Reed, who won the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open in 2003 and 2004, discussed the highly anticipated race against his rival James Stewart. This weekend will be the first time the two have raced at the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open.
I have two races under my belt on the new bike. My performance at the Motocross des Nations was a career low. I won the other race back home in Australia. The racing was good there, and it is always good when you can win your own race. I started riding this bike about three months ago. It has been tough getting everything sorted out because of my schedule. I have different bikes in different countries and states. Testing is going well. I am looking forward to this weekend.
Pressure is good, and I like to rise to the occasion. I carry a lot of excitement into this event. It is going to be a good time this weekend. I spent seven years in the blue corner, and it is different being on a new team. Even walking into the pits today, I saw my old team there. This is really my first ride. I had some great years with Yamaha, and I am excited for the new challenge with Suzuki. Everyone is great to work with, and they are all very supportive.
If you win, the money comes here. A lot of people look at this race a lot of different ways. Since May, I have been pretty busy, so I am looking forward to getting back into race mode. I think I have a shot at this thing. There is $250,000 on the line this weekend, and last year I left it on the table.
We all learned a lot in a short amount of time on the bike. I grew up on Suzukis, and a lot of the good memories I have from back in the day are from me on a Suzuki. I wanted a bike that doesn’t bog anymore, and this bike doesn’t bog. The bike suits my style; you can ride it like a two-stroke. I look forward to testing it out this weekend.
I wanted to race on my terms with Roger DeCoster and the Suzuki team, and I literally just signed my contract 30 minutes ago. I did have a letter of intent, but I just signed today. I was in a good position because all of my contracts were up, so I was able to re-evaluate where I was and where I want to go. Doing supercross only the last two years, I was able to achieve some things like my supercross series in Australia.
Langston, who won last year’s Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open, has put his professional racing career on hold due to a tumor behind his eye. He recently had surgery to help isolate the tumor during treatments of radiation. Despite the touchy situation, he was optimistic and hopes to return to racing if his body lets him.
My condition changed the past few months, actually the past year. I had an eye issue and was able to figure out what the problem was. They determined that it was a cancerous tumor. I had surgery in my eye, and they put a plate in my eye to protect me from the radiant to kill off the cancer. I caught it early, so that is good news. As far as my eyesight is concerned, there is a good chance that it can improve. Long term, I may lose site in that eye. I have my fingers crossed. I would love to be back here racing next year. I will get to cheer on my buddies racing this weekend from the VIP section. You get dealt cards in life and you deal with them.
Now it’s a waiting game and I will wait it out. As soon as someone mentions the word cancer, it puts a different point of view on the situation. I made sure I saw the best doctors I could. I got a lot of opinions, knowledge and information to make, what I believe, was an informed decision. I was dragging my feet when they talked about radiation. I scratched for a new theory that would not call for that procedure, but I feel comfortable that I made the right decision. I feel that the one good thing is that the tumor is very isolated, and that will stop it from spreading. If it does spread, it could be detrimental in the end.
I really enjoy this race. When I crossed the finish line last year, I didn’t think I won. I knew I was on the podium, but I did not know I won. This is such a unique race for all of us because we are in the MGM Grand for four days. Another interesting thing from last year was that the top five riders from Friday night were on the ground on Saturday night. That was pretty ironic. Everything I touched last year turned to gold. This is a famous venue and that says a lot for the sport.
When I was at home thinking about things, I did think about retiring all together. I was actually going to announce my retirement today. I laid in bed many nights thinking about it. My Dad was always a tough guy and the driving force in my career, but he came to me and said, ‘I would be ok with it if you quit.’ Many friends and family suggested I stop racing, but the problem is that in my heart. I don’t want to say I am going to quit. I love the sport so much, and I sit here and look at the track and miss everything. I would love to come back and race. I have met so many cool people in my career. Mentally I feel like I need to be out there. I am the kind of person that sticks to something once I make a decision. If my eye does not improve, I will not risk returning to racing. Seeing enough is not good enough for our sport. You need to be able to see everything. The simple fact is that I would love to race.
The long-awaited, mega-hyped legend’s rematch race with Bradshaw and Matiasevich will unfold tomorrow night for the first of two nights of nostalgic racing. The two didn’t hold back too much when discussing their rivalry.
Bradshaw: I have a lot going on with Monster Jam™ with the U.S. Air Force Afterburner. There is not a lot of pressure. I enjoy it, and just got back from Holland a few days ago.
Matiasevich: I took three or four years off, and went to work at my Dad’s produce company. I try and ride once a week, and I have stepped up my program. It feels good to get back on the bike. It’s the timing that is hard. Your brain knows how to do something, but then you go off the track. Some things have come back, but it is the little things that count.
Bradshaw: I feel better than I thought. With being so busy, it is hard to start riding, but I took it slow. The last few weeks I have been riding supercross. I have been jumping stuff that I did not want to. I am trying to get my speed back. As Jeff said, the timing thing is tough. Things are a lot bigger than what I am used to. It took me about three times to put a supercross track together. I am ready to go racing.
Matiasevich: Out of all of the years that we raced together, we never sat this close to one another (They were seated next to one another at the press conference). We both wanted to win. Neither one of us were looking for a friend back then, so when the gate dropped, and I had an opportunity, sometimes things happened. When this race came about, I figured I would be here watching anyway, so it sounded all good to me to come here and race.
I think our rivalry started before I really knew Jeff. I do not know if it was a East Coast/West Coast deal. It always seemed like we were rivals. I enjoyed it, and it really motivated me. Regardless of anyone, I wanted to win every weekend. I did not really think about championships. I thought about each race. We both came up racing on opposite coasts. In Paris Bercy Damon’s throttle must have been stuck because I was thrown into a wall and it hurt. I was up against the wall. They thought I ruptured my spleen. I was like, ‘I am gonna kill this dude.’
Bradshaw: What I remember about the crash at Bercy was the sound of it. I hoped it was his bike hitting the wall, not him. There were deliberate times when anger took over, though. My back is starting to sweat right now thinking about all of this. I can’t believe that I am going back to battle. I was always coming through the pack trying to pass Jeff. I raced against guys the way I wanted to be raced against.
Matiasevich: During the week when you went home and I didn’t feel like riding, Damon helped me get motivated. When we passed one another we had to get away really quick because the other one was coming back. It was a little more physical back then. We took it to another level. I do not recall even spending time in a room with him. I do not know if he was good at hiding or I was good at hiding. It was probably better that we never saw one another.
Bradshaw: Tempers would rise in the qualifiers and go into the main. I wanted to win, and I think the fans liked it. I remember getting together with Jeff in Atlanta one time in a qualifier and it got me going. This is going to be fun racing here. It’s going to be a battle. Maybe there should be a cage down on the floor instead of a race track.
Tickets are now available for the 10th anniversary of the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas October 10-12, 2008 at www.ussx.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 702-474-4000 or the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office. Regarded as one of off-road motorcycling’s premier races, the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open is the final ‘major’ race of the motocross season. Tickets are available for as low as $20 through Ticketmaster.com. All tickets subject to 5% Las Vegas Entertainment tax.