Open Mic:  Interviews from Dallas

Open Mic: Interviews from Dallas

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Interview by Steve Matthes, Jason Weigandt and Jordan Roberts

Davi Millsaps, Rockstar Energy Racing, 2nd in 450SX

How’d it go?
It was a good race. I really didn’t know what to expect coming here not really riding all week, being sick and what not. Halfway through the race I could barely breathe. My throat and chest were getting pretty bad. But somehow I pulled the holeshot off and got passed by [Ryan] Villopoto and by [Chad] Reed, all in the first section. It took a while to get by Reed and then did the best I could to stay with Villopoto and keep that gap minimum.

You did; he was like four seconds and then I think it stayed there the whole race.
So I was happy with that. [Ryan] Dungey came, he creeped up the last couple laps on me but I was just pumped to walk away with a second.

The whoops were where you did some damage here. Did you feel good through there?
Yeah, I didn’t really care. There was seriously one lap behind Reed that I totally forgot that I was in them. I kind of brain farted and I just kept it pinned. I’m not going to lie to you. I entered them and then I was going through them and I looked at Reed, and I totally forgot I was in the whoops.

Wasn’t there once an ad with you and Travis Pastrana going through whoops looking at each other? Was it like that?
That was in 2005. Yeah, something like that.

Just like a straightaway.
It was weird. It was a weird feeling.

But whoops I feel like used to be your strong point coming through the ranks. Do you feel like you’re back to that now? Do you look forward to that section of the track now and think, here’s where I can have an advantage?
Sometimes. To me, they don’t bother me. Everyone has to go through them, so I’m just going to do the best I can to go faster.

As far as the east coast thing, are you back home now? Are you in Georgia now?
No. I got back after Atlanta.

Will that make things even better for you, you think?
I think so because it’s going to change it up for me, give me something else to ride. I just built a brand new track so it’s something a little bit different, different dirt. Just to see how everything works over there. Looking forward to just getting back to being able to ride at my own place and make sure everything’s good on my own and stuff. – Jason Weigandt

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"Halfway through the race I could barely breathe. My throat and chest were getting pretty bad." - Davi Millsaps
Simon Cudby photo

Ryan Dungey, Red Bull KTM, 3rd in 450SX

It was a good day. I think the cool thing was starting it all out, all three practices we never made a change on the bike. The setting felt good. I felt comfortable. We did make a tire change going into the second practice because we were expecting the track to get pretty hard, and it did.

It got harder throughout the day?
It did. And it was actually kind of even tougher because they worked the track with the pebbles and everything. So they worked the track for the main and everything like that so the pebbles were a little loose, but once that kind of got cleared the main line got pretty decent. All in all it was good. I kind of got a fourth place start there in the main and then things kind of settled into a groove. The passing was very hard on this track but I was behind Chad and the laps were winding down. I was able to kind of sneak it up in there. It ended up being a little aggressive but it wasn’t intentional by any means. But at the same time we were able to almost make the pass on Davi, too, and got pretty close. But he was riding really good tonight, Villopoto too. They rode a good race, and I just came in third which is good. Things are consistent. It’s going to take for sure more wins and consistency through this championship. But we’ll keep working at it. The track was tough tonight, and it’s not only that but the competition is getting to the point where things are so close. You need a start. You can’t afford to make mistakes and you need to put in good, consistent, clean laps too. It’s been showing that that’s what works, so we’ll keep working on that.

You said you didn’t change the bike. Is that the first race this year where you’ve been able to just pretty much leave her?
I think that’s the first race in my whole 450 career.

Are you serious?
Yeah. It’s really rare that we don’t touch… Ask Roger; I think we’ve touched the bike every year I’ve been on a 450.

He said he didn’t touch the bike all day and he thinks it’s the first time ever on a 450.
Roger: I think it’s the first time, yeah.

Really?
Dungey: In supercross, yes.

So, will you be all over it next week or are you like okay, we’re good, just stay here?
Roger: No, I like it this way.

