Racer X: A while back, you took some time off from racing. How many years off was it? One or two? Daniel Blair: Two years off...
Was it easier than you thought when you came back at the beginning of the year? Or was it harder?
It was harder. It took me a while to get back going, and last year, I felt pretty good, but when I showed up to race, the pace had gotten so much faster. I thought I was riding really good, and when I showed up, everyone was going so much faster that I could definitely tell that being off for that couple of years took its toll because I came back from where I was, and everyone else was just faster. I was a lot further behind than I thought I was going to be.
But you still made mains and whatnot, so it wasn’t a horrible year, was it?
No, it was good. I thought I rode pretty decent, and I made the mains when it was dry. I definitely wasn’t even close when it was muddy, though. I don’t know what the deal is. I live in northern California, and it rains a lot, but for some reason, I just could not ride the mud last year. But when it was dry, I rode good. I had a good Heat race at one of the Anaheims, and my laptimes were always decent, and in general, it was a pretty decent year. I wasn’t very upset with it, but it was definitely below my expectations. It was still good enough to keep me going, though, and bring me back another year.
Now that you’re back for another year, how is your program coming together?
To tell you the truth, this has been probably the easiest year for me setting up my program ever. I think it has to do with a lot of things: Number one, because the economy’s so bad, a lot of the big teams are struggling, and I think companies, at least for me – I’m looking mainly for product deals – it hasn’t been that much of an issue at all. I’ve had a really easy time with my old sponsors and getting new ones, so it’s definitely easy. And second, I did pretty decent at the U.S. Open, so that helped me to keep my relationships going with everyone. Overall, the program has been pretty easy to put together. My biggest problem has been getting myself ready. That’s been the real challenge the last few months. Otherwise, it’s been pretty easy this year.
You’re married, and don’t you have kids?
No, not yet. I’m married, but I don’t have any kids yet. I have a cat!
Oh, I thought you had kids already...
I’m trying! I’m married, and we’ve been trying to have kids for the last few months, and I don’t know if there’s something wrong with my equipment or what... I don’t know if it’s that I’ve been seat-bouncing too much stuff lately, but we’re at that point where financially we’re doing pretty well, and we’re pretty much ready to have kids, and honestly it feels like a job because I’ve been on the clock for the last three months trying to get the thing done, but I don’t know what the deal is.
That might change things down the road, though, if you have kids. You might all of a sudden not have as much time to put into your racing. Have you thought about that?
Yeah, I have, but I’m really coming to a point in my life where I need to either take the next step with racing or get the hell out of the sport – not out completely, but out of chasing the dream. I’ll always race locally and stuff because I’m addicted to it. Motocross is a serious drug, and I’m stuck on it, but as far as a career goes, I really am to that point where I need to either take a step forward or take a step out, and I think having a kid is something that I want to do regardless, and if things go good for me this year, and I can take this step forward, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem. But I’m definitely looking forward to being a dad and starting a new chapter in my life. I’m excited for that.
Talk us through how your deal is structured this year.
I’ve been putting this thing together now for the last six months or so, slowly, and I’ve made some big changes in my program. Number one, I’m going to be riding Hondas this year, so that’s a big change for me because I’ve been on Yamahas for pretty much my entire pro career. That’s a big change for me that I’m really excited about, and then I’ve added a bunch of new sponsors. I’ll be wearing No Fear gear, using Jardine Exhausts, and then I have Factory Backing graphics, and then I have the same sponsors as I’ve had for a long time, like Renthal, Dunlop, Scott Goggles, Ride Engineering, and all of my other ones, so that’s been really good. The biggest thing right now for me is just recently, within the last week or so, I put a deal together with Moto XXX, so that’s going to be a really big thing for me this year.
What does that entail?
The details aren’t completely finalized yet, but they’re stepping up big to help me out. It’s cool for them because they’re stepping in a different direction and going more toward their roots, which is bringing out the box van and doing the whole rebel thing against the factories – being a privateer team and going back to their roots. That works perfect with me because I’m on my own, and I don’t have anything conflicting with them, so it just makes perfect sense. Plus, with me being in a band [The Main Event], and Jordan Burns [of Strung Out] being the owner of the team, we already have a connection in another sense. So, all in all, it’s going to work out perfectly as soon as everything is finalized.
If you win a main, are you planning on ghost-riding the bike like Brian Deegan did when he was a privateer riding out of a Moto XXX box van?
Yeah, I think so. Honda pays pretty good, so I’ll definitely need that money to fix my bike back up afterward, but yeah. If I win a main event, for sure I’ll be pulling a “Deegan” and launching my bike. Although I’ll probably be kicked out of the AMA, because I don’t think they go for that stuff anymore... I mean, he beat Kevin Windham, so why couldn’t I pull something like that too? [Laughs]
Who would you like to thank for supporting you into 2009, besides who you’ve already thanked?
I want to thank TCCI, which is a company that is helping me out financially with a lot of my expenses. They’re not in the motocross industry. It’s actually a company that my dad works for, and the owner, Sean, is a motorcycle enthusiast and a friend, and he’s helping me out with my expenses this year, so I want to thank them. I’d also like to thank my friend Juan, who actually took me to races in Mexico and has helped me with some support with bikes. He’s actually bought me some bikes and let me use them for the year. And finally, I’d just like to thank all my friends and family for stickin’ with me and riding this rollercoaster with me for the last bunch of years I’ve been pro now.
Thanks a lot, Daniel.
Right on, dude.
Daniel's 2009 Sponsors: TCCI, MotoXXX, CR1, EVOMX.com, Renthal, Ride Engineering, Jardine Exhaust, Rekluse Clutches, Factory Backing, No Fear, TCR, Scott Goggles, EVS, Dunlop, Eternal, Faultline Powersports, Juan Luvano, Bruce Slaten, Hart and Huntington Tattoo, Airide Suspension, Guts Racing