It’s not often that we see a new race team set the world on fire in their first outing. Usually, it takes a bit for the team and riders to gel together to find that winning recipe. Not so for Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki. They may not have set the world on fire, but they certainly lit it up at the opening round of the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals in Ste-Julie, Quebec, with Teddy Maier and Nick Evennou going 1-2 in the MX2 class. The two Americans tied in points, but Maier’s 3-1 topped Evennou’s 2-2 for the overall. Maier finished second to Jimmy Nelson in the MX2 West series back in `06, but he admits he wasn’t “ready” then. He’s ready now, though, and fighting hard to bring home his first major title.
Racer X: Teddy, what’s going on?
Teddy Maier: Trying to relax and get regrouped for this weekend.
I heard you had troubles at the Montreal airport. Did you finally make it home?
What did you think of the Ste-Julie track?
I like it. I expected the track to be a lot different, but it was like being back home. There were a lot of elevation changes and the dirt was similar – it got rutted and it roughed up a bit.
What about Quebec itself? Did you spot any cute girls?
[Laughs] Yeah, I liked it. Everyone speaks a different language, so that was hard, but it was cool to see something different.
Have you experienced that before, a different language or culture?
No, that was the first time.
I recall in both motos you didn’t have the best starts, but you didn’t have a problem working your way to the front. Take us through your races.
The first moto, I lined up on the outside and I had the first gate pick. I talked to some people and they said the start comes from the left side of the box and that’s the way it looked to me so I went two or three over from the box. I was waiting for everyone to line up to the next to me, but everyone else went way inside. I expected something there because all of the locals know the place. I figured I could keep it on and sweep around the first turn. Two kids got together in front of me and collided and I wheelied over the kid’s bike. I started like 22nd and I just put my head down and rode as hard as I could. It was definitely a lot of work. I was nervous because I wanted to do well and be consistent in the first race. I didn’t think I was back that far until I got going. It was like a 20-minute sprint and I was riding tight and nervous, but the second moto was good. I got a fourth-place start and got into third right away. I caught up to [Kyle] Beaton and [Nick] Evennou and Beaton seemed like he was going over the turns and trying too hard. I could see he was wearing out and got by him. Nick was riding good, too, but I got him and rode smooth. I was having fun because I knew I was riding good.
Have you noticed now that the MX2 class is one series, rather than split into East and West, that the field is deeper?
It’s deeper, for sure, because when I got to eighth and ninth, it was real hard to pass.
I asked Nick Evennou this question on the Moto Show, but I’ll reverse it for you. Next weekend at Gopher Dunes, it’s the last corner, and Nick’s leading, do you show him a wheel?
[Laughs] Well I’ve been racing Arenacross for the past two years. I like Nick and he’s a good kid, but rubbing’s racing. If he leaves the door open, I’m going to sneak in there because I’m racing for the same thing he’s racing for. I don’t want to regret anything.
What have you been up to in the past two years other than Arenacross, because obviously you weren’t in Canada last summer?
Last summer, I dislocated my shoulder. In the winter of `07, during a break in Arenacross, I jacked my shoulder up. I dislocated it one time before and that was the second time. I finished the Arenacross series in fifth and was riding some outdoors, just some local stuff, wheelied into a set of whoops and dropped my front wheel and jerked my shoulder out of place. That was number three. I took a week off and started riding again at home; it didn’t hurt but it felt really loose. I loaded up my stuff and my cousin and I went to High Point. I wanted to get something rolling for the next year. I had a little tip over in practice and my shoulder popped out again. After that, I went home, and it took like 35 minutes to get it back in. I had surgery and was out for four months. I really wasn’t able to train too much and I was nervous heading into Arenacross.
Maier is on the Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki team
No, I did decent at supercross in `06, in my first year doing it. I was out in California and was training hard, but I just got burnt out. It happens with everyone, I think, and I just wanted to enjoy being young and having fun. Life isn’t only about racing. I was still serious and was training, but I didn’t work as hard as the other people, and it showed. Now, I’ve regrouped, I’m fresh and I know what I want to do with my life. Nothing is going to stop me now. I have a trainer working with me now and it’s good. I won’t make that mistake again. I wish I would have done this when I first turned pro, when I was 18 or 19 years old.
Maier is on the Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki team
Well, hey, things happen for a reason. You’ve obviously learned from it and now you’re on a great team and you’re sitting in the driver’s seat of a national championship.
Leading Edge, I mean, Jason’s [Hughes] been great. This is their first year with a semi and Kawi support and he’s doing an awesome job. Pro Circuit did a great job with my bike and the RG3 suspension is awesome. It’s a great package and I’m excited. I didn’t know what to expect with it being a first year deal and it made me nervous, but it’s been awesome. Pat O’Connor is one of the best mechanics I’ve had; I totally trust everything he does.
Thanks a lot, Teddy. Good luck this weekend at Gopher Dunes!