Ryan: We did a little testing this week and things were proving to be good. Coming here, things settled in nice. So head back to Florida now, good to be on some different soil, different tracks. Get over to some east coast where the dirt’s a little bit different and softer, so I’m excited for that. – Jason Weigandt

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"You need a start. You can’t afford to make mistakes and you need to put in good, consistent, clean laps too.' - Ryan Dungey
Simon Cudby photo

Chad Reed, TwoTwo Motorsports Honda, 4th in 450SX

Last week we definitely saw progress. You probably would have won the thing if you had gotten by Davi. But this week probably not what you want to do and not a good race for you.
Yeah, last week is last week; shoulda, coulda, woulda I guess. Just fighting the same things and I’m frustrated. Not pumped not finishing on the podium. And not pumped to be struggling all day and having to build yourself up, build yourself up and get a good start and then go backwards. It just kind of totally blows, to be honest.

Track, not that you’re going to make excuses, but no one I talked to tonight had anything good to say about the track, except for Coy Gibbs who told me it was probably good for the KTM 50s. What did you think?
I agree with the rest of the crowd. The tracks are a joke. They’re fast. It sucks because the Dirt Wurx guys are good guys and obviously they’ve got their pride on their sleeve and when you start bumming those guys out it’s not cool, but it is what it is. The tracks just for some reason they just haven’t been that great this year. Been really one-lined and hard to set bikes up for. For me, I’ve got to let go of the dream of being good in the whoops. I just totally suck in the turns right now. I’m disappointed as a rider and as a team owner that we can’t figure the thing out quicker than we have been able to. Unfortunately I think everybody’s having the same issue. They’re just able to ride through it. I’m disappointed in myself.

I thought Davi had you in the whoops early, but you seemed to turn it up later, like, oh, I need to pick it up here.
I was okay in the whoops, I just sucked in the turn after that, and the turn after that and the turn after that. They were just getting the better drive out of the turns and getting that drive through the whoops, and I was just getting a horrible drive out of the turns. So clearly, we have a turning issue. And it’s not a Honda issues, it’s, I don’t know. Maybe it’s me. We have to wrap our hands around it quick. We have some things to try in Florida this week. I just, I have to get used to riding with a softer front end. I don’t know. I have to. We’ve got some ideas and we’ll see what we can do. – Steve Matthes

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:I agree with the rest of the crowd. The tracks are a joke." - Chad Reed
Simon Cudby photo

Blake Wharton, Rockstar Energy Racing, 2nd in 250SX

How’d it go?
It went pretty good. First round, east coast in Dallas. Dallas is my hometown, so it’s always nice to come home. We’ve been in California for a long time. But at the same time the night was started off a little rough. But sometimes you have those and more or less it’s about how you end them. But still your heart rate goes up and I think you lose like a year of life, just going to the LCQ. Just going, you lose a few days—I feel like I’ve aged each time I have to do that.

Happy with your riding?
Happy with the riding. Started off the day a little rough. I hadn’t raced in a while. But I’ve been watching a lot on the west. So I’m hoping the next weekend is a little easier. Each weekend gets a little easier because I have more in the tank. I’ve been practicing with more, so I’d like to start showing that. – Jason Weigandt

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"But still your heart rate goes up and I think you lose like a year of life, just going to the LCQ." - Blake Wharton
Simon Cudby photo

Will Hahn, GEICO Honda, 3rd in 250SX

How was it?
The goal was to be on the podium. I wish I had been a little closer to Dean and Blake, but I messed up a couple of the first laps and just regrouped, went through. I rode good all night. I thought I rode in my heat. I made some mistakes but learned from them. The track was tricky tonight. It was slick. I made a comment earlier, it was very simple but it would bite you because you would relax enough to be like, oh it’s easy, or whatever goes through your mind at that point. And then it can bite you quick too because it was slick. Some tough landings tonight for sure, and a lot of carnage for a simple track. But it’s great.

