Since his return to the race track after some time off at the Budds Creek MX National in 2007, there has been something different about San Manuel/Fusion Yamaha’s Chad Reed. He has managed to simultaneously be more relaxed and more determined. It has become apparent in the time since the Budds Creek National that the time off has done Reed good, but it was never more apparent than at Anaheim I, where Reed overcame a trip over the bars in his heat race to still win it, and then won the main event going away, despite a stall in the early going. If Chad Reed has his way, it’s going to be a long season for defending champion James Stewart.
Chad Reed: No new guy. No “New Beginning.” No nothing like that. I’m just trying to bring to the races what I know I have. I know I have a lot more to offer, and to just bring to the races what I have since ’04. Just feeling good and being happy day to day and week to week. It’s been a long off-season, and I think that all adds up for me. That’s my program. That’s who I am. I needed to find the fire. I needed to find a light, I guess – screw the fire! I needed to find the light again. It all came at a perfect time. Yamaha came out with a new ’08 bike, and it’s definitely a lot better. The race was muddy and different, and I felt like I rode well this weekend, even if James hadn’t have crashed. We’re going to reset the dial and go into Phoenix looking for a win. I’ve had a lot of awesome battles there, but never walked away with a win, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m not over-confident, just pumped. Jeremy McGrath told me one time always to treat a win like it’s your last, because at 72 it just became a normal thing, and he never thought that 72 would be his last win. I’ll treasure this one just like the rest. I’m super-pumped and I’m going to go into the next weekend excited.
There were a lot of things: The new bike, the time off, they’re all things that add up, but I felt like physically and mentally, I was just in a better position than what I had been previously. During the press conference, when I was there, I was just quietly confident. I look at James, and he’s got a new program, and he looks lean and fit and strong, but at the end of the day, I’ve been there. I’ve been in the best shape of my life, what I thought, and it was never the key for me. I was just true to myself this off-season and did what was right for Chad Reed and what I felt at the time. Right or wrong, I’m a man, and I’m man enough to live and make mistakes, but I felt like at the end of the day it was a good choice for me to step away and get the batteries charged.
You made a comment about being fat in the press conference. Are you fat right now?
I don’t know. Do I look fat? [Laughs] I just thought it was kind of funny. I was commenting on the internet BS that I caught this year. Even at the Motocross des Nations, there was some dude with a big ol’ fat suit with ‘Chad Reed 22’ on it. I mean, hey, I’m not going to lie. This off-season, I had a great time. I partied it up, lived the Australian lifestyle, but I feel like when it’s time I know when to get serious and I know when to put that down. Right now, all that stuff’s on hold until May. It’s all about just how I feel. I feel like I’m in good shape, I feel like I’m strong, and I feel like I’m at a weight that I want to be at for the 450. But like I said, at the end of tonight, we’re going to reset that dial and go into Phoenix just like we did today – quietly confident. James will bring it, and I know that. I’m aware of his skills and his speed. I don’t think it matters if he’s fat or skinny or out of shape, he’s pure speed. That’s what he’s most dangerous for. So we’re going to go to Phoenix and it’s going to be a tough race.