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Monday Conversation: Chad Reed

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed has had a hectic couple of weeks. Last week, both ill and injured, he struggled to seventh place in the main event and lost the points lead to his championship rival James Stewart. This week in Salt Lake City, he was battling with Stewart when he was hit by Stewart’s lapped teammate Kyle Chisholm, costing him time on the track. We started there with Reed following his second-place finish in Salt Lake City. We’ll follow up with Stewart’s interview tomorrow.

Racer X: Let’s start with the elephant in the room: While running second to James Stewart, you guys lapped his teammate Kyle Chisholm, and I couldn’t see what happened where I was standing. What happened?
Chad Reed: I felt like I was in a great position. I was right on him [Stewart], and I felt like I had some good lines and I was putting it together, and he [Chisholm] pulled right out of the way and let James by, and then the next turn, he kind of raced in there, kind of like I had to be pretty aggressive to actually make the pass on him. I was on the outside, and I was thinking, “God, that’s kind of weird.” Then I go into the next turn, not even thinking about it – my mind was on the job, and that was to stay glued to James’ rear wheel and go for it – and I was getting ready to mid-turn exit, and Chisholm just came right up under there and hit me pretty hard. But what can you do? You’ve got people paying your bills and they’re telling you what to do.

I remember you complaining a year or two ago, when Nathan Ramsey was your teammate on the L&M team, but was hurt, that you didn’t have a teammate out there to help you out...
It has nothing to do with Nathan Ramsey being injured. Nathan Ramsey is a good guy. He’s a straight-up guy, and if anybody told him what to do, he’d just be like, “No way. I don’t roll like that.” I guess that’s why me and Nathan didn’t fit on that team.

All right... In this race, though, you didn’t have a teammate. He didn’t make the main event...
I think Mike [Alessi] had an off week. He wasn’t feeling that great. I know during the day, he was a little under the weather. I don’t know what happened in the Last Chance, but I would imagine he didn’t holeshot, but that dude doesn’t miss two starts in a row, and he’ll be back next week, and he’ll be in that main event, and I think at the start, he’ll be up there. I feel confident. He’s a good rider to have on your side.

You’re laughing now. You’ve got a smile on your face, but I know that’s a frustration thing...
No, I mean, seriously, what do you do? I felt like I rode one of the better races that I have. I felt much, much better than I have over the last month, and you’ve got to be happy with that. I was in a great position. I was sitting there right on his wheel, and he was making a few little mistakes here and there, and the track was breaking down... It was tough. I was just trying to go for it and put myself in a good position, and I felt like I did that tonight. When a teammate does that to you, what do you do? You want to be mad, but I know I’m going to sleep tonight knowing that I gave it everything that I had and I was true to myself. That’s all that matters. That’s why, more than racing and more than anything, being on this Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team, I really believe that they’ve made me a better person this year...

Not just a better rider...
No, I feel like I’m a better person, and that’s huge. I’ll take that, champion or no champion. I’ve grown a lot, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and Roger DeCoster and his team staff are great role models.

Let’s talk a little bit about last week, because nobody really wanted to bother you after the main event, but there were rumors that you were sick. What was going on?
The truth is, I’ve been sick for a while now. I kind of had a small finger on the pulse of knowing what it is, but it’s been a long process. I haven’t been able to keep food down, and every time I’d eat, it would come back up. It’s been since Atlanta. After Atlanta, I had just explosive vomiting, and I’m not a person that enjoys vomiting at all [laughs]. Normally, when I vomit, I don’t really remember it [laughs]. Not that I should say that on this thing, but normally you don’t want to be in a condition where you remember it, and being right after the race and stuff, it was really, really rough. From Atlanta on, it’s been really difficult. I dropped a lot of weight. The week before Jacksonville and 10 days after that, I was on a liquid-only diet. That was all I could keep down. So I showed up in Seattle without the greatest preparation you could have, and I didn’t ride... I rode twice during the break: once on the Saturday of the weekend off, and then on the next Wednesday, and I had a huge crash, went over the bars and knocked myself out...

So it was a whole lot of things...
It was a whole lot of things, for sure. I feel like I got all my shit out of the way at once, and I believe that good things happen to good people. This thing’s far from over. I’m looking forward to next week.

We also have all these rumors about the nationals. Can you talk at all about that?
What rumors?

Oh, you know, some people are saying there is going to be a 22 bike on the line at the nationals every race.
Oh, I don’t know. I’ll tell you one thing: I have a flight booked for 10:30 Sunday night out of LAX to Sydney, so I’ll be on that plane with my wife, Ell, and we’ll be going back to Oz.

And then you’re going to come back and race the nationals...
I haven’t ridden outdoors since the Motocross des Nations, haven’t tested, and haven’t even ridden my track at home, so... These guys, you see it on Racer X Films, with Shorty out there and all these guys, since mathematically no one has a shot at this title other than James and I, they’re riding their butts off outdoors. I haven’t ridden once. I don’t think that would be good preparation, going to Oz and doing stuff back there.

So that means you’re not riding the nationals?
I would say there’s a good chance you won’t see me at Glen Helen. But if you do, that would be nice, huh?

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