Seemed like in the heat race you were going for it. Were you fired up?
I’m fired up. I came here, I’m at the point in my Lites career that these guys aren’t going to push me around. I don’t want to come off in a negative way but if I have to move someone I will. I feel like I just got to set a precident. I’m not here to make enemies but at the same time I want to go out with a bang. I don’t have much life left in this class. – Jason Weigandt

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"I’m at the point in my Lites career that these guys aren’t going to push me around. I don’t want to come off in a negative way but if I have to move someone I will." - Wil Hahn
Simon Cudby photo

Justin Brayton, JGR Toyota Yamaha, 5th in 450SX

That was good. Solid fifth.
Yeah, that was good. Top five is always solid. I felt like I put a good 20 laps in. I had that three or four second gap to Dungey and Reed like the whole race, which was kind of frustrating. The track was good, it just made everybody really tight, and to make that gap up on guys like that is not going to happen. It was good. I’ll take a fifth. I’m pumped to be on the east coast, that’s for sure.

I think at one point Barcia was closing in and then you pulled back away. Did you step up or did he make a mistake? Do you even know?
Yeah, about halfway he… he was on me for, like, 6, 7, 8 laps and then at lap 13 or 14 I put in a couple good ones and pulled away, four or five seconds or something like that in the last six or seven laps. So it was good. He was all over me for a while. I felt like we were making a pretty good push to fourth. But I’ll take it. – Jason Weigandt

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"It was good. I’ll take a fifth. I’m pumped to be on the east coast, that’s for sure." - Justin Brayton
Simon Cudby photo

Kyle Peters, AG Motorsports, 4th in 250SX

Pulled a holeshot, got fourth, rode a great race. Talk about it a little bit.
My team, my bike is amazing this year. So glad to be back on the Honda. I just got a good jump and cut over left, holeshotted, just put in a few hard laps, tightened up in the beginning, but finally found my groove and was in third for a while. Hahn was on me the whole time and he finally ended up getting me. I just kind of relaxed and ended up fourth. But I’m so pumped. It’s a lot of hard work paying off finally.

When I think about you I think of you more as an outdoor guy than a supercross guy, but obviously your supercross skills are on point. I guess you were hurt with Star last year a little bit coming into the series?
Yeah, I hurt myself two days before Dallas last year, separated my shoulder. Rode through it, never really let it heal, and then I got hurt again outdoors. So happy to be healthy and show everyone what I can really do. – Steve Matthes

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"My team, my bike is amazing this year. So glad to be back on the Honda." - Kyle Peters
Simon Cudby photo

James Stewart, Yoshimura Suzuki, DNS in 450SX

Unfortunately one of those deals, your bike malfunctioned on the main event. Talk about how that happened.
We just started up the bike and the next thing you know I didn’t have a clutch. It went out. It was something that happened inside the engine, the clutch area. So we’ll get it back and fix it. These guys are just as bummed as I am, but [it] happens. It’s one of those things, they stuck with me when I was going through these first six races hurt and trying to milk it through. Now we’re riding better, things happen, but we’re a team. It was definitely disappointing. I went to the gate different than I had went all the other races. I think we had a great week. It showed in the heat race, it showed in practice. I went down a couple times, but it is what it is. I had the attitude of going there I would have been upset if I didn’t win it tonight. – Steve Matthes

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"We just started up the bike and the next thing you know I didn’t have a clutch. It went out. It was something that happened inside the engine, the clutch area." - James Stewart
Simon Cudby photo

Trey Canard, Honda Muscle Milk, 7th in 450 SX

Very big race for you with family and friends here. Your mom said she got 180 tickets or something. It’s great to be home, right?
Yeah, absolutely. Home-ish for sure. I’m just glad to be back in Central time zone. It was good. All in all the day was pretty decent, minus the heat race and the main event.

Let’s talk about that. We’re on a good trust level here. I haven’t been happy with your riding. What’s going on? Are you injured, are you not feeling it? Tracks have been crappy, sure, but you know yourself you’re better than that.
You said it. I think a lot of the last couple weekends was a setting deal. In the second practice we were back to my setting from Phoenix, A2 area and I think it showed because my riding was good. I was right there in times on the board. We went back to my setting just to confirm. So second practice was not good. The heat race, I wasn’t in a good spot in the second turn. Kind of got knocked down and was in dead last and just made it back barely enough to qualify. And then that would just set me up bad for another great start.

