5 Minutes with ... Mike Brown

May 8, 2007 9:35am

CAS Honda rider Mike Brown scored 14-9 results for 10th place overall in the MX1 class at the Grand Prix of Italy and remains inside the top ten in the World MX1 championship points. Brown is ninth overall in the series standings, but looking to improve as the series gets further down the track. The American rider produced two holeshots on the weekend and led the both motos for some time, but his troublesome arm-pump returned again, causing him to lose places and drop back in the field. Amazingly, Brown has been at the front of the pack in nearly every race this year, his start technique without question the best of the series so far.

Racer X: Mike, how did you feel in Italy, and how is that arm-pump coming along?
Mike Brown: First race started great like usual, but I got arm pump again. Man, I hate people seeing me doing that, but there is nothing I can do; I am in shape, but my arms just pump up and I can't do anything about it. Getting in the front early like I have been is maybe not so good for me, but you always need to get the start. I felt better in the second race, but I crashed. I was fifth when I crashed; I had a good gap on Ramon, so that was a pity I crashed. In the second moto I didn't get any arm-pump and I said to myself that I would ride as hard as I could and if I crashed then so be it. This isn't a good track for me—I am not the best in the sand and the square-edged corners didn't help. I like Germany, it's fast and hard, so I feel I can do better there. I think I have maybe holeshot the last four races and out of the six I might had led all of them. I should still be top ten, it's still a long way and I think I can run top seven most races.

The previous round in Portugal you also took some great starts, what happened there?
Qualification was going well, I held third place at the start, but then a bunch of guys did quicker laps and I ended up 15th. In the first moto I had another good start, like in Spain and was able to lead for a little while. On lap one I was fourth and I just tried to keep with the other riders, but my left arm got tired again. I didn't want to get arm pump too badly so I slowed a little and some guys went past me. The track was really choppy and rough and there were not a lot of lines to choice from, so that made it difficult sometimes. In the second moto I again got a good start, but drifted wide and lost the lead position. I was again fourth after the first lap, and held that position for a few laps, then Priem passed me. I just did my best to stay with the front guys, trying to get a good rhythm going. I felt better on the 450. Before Spain I had only had one and a half days on it after riding the 250 in the British championship, so that made it difficult in Spain.

Round two in Spain, that was a really rough track, and also fast. What stood out for you in Spain?
I thought the track would have been a lot worse than it was, due to the rain and all. It was probably one of the ruttiest tracks I have ridden in a while. I went out and started in 12th or 13th in qualification. The first moto started like I was going to win the race. I got arm pump after about four or five laps and couldn't us the clutch properly because of that. I wasn't riding over my head; in fact, I felt like I was slow and I started to try and ride faster and that is when I got arm pump. This week I prepared on a hard-pack with no ruts and I wasn't used to the big ruts here. I haven't ridden with such big ruts on the 450, but I can't use any excuses—I just got arm pump, end of story. I couldn't pull the clutch in and I was getting into the ruts and just using the throttle. I was making a lot of mistakes and every time I made a mistake somebody would go by me. I figured it would go away. I thought if I slowed down it wouldn't be such a problem. I kept hanging on, but it wouldn't go away.
In the second race I was probably sixth or seventh in the first few corners. Somebody bumped me and I got caught in the green fence. I knew from that moment on that I just had to put my head down and go for it. I didn't get arm-pump. I rode good. I felt I rode better in the second moto, I came up from a long way behind. For sure it's in the head. Some people ask me, “Is it the bike? Is it something else?” but it's all in my head. I didn't get it in America, but I think because I have started in the front in a couple of races already I am getting nervous and riding too tight. I like Portugal, it's a nice track and I hope I can get some better results.

The opening round in Holland, was there any surprises for you there?
I felt good in practice, always around 10th and 12th. In timed training I blew it a little and lost some places, but it didn't matter as I got good starts, my bike was working good out of the start. The first race I was like fourth of fifth, but my arms went tight. It's been a problem all of my career really. I mean, I shouldn't be nervous, but I was. I held my breath and wasn't breathing. I just went backwards. Second race I was second or third, and I relaxed, a couple of guys came past me quickly, but I didn't want to blow it out of the start and took my time this moto. I jut eased up a little and got into my own race. The track was rough. We don't have anything like that in America. I think it is similar to Southwick maybe.