Monday Conversation I: Trey Canard

April 21, 2008 1:13am

Torco Racing Fuels Honda’s Trey Canard draws comparisons to other diminutive redheads, such as Ricky Carmichael and Canard’s championship rival Ryan Villopoto, but what he did in St. Louis, neither of them ever did: He won a supercross championship in his rookie season. Not only that, but he did it the hard way. After grabbing what seemed like an insurmountable lead in the early going, it seemed like Canard would be able to coast to the title, but even though he’s successful, he is still a rookie, and with inexperience came mistakes, which is exactly what Villopoto was hoping for. However, Canard dug down deep in St. Louis and won in a must-win situation. This kid has fortitude.

Racer X: So now that it’s all over with, and the championship is yours, can you take us through the last week since Detroit? What were you going through?
Trey Canard: It was a lot better than the week prior to Detroit. I was so nervous before Detroit, and when I get into that defensive mode, it’s just not good. You’re not riding to win, you’re riding for something else. You’re riding not to lose. You’re trying to get just good enough, and I don’t like that. This last week was awesome, though, and I’m pumped.

So what was the plan from this last week? Were you thinking about just going back on the offensive again?

Yeah, just go do my best, and the outcome would happen how it happened, and I felt kind of bad that Ryan [Villopoto] went down, but I would expect him to do the same thing to me, and that’s racing. I didn’t mean to take him out, but it was a good race. I think he could’ve stopped and saved it, but that’s how it happened, and that’s over now, so we’ll just concentrate on the future.

You’re a champion now.

It still hasn’t sunk in at all. Just because I won one doesn’t mean I’m anything special.

Oh, c’mon. Take a second and take a breath. You’re the Lites East champ. No one else. Just you. You have a couple weeks until the Nationals start.

It feels cool, but I know I need to focus and be ready for outdoors.

Sometimes, it seems the first thing to come apart for a racer when he’s having trouble with pressure is their starts, but yours were just fine tonight. Can you take us through that?
This week, compared to last week, was so much better for me. Last week, I was just a head case, and this week, like I said, I went back on offense and quit being defensive, so it was good. I’m so pumped right now.

A lot of us were trying to figure out scenarios, and with your past three races, a lot of us were figuring that if you were going to have a shot at this title, it might be easier if someone like your teammate Josh Grant stepped up to win tonight, so you wouldn’t have to beat Ryan Villopoto. But then, you went out there and just beat Villopoto yourself.

I don’t think too many people expected it this weekend, but I just wanted to go out there and give it my all. I know a lot of guys didn’t expect it in Atlanta either, but that’s kind of my style – being the underdog gives me a lot of motivation. I’m just so thankful and blessed that I’m in this situation right now, and hopefully I can keep it going.

Standing up on the podium, holding the number-one plate, wearing the number-one jersey, with all the photographers shooting pictures of you, and the TV cameras on you... What did it feel like?
To be honest, I swear, I really haven’t felt it yet. It probably won’t sink in for a couple weeks, but it’s awesome.

This is your team’s first title since Travis Preston in 2002.

They definitely deserve it. They work so hard, and their bikes are awesome – they’re there for me, and I can’t thank those guys enough.

Do you feel like you have it in you for the outdoors to continue this?
I’m just going to do the same thing that I did prior to this, and that’s just to give 200 percent, because that’s all I can do, and that’s all I can expect from myself, to not leave anything on the track, and just to wake up every day and go for it.

And finally, one of the most interesting observers watching the podium celebration was your fellow racer Jimmy Albertson. What’s it like having a competitor be such a friend, fan and supporter of yours?

I’ve known Jimmy since I was nine years old, and him and his family have always been right there through everything. Jimmy’s always been there for me in every way possible, and he’s always pushed me, and I’ve pushed him, and we’ve had a great friendship. I’ve got to work with him the last couple weeks, and it’s good to be back hanging out with him again. He’s probably one of the reasons I’m where I’m at. He pushed me, and I pushed him, like I said. He’s an awesome kid, and I hope he does good next year.