5 Minutes with...Andrew Short

Now a solid fifth in the Racer X Power Rankings — only behind Stewart, Villopoto, Dungey, and Ferry – Andrew Short is currently the most consistent racer in the sport. The Colorado native is getting ready to head to Las Vegas this weekend to line up for the 2008 Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open. Short is looking for that elusive first 450F win of his career, and the MGM Grand could be just the place to make it happen.

Racer X: Andrew, what are you up to today?
Andrew Short: Just doing the usual drill. I went riding this morning, and I just got done doing a little bit of cycling. Lately I’ve just been trying to get everything reorganized for the following year. I have two big races coming up with the U.S. Open and then, following that, the All Japan National, so I have some exciting things going.

  • Andrew Short
Have you done the All Japan race before?
Yeah, I did it last year and it was a really great experience. I get to spend a lot of time with the Japanese and the engineers and with a lot of people that put a lot of things into the race team at American Honda.

So you’ve been riding the 2009 CRF450R a lot then?
Yeah, and it’s been kind of difficult because we’ve really been trying to get the bike ready for supercross, which is great. Also, we’ve been trying to concentrate on that last race in Japan. It’s been a little bit difficult—we’ve kind of been double dipping with testing—but we’re learning all kinds of new things about the new bike in both conditions, and it’s been fun. With a new bike, it’s always a fun thing. It’s new and exciting and kind of adds that joy of going out to the track in the morning. It’s a fresh base to start off of.

As far as the motorcycles go, do you like the research and development process of motocross?
Yeah, it’s something you kind of grow into. You know, the first year at Honda, I didn’t really know how to have a feel or have a direction of what I felt would benefit me. Those guys have taught me a lot from the chassis side and motor side of things. It’s crazy how much work and effort the teas put into the bikes and how much those little things make on race day. It’s been a fun thing to learn and develop a skill as a race, but also as a test rider. I do enjoy it. I think it’s cool just to see the difference in things and to see the benefits of how it can help you. That’s the thrilling part of it, I guess for the team and me.

How is it being on a big team? You’re on a team with Ivan Tedesco, Ben Townley and Davi Millsaps. That’s a big team in this day and age.
It is a big team, and I guess it’s always kind of been that way since I’ve been at Honda. There has been Ernie [Fonseca] and Jeremy [McGrath]. Kevin [Windham] was basically a part of our team, but his bike was just under another truck. I think it’s great because we have a lot of personalities and opinions to develop a bike. And we can hang out with one another when we are testing. You get a lot of good conversations and different ways of looking at life. And that part is cool because everybody there has a common consensus of how they love bikes and dirt bikes and racing, but when you get to talking about other things in life and what makes each guy happy, it’s cool and it’s a lot of fun. It’s been a shame that [Ben] Townley has been hurt so much that I have not been able to spend much time with him. But with Ivan, I’ve grown up with him since I was a little kid and Davi and I have been on the team for practically the same amount of time, so we’re all pretty good friends. I think it it’s pretty cool to have a big team and I think it’s a benefit for everyone at Honda.

While fans show up at a stadium and it’s all excitement and glamour, they may not realize how many hours you guys put in at the test track. The testing and riding can go on for days and turn into grunt work…
Yeah, but that grunt work is a blessing. It’s like we’re driving to the test track at 8 in the morning and we’re passing everybody on the freeway who is going to a desk job and we’re going to do what we love. It’s pretty amazing and I feel very fortunate to be able to do tat. Sometimes it sucks, but not in the grand scheme of things. It’s a great job and I’m really fortunate to have a great bike and mechanic and all the parts that I want. After a while you kind of get used to that and might take it for granted, but sometimes it’s good to have a gut check to realize how fortunate you are. I love it. I know it’s not going to last forever. It could be two years or four years or 10 years, but for the time being, I feel fortunate and I love what I do. I’ll always be out riding.

You’re set to race the U.S. Open this weekend. I know you’ve always been a fan of the event. Are you looking forward to it?
I am. I’ve always had some good runs but have never had very much good luck. There were times I was sick, my bike broke … I got into it once with Mike Brown when I was the Motoworld team. Me and him were dicing for the win and I came out the bad end of that. Last year [Chad] Reed and I had a run-in. It seems like every year there is some big event or situation that doesn’t go my way, but I enjoy the tight track and the atmosphere at the hotel and the race. It just seems like a great event for fans and riders. I think it’s more relaxed, too. It’s not so uptight like a typical supercross or motocross because there’s no points—it’s more go-for-broke. I dig that, and I can’t wait for the upcoming weekend just because of all these reasons.

Come race time on Friday night, both Chad Reed and James Stewart will be racing for new teams for the first time. Can you use their unfamiliarity to your advantage?
I think everybody is in a transition period right now. You know, going from motocross to supercross or adjusting to a new bike or whatnot. I don’t know how much of an advantage that will be for me because I’m adapting to a new bike, as well. James is going to be fast no matter what. The same with Chad and everybody else. I think once we line up on the gate, it’ll be the same old thing. It’ll be good to see where all of our equipment lines up.

Can you win this one, and if you did, would it mean a lot to you?
Yeah, it would be awesome. It seems like every year there’s a big upset. Like that year [Jeff] Emig won [1999]. And last year with the big crash in the second race. That big crash in the first time turned everything upside. It’s a race where there are lots of upsets and it may be that the fastest guy doesn’t always win, but the smartest and most consistent guy over the two nights who can pull it off. I think I have a great chance as long as I use my head and stay out of trouble.

So your goal is to go there and win it?
Yeah, it is. You never know what’s going to happen with racing and that’s the beauty of it.

You were third overall in the 2008 supercross series and third in the AMA National Championship. If you were to add up every rider’s combined point totals in both supercross and motocross in 2008, you were the number-one rider in America. Pretty interesting when you think about it, huh?
You know, it was exactly that. I was really consistent. I never really had a standout ride or anything really drastic, but I was always there, and I had a lot of fun and it was a great year. Some of the old timers think the Grand National Champion theory or idea is great, so I thought it was pretty cool to look back on that. However, obviously, it wasn’t something I was going for or anything like that. I had a lot of fun and I got a lot of great experience in what was basically my first full year in that 450 class. It was cool. It was a great base to build on for next year.

Do you have a preference between supercross and outdoor motocross or do you enjoy them equally?
I don’t care. I could go out and trail ride and have fun. It doesn’t matter to me. As long as the promoter is putting in his best effort and it’s safe, I’m all about riding my dirt bike. It doesn’t matter to me.