Having said that, in the main event you were pretty far back and you caught up, so maybe I’m just being a little harsh.
No, you can say it. I’m trying not to get too down on myself, this is my seventh race in a year. I need to be happy that we’re here and racing. Having said that, the racer in me wants to win the race. It’s kind of hard not to get disappointed. – Steve Matthes

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"I think a lot of the last couple weekends was a setting deal. In the second practice we were back to my setting from Phoenix, A2 area and I think it showed because my riding was good." - Trey Canard
Simon Cudby photo

Justin Hill, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki, 5th in 250 SX

How was your first Supercross?
It was excellent. I had a ton of fun.

You enjoyed it? You weren’t like “ugh…”
No, I wasn’t stressing it. It was a lot of fun. I went out there, I rode my old dirt bike and did some triples and did some whoops and did some corners. It turned out to be a pretty good night. Got a top five first race. I’m excited.

Take me through it. You actually had to make some moves there. The start wasn’t great.
No. I had a pretty bad gate pick from the heat. I had from the way outside. I came out… there were probably five guys behind me. I just made some good passes and took advantage of some things that happened and boom, I’m up there.

When was the last time you actually raced?
Last time I actually raced was Alabama 2012, March. Last March.

So almost a year?
It’s been almost a year, yeah.

Have you ever gone that long without racing, 11 months?
Not that I can think of, no. I don’t believe so. It’s been a while.

Was that weird at all?
I didn’t think about it until you just said that.

The answer is it wasn’t weird, then.
Apparently it wasn’t weird because I didn’t know. I didn’t really think about it. I’ve been riding so much and just doing what I do, so whatever. I guess that is the first time I’ve been behind a gate in a long time. I didn’t even race anything local, that’s it. I’m excited.

Did you learn some stuff here? Think you can take something from this?
Yeah, I learned all kinds of things. These guys are pretty gnarly and I got to be gnarlier to be as gnarly as they are. – Jason Weigandt

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"Last time I actually raced was Alabama 2012, March. Last March." - Justin Hill
Simon Cudby photo

Marvin Musquin, Red Bull KTM, 6th in 250 SX

Bummer, man.
Yeah, bummer for sure. Rode okay, practice went pretty good. Ended up second. Wilson was a little faster; he was really good. My start was okay, just in the main somebody came from the outside and cut in front. He had a better start than me, what can I say? I’m not saying that’s his fault but he cut in front of me and I hit his rear wheel and then I went down. So, for sure, bummer. And then it took a little bit of time for me to get up on the bike and to start the bike again. But I came back 6th so got some points. First round is over. I didn’t really like the dirt today. It was really, really hard pack. The layout of the track was really nice; I really liked it, but it was really, really dry and hard. They did a good job for the main. For the night show it was better than practice but the dirt was hard anyway. So let’s move on and keep working. Do a good week and move on to Atlanta. – Jason Weigandt

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"My start was okay, just in the main somebody came from the outside and cut in front. He had a better start than me, what can I say?" - Marvin Musquin
Simon Cudby photo

Jimmy Albertson, HRT Racing, 13th in 450SX

So you made it into the main straight from the heat—you didn’t go out and beat Barcia in the LCQ this weekend or anything. How’d that go?
It was a little less hectic than normal, that’s for sure. It’s seems like every week has been so stressful leading up to the main, so it was good to get in right out of the heat race. I started close to last in my heat, but I was riding aggressive and was passing guys. It was really an improvement in my riding in the heat by far. In the main, I got a decent start and I ran top ten for eight laps or so, but then I guess I forgot to breath. I had Shorty and [Matt] Goerke right in front of me and I was thinking, ‘Oh, I got these guys’. As soon as Trey [Canard] passed me, it kind of took the wind out of my sails. Then [Broc] Tickle got by me and I kind of settled in and really didn’t have too much after that. I was pretty pumped up from not breathing. But it’s a learning curve and I’m doing so much better than I was last year—riding wise. I’m just excited for the rounds to come. I scored decent points tonight. We’ll just keep it rolling for the rest of the year.

