5 Minutes with ... Ricky Carmichael

June 19, 2007 8:59am

When you are on top of your game and have one foot out the door, you get to speak your mind, and everyone listens. RC stunned the post race press conference with strong words about the Budds Creek facility, after one of the greatest races of the year – two motos of RC vs. Stewart. RC had trouble with a goggle lens in moto 1, and he lost the goggles and still pulled off a second to Stewart. In moto 2, RC chased James Stewart nearly the whole moto, going all over the track and even off the track sometimes looking for a way around.
     Budds was a test race for the Motocross of Nations in September, and RC used his time in the press conference and this interview to get in his opinion on what the track needs, and on a few other things.

Racer X: What’s up with this 100 national win benchmark, that’s heavy duty huh?
Ricky Carmichael: It’s amazing. You never set out to do anything like that. I always just put my head down and done the best that I can do. Ten years later I have 100 wins and 148 combined. It’s an amazing feat that I never set out to do.

TFS talks to RC for this interview after the Budds Creek press conference

photo: Matt Ware

You had your 100th overall win here too.
What’s gnarly to me, sitting in 2004, when I had the 100 races combined, to think I have won 48 races since then, that’s what blows my mind. It doesn’t seem like 48 races since then.

If you have two nationals to go, and 148 wins, you have to really want those last two, does than add any pressure as you finish up your career?
Not really. Obviously I want to do it and those tracks (Red Bud and Millville) favor me. I really enjoy those tracks. I can tell you I won’t go chasing that 150. It’s not worth the pain and misery during the week!

You have a bit of a bump on your nose from that goggle incident in moto 1. Did you have any words with the goggle guy after that moto?
Absolutely. I know it’s not Anthony (Paggio’s) fault. He is the goggle guy and he is somebody I have to complain to. I did. I let him have it.  I am not saying that I would have won, it definitely hindered me. I think I had a good chance to win. In San Francisco in the mud race, in the first lap I pulled my roll-offs and they didn’t work. So that was going through my mind more than anything. I was like “Why, what’s the problem here?” I lost my temper, but I think I deserve that right to be a little frustrated. I have been in this business a long time. He knew he had it coming. We are all grown up here. I am not going to be pissed at him forever.  But yeah, I am pissed off. I came out here to win and to good. To have something stupid like that happen, it’s a bummer. I know it’s not his fault.

The second moto was intense

photo: Jackie Mims

That second moto sure was a long, intense battle with James.
That was a hell of a race. James rides this track exceptionally well. Like at Red Bud, I ride sand good and I feel good there. It’s the same for him. I think he really comes alive at this race and he has a good attitude when he comes here. That is why he gets the results that he does. He rides exceptionally well here.

Even 25 minutes in, you were just relentless. It seemed you were all over the place, off the track to the inside, or off the track to the outside, that was going for it wasn’t it?
That’s the beauty of a shit-hole track like this weekend was. It was prepared awful. It was one-lined. It’s a shame. My biggest fear is them dropping the ball for the Motocross of Nations. It’s the funnest race of the year and the fans are so hyped up about it. It’s going to be a shame it ifs not good. It’s going to be embarrassing.

Can we run through how to make things right? You were very outspoken in the press conference just now. Can I get your quick bullet list on what to do?
Obviously my wants and needs are not going to be the same as the other guys’ wants and needs. What would be great, if we had a committee, and at a race, everyone sat down and talked about it and everyone has the same goal. Then it’s, “This is where we want to be, this is how the track needs to be.” That would solve a lot of things. There is no communication.
     One person in particular said, ‘Hey, I talked to everybody every weekend,” and he has not been to my truck one time this year. He said he went to Pro Circuit and everything is cool there. I guarantee you there is one guy over there that hated the track. That’s a little bit contradicting information there if you ask me.
Everyone has to get on the same page. Until they get on the same page and everyone works together, it isn’t going to get better.

It was a great Father's Day for Carmichael's Pap

photo: Jackie Mims

Are you saying the dirt is going away here?
Absolutely. Look at photos from like 1997 here. Look how bitching this track was. This used to be my favorite track. Now this place is like Unadilla. It’s one of the worst tracks on the circuit. It’s a shame because it looks great out here for the fans. They can afford to put more money into it and make it in the long run.

You mentioned in the press conference these were things that make you guys want to stop doing this, on the other side, what would make people like yourself say “I love outdoor MX so much I want to keep doing it until I am 35?”
The safety factor is obvious, and just more communication with the riders. They don’t ever ask us anything. Yeah maybe a little when you are at the race, but it’s too late by then. With no communication with the riders, that is what runs them off. We get here and the track isn’t the way we all want it.  It’s never going to be right for everyone, but if we get together, everything will be a compromise and it will get better.

Did you do anything different since this is your first Father’s Day as a father?
No. My wife snuck in a card there for me. I am going back and will get home about 9:30. My babies will probably be sleeping. I give them a kiss on the forehead like I do all the time when I get back from a race. I will see them in the morning.  When they are sleeping, I don’t mess with them, because they don’t sleep that much! Let a sleeping dog lie I guess.

Thanks for the extra time and thanks for the #100 t-shirt.
Thanks Steve.