the day?
I think so. The off-season, you’re training and doing everything to get ready, and you come out and you just want to tear it up and be killing it. I think just mentally I wasn’t quite in the right spot to do that. I just was maybe a little nervous or anxious or whatever. It just didn’t quite gel in practice but it got better and better as the night went on.
Did you do some battling in the main? Eventually you moved up. Were you on your own basically?
Not really. Pretty much. I was a little ways behind Chad and he kind of inched me in the beginning. And then at the end I think he was just cruising and I was kind of inching back on him, but I think he was just cruising at that point. But then Barcia had gone down so I got around him, but after he had gone down. I mean, not really any battling, no. I was pretty much by myself.
Kevin Windham, GEICO Honda, 10th in 450SX Class
My goal was to ride steady for 20 laps. And it's hard to be competitive when all you're trying to do is not crash and bust your ass. I mean, the last time I really raced was March of 2012. And I look at Canard, and the adversity he's been through, breaking his back and all of that crazy stuff, and being able to get on the podium. Everyone knows that's been my Achillies heel—over thinking things. And that's what I've been doing, over thinking things. I've been having thoughts about, 'I need to make it to 2014, I need to stop crashing.' And that's all I was focused on tonight, and in a field like this, I don't think you can do any better than a tenth riding like that. So I talked to my team and I said, 'I'm having real thoughts of hanging it up.' And they said, “Hey, you're making good points.” And I thought of it that way, and realized I am building some momentum here. Seems kind of weird after 19 years that I'd have to build momentum, but, I almost feel like the age almost intensifies that. I know why I'm here, and I know why I'm not here, and that's not crashing! So it was good to get through it.
I'd be very surprised to see if you lap times varied much all night.
Oh yeah, I was just slow all night! And when you're going slow like that, man, you can ride forever and hold those lap times!
[Laughs] Some of us can!
Yeah, I haven't looked at lap times yet, but none of that stuff mattered to me. Some of the guys, they're all full of piss and vinegar, and they're like, “Man I want to win, I'm awake, what can I eat, what can I do better, how can I train harder?” I'm the complete opposite of that. I've got four kids, I've got gym businesses I'm working on, I don't want to get hurt ... it makes it hard to come to a clear decision. But everyone keeps saying I made good points tonight. And I don't think I'm ready to leave yet. I don't want to look back and regret that 19th season and 20th season, and wish I had raced them. But at the same time, I need to not crash for awhile, so this was good. And I'll be in Phoenix.
"So I talked to my team and I said, 'I'm having real thoughts of hanging it up.' And they said, “Hey, you're making good points.” And I thought of it that way, and realized I am building some momentum here." - Kevin Windham
Simon Cudby photo
Matt Goerke, Team BTOSports.com KTM, 12th in 450SX
I'm happy. I started the day off so nervous, I was just riding tight all day. The main, I didn't get the greatest start, I should have started more inside than I did in the heat, because they're more fast guys there. But I rode alright, I mean, there are a lot of guys here! My bike is great, I feel good, I didn't ride my best tonight and I almost got top ten, which was my goal, so that's good. I mean, I've been practicing hard for the last three months, and I made more mistakes tonight than I did the entire last three months.
Mitch Payton, Team Owner, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki (Rattray 8th, Baggett 14th, Davalos 20th in 250SX)
Everyone has been riding good at the test track, and I expected everyone to get good starts here. There was a little bit of a melee there. (Jessy) Nelson landed partially on Blake, on his wrist, he's got some jabs on his arm, and he's got to have that looked at Monday morning. And Martin was hit by another rider, it smashed the pipe shut and broke the crossover tube on his radiator, so he was done. And Tyla got a bad start. It's a long series and everyone is going to have a bad night, and I hope that tonight is our only bad night.