Do you have a preference—East or West?
I like the East because I’m back home finally, around Oklahoma. California is alright for a couple weeks, but [more than that,] I get burnt out. Living out there and, you know, the whole lifestyle doesn’t really fit me. Even though we drove all week and I didn’t get to ride that much, I felt like I did better because I’m happy to be back home. I saw a lot of my old friends that I grew up with racing. They all came down from Oklahoma and they were stoked to see everything going on. It was good. I qualified better today than I ever have. It’s all starting come around. Yeah, it wasn’t my best result, but I feel like the effort was good. If I wouldn’t have gotten carried away with everything I would’ve done a little better. Hopefully I’ll be busting into the top ten by the end of the year. – Jordan Roberts

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"I like the East because I’m back home finally, around Oklahoma." - Jimmy Albertson
Simon Cudby photo

Mike Alessi, MotoConcepts, 12th in 450SX

It was like concrete out there. The heat race was good—I got a great start and was leading a couple of laps. I ended up placing third, which was good. I got a good gate pick for the main and got a good jump, but Chad and I came together in the first turn and drifted way outside. I was riding in fifth or sixth for a long time. I started making some really stupid mistakes. I was losing the back end in a lot of turns. It was just rough. The track started changing and I was just fighting the bike. The more I fought the bike, the worse I did. I ended up going from sixth back to twelfth. It wasn’t exactly the ride I was looking for. I think they said I was sixth-fastest overall in for lap times in the main event—which is an improvement for me—but riding at that speed towards the front made me lock up a little bit. But that’s part of riding and racing, so I just have to realize some changes may have to be made in the bike between the heat and main. The track definitely changed in between. In was good in the heat—traction wise—and then it went to concrete in the main event.

It looked like you made some improvements to your overall speed—even in the whoops. Is there any one specific thing that contributed to that?
Yeah, I felt real good in the whoops and in the turns. I was struggling a little bit in one of the rhythms sections. I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Everyone was going 3-2 and I was going 2-3—that was killing me. I was a quarter to half a second a lap right there. I didn’t ever feel comfortable doing that section. There was a mental block and I just didn’t want to do it. Other than that, my speed was pretty dang good and my starts are there. I just have to get over some arm pump and fighting the bike. I think if we keep working on the bike and making it better, I don’t see why we can’t be up there close to the top five. – Jordan Roberts

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"I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Everyone was going 3-2 and I was going 2-3—that was killing me." - Mike Alessi
Simon Cudby photo

Gavin Faith, MotoConcepts, 7th in 250SX

You showed some top tier speed out there. Did the Australian supercross series help? And in general, how did you feel out there?
After last supercross season, I went back to the drawing board at MTF (Millsaps Training Facility). I did a lot of work during the outdoor season and basically rode supercross all year long. I got ready for Australia and went over there to race. I ended up winning the championship. I came here and felt like I had pretty good speed. The heat race was good and I had fun battling with those guys. It was a confidence booster. The main event didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to. I got a horrible start, but I came through alright.

Say you get a good start in the main next weekend—or any other race—where do you see yourself?
I like to think I can get a podium, for sure. That’s the goal. I just need to get a start. I feel like I showed pretty good speed battling with Hahn and Musquin. I just need to put it together in the main. – Jordan Roberts

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"I like to think I can get a podium, for sure. That’s the goal." - Gavin Faith
Simon Cudby photo

Zach Bell, GEICO Honda, 18th in 250SX

You had a hell of a first supercross race. How was your day going before your heat race crash?
It was really good. I qualified ninth in practice, which wasn’t bad. I’ve only been on the bike for three weeks. It was a rough first race. That’s the one we need to get out of the way. It was a bad night for me, but the team stood behind the whole time. I got through the LCQ with a second. I was just happy to be riding—even walking for that matter. I took an ImPACT test and passed that. I went out for the LCQ and was pretty much outside [on the gate]. I almost got the holeshot. I’m just glad to still be riding. I made it through the night and need to make it through the season healthy. I didn’t start it off right, but I’m just glad to be walking.

Will you be able to ride the next round?
I probably won’t be riding this week so I can regroup and go into Atlanta healthy, but we’ll be doing some cardio stuff to keep me going. – Jordan Roberts

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"I probably won’t be riding this week so I can regroup and go into Atlanta healthy, but we’ll be doing some cardio stuff to keep me going" - Zach Bell
Simon Cudby photo

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