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5 Minutes With ... Heath Voss

Heath Voss looked like he was having a bad night when he was handed the first Racer X Gas Card of 2008 on the podium for finishing third in the 450-class LCQ, but that was before he asked the officials if he could use one of the two “provisional” starts allotted to ranked riders. Then he lined up for the main event and went out and finished 14th at Anaheim 1. He also let us know that he was going to hand the $750 he got for winning the Racer X Gas Card to fourth-place LCQ finisher Cole Siebler.

Racer X: Congratulations on 14th in the main event. I’m not sure what you were thinking or where you wanted to be, but that's not too bad.
Heath Voss: It was a great day but it wasn’t a bad day. I didn’t get a great start—I started pretty much in last and was moving on up. After the ninth lap I cross-rutted and put my foot down on a jump, and then the foot peg hit me in the back of my calf and I thought I broke my leg. When the track is rutty like that it’s very tricky because if you try to charge and over jump something and land on a face with ruts and stuff, it’s very easy to cross rut.

I know that there was a lot of discussion, and obviously there was only so much they could do, but when you go out and have timed practice right away, it doesn’t really get a lot of lines, and that one dry line chopped up, didn’t it?
Oh, I told Rich Winkler (of Dirt Wurx) that I was really impressed with how good of a job they did with the track, and it really wasn’t that dangerous. Sometimes the ruts get really deep and they get holes at the base of the jumps, so sometimes you hit those and get kicked. The dirt was a real light color, so you could tell the depth of the ruts which is really good. Like at Seattle where the dirt is black, you can’t tell the depth of the rut, which can be dangerous. But the track was really good.

Did you have to start on the far outside?
Yeah, I didn’t get a great start in the heat race and didn’t qualify out of it. I had a dead-stock bike this weekend with just a Dubach Racing pipe. The dirt wasn’t real loose mud and hard underneath; it was tacky and robbed a lot of power. The start straight was pretty long, so I was at a little disadvantage. I started like 15th in the LCQ and came up to third and just about had [Jason] Thomas before the finish, but it wasn’t enough, so I had to use my provisional.

I know that you got to come up on the podium and get the Racer X Gas Card, but because you used your provisional and raced the main, I heard you’re passing that money on down to the next guy.
Yeah, there was some confusion after I came off the track and I went over to the podium. I didn’t know how those provisionals work and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to use them. But I was excited I came back to third—I feel I rode my best in that LCQ.  You know, I actually liked the old format in the past where you had semis, because sometimes goofy things could happen. Like last year in Seattle in the heat race I got a rock caught in my sprocket and it locked up my rear wheel. So I went into the Last Chance and there were three or four factory guys. Even this past weekend’s LCQ was pretty stacked.

How did this race differ from Anaheim 2005?
The track was definitely a lot better—it was rideable this time. In ’05 I’m pretty sure it was raining in the main event, and then you can’t see and it’s hard to have goggles that work so you’re riding without them. The last time it was pretty fun because I was on the Factory Yamaha team and had a factory bike and it was brand new and fresh and I could go out and wreck it and it would be brand new the next week. This time I had to pay $6,500 for my own bike, and I freak out about the little things like the chain that’s on there, I have to pay $80 for those things, and all of that little stuff is complete junk now. All of those little things go through my mind and I cringe when I ride through the mud holes, but all in all it worked out.

Tell me about the Wonder Warthog Racing team and your position as the captain?
Darrell Saldana and Scott Kandel are really good people and they have big hearts and love the sport. They don’t really want anything from it, they just love going to the races. They’ve been really successful in business themselves and retired in their 30s, so they want to go to the races and they’re looking for a challenge, and the challenge is to help some of these guys that struggle to make the night program or main events. They try to help them to get their race program and lives in order and just try to make them better racers. All the sponsors that we have behind us love the sport and believe in the same thing. It’s a really good team and there are a lot of really good people involved.

I know they’ve done a really great job in a short period of time and this year looks to be the best ever. Hey, you may be the guy that gets them a top five.
Yeah, I’m doing the best I’ve ever done. I’m in super good shape and I’m very strong. I’ve been going really well with all the other stuff I’m doing like slalom skiing, shifter karts and Supermoto. I’ve been practicing a lot here at home, but it’s just disappointing because Supercross is my true love and it’s what I want to do the most, and I go to the races and I try so hard that I end up riding tight. With everything else I don’t take it so seriously, but I know what my problems are and I know I can overcome them and be a number five guy and be in the top 10 all the time.

Well, I hope you can be like Tim Ferry one day and get back up there and show them what you can do all over again.
Tim Ferry is my hero. I was on the Yamaha program with him and I had seen what happened with mechanical problems and injuries. But he didn’t give up and took a few steps back and now he’s doing better than ever with his racing. Hopefully I can do that too.

Do you have anyone you want to thank ?
The Wonder Warthog team, the U.S. Air Force, Mastercraft, No Fear, DRD, MB1 Suspension, Utopia and Cytomax.

One more thing: You ride for DRD, so you should ask Dr. Dubach for some starting tips!
[Laughs] Actually I got my starts down again. I’m not second guessing my technique at all, but I just got pulled on the straight in that mud with a stock bike!

 

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