Mike Alessi, MotoConcepts, 20th in 450SX
I know the finish was not what we wanted, but practice was good, my bike setup felt on point. Heat race was good and going into the main I felt good. I didn't get a good start, and when you're back in the pack riding with guys, it's just mayhem. Had a tuff block knocked in front of me right before the finish line jump, and I still tried to jump the finish line jump. I jumped completely sideways and just high sided on the landing, pretty much completely bent my bars down. So that was it. But I'm taking some positives out of this. My bike was working good, I felt good, but you have to get good starts right now.
Jeremy Albrecht, Team Manager, JGR/Toyota MX, (Brayton 9th and Grant 11th in 450SX)
I thought Brayton rode great for being hurt, and I saw flashes of Grant that I think are going to work out really great. But he rode tight all day. I think it was one of those Anaheim things, he came in here really wanting to do well, and putting a lot of pressure on himself to do well, and he just rode tight.
Looks like Davi Millsaps just needed to break away from JGR to win a race?
[Laughs] Well, I wanted to crack on his [old mechanic] Ben and say, “I guess he just needed a real mechanic” as a joke, so I can see why you'd say that. He rode great. I saw a Davi I haven't seen much. He got passed, he fought back. You want to pat him on the back for a ride like that. He rode awesome!
We'd heard that Josh Grant was flying at the Yamaha track.
Yes, he honestly has been riding great. But you know how Anaheim 1 is, he did not ride like he can.
Where did Brayton do his thumb in?
He crashed in the sand in practice. It swelled up, but he's actually done it before with us and has been able to deal with it. I told him no riding this week, and he'll be back next week.
"Obviously from a night like this, there’s going to be progress next week. The main thing I need to work on is the starts and get up front in the beginning." - Broc Tickle
Simon Cudby photo
Travis Baker, Valli Motorsports Yamaha, 15th in 250SX
It wasn’t the greatest race, but I learned a lot tonight. I started out pretty good and stayed in about sixth until about lap ten. Then I made a couple mistakes, got passed and went down. That’s where it went bad. I ended up in fifteenth, but I’ll take the positives from here and go to work next week and work on the things that I struggled with and be ready for Phoenix.
How’d you go down?
Before a jump I got a little cross-rutted in a rut and went down. I couldn’t start my bike right away, and when I finally did the group I was in was gone.
Yeah, there was like eight of you guys all battling over sixth.
I didn’t really know that, but that’s what everyone was saying. I heard it was a pretty good battle.
First race back on the Yamaha. How was it?
It was good! The track tonight is quite a bit different than our test track. It was tackier, whereas our tracks are a little dry, slippery and hard. But we adapted pretty good. We changed a couple things in between practices. I felt pretty good and as the day went on it got better and I’m excited for next week.
Speaking of the track, how was it for passing?
You had to be pretty aggressive with your passes. I actually enjoyed the track. There were a couple different lines where you could make passes, but you definitely had to be aggressive. But I think with how fast everyone is going you kind of have to be aggressive anyway.
Broc Tickle, RCH Racing, 18th in 450SX
Today, at the big A1, I don’t know, it was all right. The main event didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. I didn’t get the greatest starts, but I feel like I had the speed and there were certain things that I was really good at. I’ve been working hard, so it’s hard to accept a bad night but it is what it is. I crashed in the main because a tuff block got knocked in front of me.
Was that a result of Ryan Villopoto going down in front of you?
Yeah. He hit a couple of them and knocked them out pretty much in the middle of the track, and his bike was in the middle of the track. I’m just looking forward to next week. Obviously from a night like this, there’s going to be progress next week. The main thing I need to work on is the starts and get up front in the beginning. That way it’s a lot easier to hang up there. In practice I was ninth, but there was five or six of us that were within half a second, so that can change with a good start.
You’ve been riding the bike for a while now. How’d you get along with it in your first race?
We made a few little changes today, but there was nothing bad. I’m really happy with the way we have everything right now. We’re in a good place, and the bike is not a problem, I can tell you that! I’m happy with the bike, and it’s only going to get better from here on out.