5 Minutes with ... Troy Adams

April 18, 2008 6:21am

Through a series of excellent privateer riders back in 2003, Troy Adams was rewarded with a ride on the newly formed WBR Kawasaki Team. Moving to another first-year start-up team, Samsung Wireless Honda, the following year, Adams took a podium in his home state of Florida at the Daytona Supercross. Picked up by the prestigious Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team for 2006, Troy turned in several impressive rides – unfortunately they were also coupled with several injuries. Switching to Rockstar Suzuki (another start-up team) in 2007, he was a solid top-10 contender. But with the team defunct after the season, Adams was left without a ride – until Carey Hart’s return to motocross with his Rockstar/Hart & Huntington Honda Team. In his career to date, the 25-year-old may hold the honor of being the rider on the most first-year start-up teams.  I tracked down Troy deep in the catacombs of the pits at Ford Field, where he later received the Racer X Gas Card.

Troy Adams

Racer X: Troy, let’s first hear about the Rockstar/Hart & Huntington Honda Team.
Troy Adams: Everything is good here. From day one, it started out really well. Even when they first called me, they had pretty much everything in line – the bikes were ready to go! I flew out to Vegas a couple weeks before Anaheim, and we did some crunch testing and got the bike to where I wanted it. Since then, we’ve just been improving it, and everything has been running very smoothly for a first-year team.

If I recall correctly, you’ve been on a couple first-year teams; how does this one compare to the others?
Yeah, actually you’re right. I’m not really scared to do first-year teams because that’s all I’ve ever been on – except for Pro Circuit. I think the whole sport in general has advanced so much with the technology now that it’s easier for teams to race. It was pretty difficult to get the good stuff back in 2004. We had to spend a lot of money to do things right. But now the bikes are decent off the floor; our Honda’s are so good stock that we really haven’t had to change much – we’ve even been running stock suspension. We’ve had some help from Jim Lewis at Merge Racing; besides that we haven’t had to do a whole lot to the bikes. They stay durable, and you don’t have to put a lot into them – it’s really been working out to our advantage.

Other than racing a 450 last year in some of the outdoor nationals, you’ve been a 250F rider. What’s the difference between racing a 250F versus a 450F?
Probably 40 pounds [laughs]. The 450 suits me so much better than the 250 did. Half the struggle for me when I was on first-year 250F teams was that I was so big that we had to do too much to the motors to get them competitive. There was so much time spent working on the bikes, because I wore them down so fast. Also, for me the 450 is just so much easier to ride. I can return to my riding style, which is more of a comfort-zone style – I don’t have to hang off the back fender in the whoops. This has definitely been a good step for me. It’s just getting used to the class – the competition is a lot different. The guys here are a lot smarter than in the Lites class, where it’s just kind of a hammerhead class. In the Lites, everyone’s going all out for the lead, while in Supercross guys think about their moves before they do them. It’s something that I have had to adjust to, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now.

As far as “getting the hang of it,” what have been some of the adjustments in racing the Supercross class?
Mainly, it’s a lot of getting used to 20 laps and getting used to the pace of those 20 laps. But it’s actually a lot of different things that somewhat set me back at first, because I figured I’d jump right in and ride like I was in the Lites class – where I could muscle my way up through guys. Here, it’s not like that at all. I’ve definitely had to come at it with a different approach, but I think now everything’s finally settling in.

How is it working with Carey Hart? He must generate a lot of excitement.
Oh, all the time! It’s only smart for someone to play off someone else’s popularity, and I’ve definitely done that here. Carey is such a personable guy. He’s done so much for Freestyle, and now he’s giving it back to his roots. He said to come back to motocross where he started has always been his goal. With his company Hart & Huntington Tattoo, the TV show he had, and the clothing now, everything’s going his way – I just ride on his coattails right now. It’s good for everybody – for the team, the sponsors, the riders, the mechanics... It puts another team out there rather than your top-five teams that everyone hears about. It’s good to have a fresh face in this sport. 

Are you guys racing the AMA Motocross Championships?
No, we won’t be doing the outdoors because Carey has his team set up for Supermoto. It’s going to be himself, along with two or three other guys racing. In a sense, it somewhat leaves us hanging, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s offered me the opportunity to find a ride for myself outdoors, and actually to do anything that I can to better myself. It’s hard to find team owners that are like that – that are as giving as he is. He’s really put the fun back in it for me, because I lost that sense for a while – it turned into a job. Here, with Carey and Team Manager Kenny Watson, everybody keeps it real light, and it puts the fun back into racing for me.

Then are you working on finding a ride for the outdoors?
Yes, we’re working on finding a ride for outdoors – just playing it by ear with some teams. I would definitely like to do some, at least. If nothing comes up, I might do four or five on my own with my girlfriend April’s [Hodges] TV show “Too Extreme.” It’s a show where they do everything with motorcycles; it’s not like American Chopper where they just strictly concentrate on choppers – they do street bikes, and motocross bikes. They’ve done a 450 for Led Zeppelin drummer Jason Bonham, and they just did a bike for NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson. April grew up racing motocross along with us in Florida. That’s how I met her, and she has always been into racing. Her career is starting to pick up now, and I’m really happy for her. I also hope to be doing a lot of European Supercrosses in the fall, trying to keep some money coming in to pay the bills. If not, I’ll be getting a real job this summer mowing grass or something [laughs].

What about next year? Have you been talking to Carey about 2009 Supercross?
Yeah, I’ve been talking to them about staying for next year, but everything’s still open. There’s no set contract or anything, but I would definitely like to be here. They’ve been really helpful for me, and putting my career back on track. I’d be pumped to ride for them again. We just have to see how the parts play out.