Renton, Washington’s Greg Crater has been on the circuit for a few years now, and he’s hoping to have his breakthrough ride this year that will get him his much-anticipated AMA National number, and hopefully lead to bigger and better things in the world of racing. We caught up with him at Anaheim III.
Racer X: How long have you been racing professionally?
Greg Crater: I’ve been racing pro since 2000, so this is my eighth season, I guess.
How do you feel it has gone for you?
Well, really, it hasn’t gone as I had hoped so far. I’ve never had a national number, and things like that, but I’d like to be able to do select events through the summer and a couple more of these west-coast rounds in the hopes of getting a number. Really, I just want to get a national number, and then hopefully I can get a ride somehow or get a team together.
We see you at the races all the time, so you’re very persistent. How do you keep that up?
Well, when I was younger, I was coming to the races with some buddies that were older than me, and they were showing me the ropes, and my parents have been really supportive my entire career, so it’s always been easy for me to get to the races because they’ve always been willing to spend the money to get me there. And last year, they actually worked for Live Nation and did the banners and stuff in the stadium, so they were there every week, and I got to do every race. There are also some times where I’ve had some support from some people who were willing to pay the bills and get things taken care of, but I’ve never had anything to where the bikes were outstanding other than what I could get done on them myself.
What is it going to take in order to take that next step?
I really think the bike is as good as I need it to be, but it’s on my shoulders to train hard enough and to be in good enough shape to really do it. I feel better outdoors, though. I like the ruts, and I like the more technical aspect of it. Supercross, when it’s high-speed and slippery, I can ride it, too. I’m good at Vegas just because it’s really slippery, and I feel like the worse the conditions are, the better I ride, but it’s on me. I’ve got to be in shape to do it.
How did you come up with the look of your bike? It stands out.
I’m not really sure where I got the idea to do black, but last year, I did white Yamahas early in the year, and I got off the Yamahas and got back on the Hondas and I just wanted to do everything different, because I felt like I just did everything wrong on the Yamahas – I couldn’t make the bikes work, and nothing went the way it was supposed to go. So I just wanted to go 100% different, so I went black and did everything I could to do everything different. I was on a different bike with different colors, I changed all of the colors of my gear, I did everything I could...
Are you a superstitious guy? Like, do you always put your left boot on before the right boot or things like that?
I’m not. I try not to be. There’s a few things, like I don’t like to shave on raceday. I have stupid stuff like that.
Is there a reason for not shaving? Did you have one really good race where you didn’t shave that day?
Maybe you should start shaving on race day!
Maybe! But it’s weird because it doesn’t play into the rest of my life. It’s only my motorcycle life. If I play poker, it’s not anything to go to the casino and lose money or make money or whatever, so I don’t know exactly where it all came from as far as that goes. I used to be a lot more superstitious, but I really just tried to mellow it out and realize that it’s all on me, and I know it. Ricky Carmichael figured out that it wasn’t orange gear that was making him win, so...
Who helps you out?
I’ve got to thank UFO. They’ve been the biggest help the last couple of years with plastic and gear. Also, Vortex Sprockets, Pro Wheels, Smith Goggles, Leo Vince pipes, SDG Seats, Devol Engineering, Fusion Graphix, Kenda tires, Wiseco Pistons, Evergreen Construction, Arai Helmets and TBT Suspension.