5 Minutes With... Kevin Windham

January 21, 2009 9:00am | by:
GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham is a rider who wears his heart on his sleeve. If you find him in the pits with a smile that can’t be wiped off, he’s probably going to win the race. Well, at the first couple of rounds, this Windham was absent, as he didn’t feel comfortable with his bike at all. But a late-week test session before Anaheim II changed that, and the result was a Kevin Windham that led more than half of the race, and finished on the box for the first time in 2009.

Racer X: How much better do you feel now that you’ve actually gotten a clear track, rode up front, and just rode like Kevin Windham again?
Kevin Windham: I feel great right now. I’m on Cloud Nine, and I really feel like I won tonight. It’s kind of silly to say, but the enthusiasm I have right now, and the way I feel, it feels just like a win. It was a very slow start to the season, which is obviously not what I was hoping for, and to be there today wasn’t really like a fluke to me. [Ryan] Villopoto was there, Josh Grant was there, and Chad [Reed] rode incredibly well to come back and catch us. But still, all in all, the guys were there, and to hold James [Stewart] back that long was something that I couldn’t have done at round one. I’m very happy, and it was a great success for us tonight.

When you’re out there with a clear track, that’s when Kevin Windham is at his best, right? Were you just thinking about getting away? What was going through your head?
I think this track, tonight, was kind of conducive to not getting away, but also, maybe it’s my fault, but I don’t really think of getting away from James. The reality is that I’m not as fast as him right now, and I knew he was right there, so I was pretty dog-gone pumped with holding him behind me, much less getting away. To be honest with you, I didn’t ride behind me, I just let the race happen like it was going to happen, and if he caught me, he caught me, and if he didn’t, he didn’t. I just wasn’t worried about the stuff behind me. I really just wanted to ride my own race.

It must’ve happened at least four or five times while you were leading that the crowd went nuts. Were you wondering what the heck was going on back there?
No, I knew. Every time they yelled like that, it flashed back to A1, and I’m thinking, “Okay, did they just bump? Or did he pass him? Or did they go down?” If they went down, then that turns into more of a charging scenario to try and get a good little lead. Obviously, I was watching the race behind me as much as I could, so I figured Josh [Grant] and James [Stewart] were getting together, and there was a lot of talk about this being a one-lined track and saying that people couldn’t pass, but somehow Chad came from last to second, and James came through a few. The good guys will always find a way to get to the front, and tonight, I was just glad I was able to be there with them. It didn’t feel like a fluke to me. It really felt good to be there.

Do you feel like that’s you now? With the progress you’re making, do you feel like you belong back up front again for good?
Yeah. I think I’ve openly throughout my career kind of stated my downfalls, and feeling at home on the bike is a big necessity for me, and I feel like we’re getting closer. We’re getting to where we need to be. We’re moving in the right direction, and that’s all I can hope for right now. Things are going good.

{LINKS}The next race is almost a home race, and it usually is your “home race”, except this year we have New Orleans on the schedule. Are you headed back home?
I am. I’m going to fly out in about four hours. I’m dreading the flight tomorrow, but I just want to get home and try to watch some football. Really, to go to Houston, regardless of if it’s however far it is from my house in comparison to New Orleans, it’s kind of irrelevant. To me, it’s just getting home and seeing the kids. I’ve been out here [in California] since the first of January, and any fathers out there know that’s a long time to be away from the kids. So, going home for two weeks is going to be good to charge the batteries. I love being out on the west coast, and I love what we’ve been able to accomplish, and the crowds, and the races, and the weather of course, but having those kids at home, and being close to my friends and family, and people I haven’t seen in three weeks, it’s a big deal. And that’s what makes a home race. It’s not really the track or the dirt, it’s the people that are around, and that will be enough to charge my batteries and get out here and finish out the west-coast rounds.