Monday Conversation II: Blake Wharton

March 23, 2009 6:15am | by:
GEICO Powersports Honda’s Blake Wharton has done what very few supercross rookies have done – won a supercross race. Steadily improving over the last few weeks, he got his first Heat win and podium last weekend in New Orleans, and followed that up with a holeshot-to-finish romp to win his first race this weekend in St. Louis. We talked to him after the race.

Racer X: It looks like your winning the Lites main tonight hasn’t even hit you yet. How do you feel?
Blake Wharton: It hit me, but I have good reflexes, so I dodged it! [Laughs] It was a good race. I got a good start and rode my own race, pretty much. I liked the track. The layout was good. I think it was different, and obviously I won on it, and it was my first win on [Travis] Pastrana’s layout, so he did a good job, in my opinion! So, if he makes more tracks, that would be good!

What have you done to fix your starts?
Just practice them. That’s all you can do. You never really have race conditions. It’s not like you have 20 or 40 riders in your back yard to do starts. It’s tough. We just figured out what was wrong with them – my bike’s great, and it’s fast enough to get a holeshot from anywhere – so it was up to me. I go to the line and I know that, so I’ve just got to nail it down, you know? Racing pro and amateur are different – a lot different – because there are faster guys, and they all want to get the holeshot, so that window of opportunity is even smaller. But I hope to continue to improve my starts, basically.

You led from early in the race, but I never saw you look back a single time, or even wonder who was behind you or anything. What were you thinking about while you were out there?
I was thinking about how I was going to be smooth, because if you worry about what’s behind you, then that’s taking the focus off of what’s in front of you. In supercross, you’ve got to be paying attention at all times, and focus on what’s ahead. I didn’t want to look back, and I didn’t even know how big of a lead I had. I just went across the finish line and looked back and had a good distance. If you’re looking back or thinking about what’s behind you, you’re going to crash or something dumb, so...

  • Blake Wharton (center) celebrates with team manager JC Waterhouse (left) and mechanic Jeremy Hoyer (right).
Late in the race, still leading it, were you getting nervous at all?
I knew I was in first, so there’s that feeling, but I didn’t look back, and if I would’ve looked back, I might’ve gotten more nervous. But I didn’t really get too bad. I just rode smooth and flowed on the track, and I think that was the big thing.

Well, Nico Izzi was behind you for a long time, then dropped off the pace really suddenly. It looked almost like he gave up because there was nothing he could do with you out front.
I knew they were there for a while, and you don’t want to fault under pressure, basically. And then you look up and you’ve got a lead, so... [Laughs] I don’t know, that’s basically all I did! I just kept my head up and looked forward, and didn’t worry about what was behind me.

Now that you’ve done this, you know you have the speed to win, so...
Winning a supercross is tough, that’s for sure, but get a holeshot, and put your head down and go forward, and you never know what’s going to happen.

How did your hair help you this week?
See, how it helped me was, there were a couple sections on the track that were tricky, and my hair created the proper aerodynamics to keep me flowing in the right direction.

Yeah, so it’s always a benefit.

People talk about your hair, but they don’t seem to be able to understand...
They don’t understand the physics behind it! You’ve got to get Bill Nye the Science Guy on it, and he’ll show you guys what it’s doing. There’s a plus to it, for sure. It’s true.

Did you thank your hair on the podium?
No, they didn’t give me much time. They always like rushing me when I get on the podium. [Laughs]