5 Minutes with... Broc Hepler

Yamaha’s Broc Hepler has had a heck of a couple of years. When he’s healthy, he’s fast, but he hasn’t been healthy very much. In his first 450cc supercross at Anaheim I, he didn’t even make it to the night show before he broke a collarbone. But at Atlanta, he ran second for a long time, and finally at New Orleans, he grabbed his first 450cc podium.

Racer X: At Atlanta, you ran up front for quite a long time. What’s been going on between then and now? Just bad starts, or what?
Broc Hepler: I don’t know. I mean, yeah, I didn’t get the greatest starts the last two weekends – at Daytona and Indianapolis – but my speed wasn’t quite there yet, either, to come through the pack. I’ve been struggling with getting the tracks dialed in quick, to be faster than the other guys, and it’s hard for me to play catch-up.

You were caught up in the first turn at Daytona, right?
Yeah, I had to come to a stop. I didn’t actually wreck, but I had to come to a halt.

I would’ve assumed that you would’ve done well at Daytona since you’re fast outdoors, too.
Well, I like how the laps are longer there, and it’s pretty rough, but I hate the sand, so...

So you got a good start this weekend, and you were up front with those guys again, and besides that one rhythm section, you were basically on pace with the top couple guys, too. Talk about the main event last weekend.
I mean, I got a fourth-place start, and I think I got Alessi there a few corners from the get-go, and I was able to hang with Chad until about the third lap, and then he picked up a few lines, and I wasn’t ready to bust out that rhythm they were doing. That was a big-time loser right there, but I felt comfortable with the pace I was running, and Alessi was staying right on me, but I felt good. I just kind of hung in there and did what I could with how fast I wanted to go.

How did it feel, after all of the injuries, to finally put that bike up on the box?
I said it before, but I didn’t really get to enjoy the race. Windham was catching me a little bit there after halfway, and I was kind of worried. I didn’t want to lose third place when I had such a good opportunity. So I didn’t really get to enjoy it until after the race. I didn’t think a podium would come this quick, with some of the bad weekends I’ve had recently. I’m struggling a lot in practice to get going quick – to get my laptimes down on new tracks.

How does your style on a 450 match up with your style on a 250F? And how was it to adapt to the bigger bike?
I don’t know, I think supercross on a 450 is easier and it’s harder. The 450 has more weight, so it’s harder to turn and throw around, but then you have more power to do all the jumps. It’s give and take. I don’t think either one really suits my style better than the other. It all equals out. It’s still a Yamaha dirt bike.

After the race, they had the random drug-test thing again, and I know you got pulled in there. What was going on? You were down there for hours.
Well, you use a good bit of your water in a 20-lap main, so you don’t have much hydration left. They want 90cc, and that’s a little hard to do right after your 20-lap moto. I figured it was kind of lax, the testing, but it was real professional. I figured you’d be able to cheat – like if someone wanted to cheat on the test, they’d be able to. But that guy didn’t take his eyes off you. He was like, “Take your shirt off, have your pants down to your knees,” and he didn’t take his eyes off you. But that’s what we need, to make sure everyone is doing what they should be doing.

That’s got to be somewhat uncomfortable, though!
I think it’s good. I think everyone should be tested sooner or later throughout the year. I think it’s a good thing.

Are you looking forward to outdoors on the 450?
At this point, I’m not really looking at the outdoors. I think we have six more races, I believe, so I’m not really looking at that yet. Once we get that weekend off, I’ll start riding some outdoors and getting that setup going, but right now, I’m just going to ride supercross all week and try to keep improving and do what I did this weekend.

Congratulations on your podium this weekend.
Thank you.