5 Minutes with... Mike Brown

October 14, 2008 11:34am | by:
When he returned from his recent stint in Europe on the Grand Prix circuit, Tennessee's Mike Brown competed in a few events for Yamaha of Troy before signing with the Red Bull KTM off-road team to contest WORCS events. With no conflicting WORCS events, the 36-year-old drove up to Ohio to compete in the recent Columbus EnduroCross, where he finished an impressive fourth overall on his KTM 450. We spoke with him after the event.

Racer X: Well, Mike, how are you finding the whole off-road WORCS and EnduroCross scene?
Mike Brown: It’s good. It’s definitely a lot more laid-back than the motocross and supercross stuff. It’s kind of what I’ve been looking for. I did all the motocross and supercross forever, and now it’s time for a change. I still love riding motorcycles, but I guess you can only compete with those young guys for so long - it’s now time for me to move on and do something different. I still like racing, and this is a good opportunity for me to keep on going. I think that, in off-road, you can go for a little bit longer in your age group.

  • Mike Brown at a recent EnduroCross
Even when you returned from Europe earlier this summer and raced for Yamaha of Troy, I heard some rumors you were thinking off-road. Have you been considering this for a while?
Oh, for sure. Since the end of last year, I wanted to do something like this. I’ve grown up always riding the trails and doing off-road stuff. It’s something new, and I believe that you can do it later in your years. It’s more of a family sport. You go there and everybody talks. It’s friendly—that’s the best thing about it, really.

Have you found that your motocross and supercross skills have helped you in off-road?
It’s different, for sure. You’re riding two hours in the WORCS races and three hours in the GNCCs, so the endurance is a little bit different. The EnduroCross I’m doing tonight is one of the hardest, most technical things that I’ve ever ridden. I think that the rock section here is really hard. If you had it in a trail just normal play riding around, it wouldn’t be so bad, but to get here and try and race through it, it gets wet and slippery. That makes it ten times as worse. I’m sure motocross has to help, though; doing supercross this many years, and now hitting the logs, and the rocks and some jumps are similar. But for sure, EnduroCross is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Let’s move to WORCS racing. How cool was that that you got a podium in your very first race?
It was for sure nice to get a good start to racing the full season next year. Some of the top guys weren’t there, but I stayed with Bobby Bonds the whole time. He’s one of the fastest guys out there – him and Huffman. I was with those guys at the finish, so it was good. It’s kind of like old times, from racing with Huffman and Bonds and all the others.
What about EnduroCross?
I’d never ridden one until I went to South Carolina a few weeks ago, and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The logs and the big tires aren’t so bad, but they've got the loose rocks that are the hardest part of it all. Then they have the big boulder sections. As I may have said, if it was just play riding, it wouldn’t be so bad to get through them, but when you try to race through them and somebody’s in your way, it makes it hard to get through there. I don’t know how to explain it, but trying to race this stuff is hard.

Have your competitors welcomed you based on your well-known motocross career?
They’ve been good. It seems like I’ve gotten along with everybody. I’ve known many of the guys, like Huffman, ever since motocross. Everybody’s treating me really good, and I say thanks to KTM—it’s like a family sport here. They have a really good team and I’ve been racing against these guys for a long time. It’s good to be a part of their team.

  • Brown finished ninth at this past weekend's Powerline Park GNCC in Ohio
What other racing do you have coming up this fall?
Soon I’ll do the last WORCS race in California, then the last EnduroCross in Las Vegas in November. In between there, I’ve got a few supercrosses that I will do in Europe, and that’s about it, really. All together I’ve got six supercrosses to do in Europe between now and Christmas.

Do you have the same deal for next year, kind of WORCS, GNCC, and EnduroCross?
It’s mostly just WORCS races, but I’ll probably do some GNCCs or EnduroCross that don’t clash with the WORCS schedules. I just want to do as much as I can. The more I ride and get into this stuff, the more it will help me overall in the WORCS series, which is my focus, the number-one thing they want me to do.

You came into off-road midseason this year. Can next year be a championship year for you in WORCS?
That’d be great. These guys have got it down pat. They’re fast, but we’ll see. Over the winter, I’ll work hard at what I need to work on. I think working on those things, and then being consistent at the WORCS races for two hours, and I’ll do well.

How is it now with your current schedule of racing and being back home? It must be a big thing for you and your family.
Oh, for sure it’s good. The last year and half, I’ve been in Europe and I haven’t been home very much. It feels funny now, being at home every week and going back home after the race. Sometimes I even get to go home right after the race and get into my own bed. It’s great, and I’ve missed it a lot. I have two new kids. There was basically one whole year that I missed. Now I’m having a good time being at home doing other stuff and being with the kids all the time.

You’re permanent #3 right now. Any chance we’ll see you at any motocrosses next year?
Yeah, for sure. Hopefully, I can do Glen Helen next year. If not, I’ll be at one of them for sure to try to keep my number. I still like doing motocross, and if I can do one or two, that’d be great.