5 Minutes With... Trey Canard

April 30, 2009 8:00am | by:
A year after winning a championship in his first attempt, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard finally got back up on top of the podium at the Salt Lake City Supercross. We talked to him a couple days after the race to see how he was doing.

Racer X: This was a good Trey Canard day. You won your heat race, and you won the main event. Talk us through how it went from your perspective.
Trey Canard: I’d been feeling good on the bike the whole break, and things were coming together for me during the week, and I was feeling better on the bike all the time. Seattle went good for me speedwise and I gained a little confidence there, and at Salt Lake, I just had another good day. I felt good in practice, which I hadn’t been where I wanted to be in practice. I wasn’t first in practice, but third was okay. Practice was good, and I felt good with the bike. I got a good start in the heat race and won that, and that made me feel pretty good – I was pretty stoked on that. Then I got a good start in the main, and in the third corner things went a little hairy, and I dropped back to about sixth. From there, I just tried to slowly pick guys off. I was a little timid around Dungey and didn’t want to mess him up, but I took the lead and tried to keep my head down. I ran into a couple of lappers on the second to last lap that really hurt me, and Weimer was right on me after that. The last lap was definitely a barnburner for sure. I was just really happy to get the win. He was on me and he kind of did pass me, but I figured I’d led that much and I wasn’t about to let him take it from me there. I just did what I could and had fun with it and won the race, which was the goal.

It was kind of a long journey back. When you have that kind of success right away like you did last year, this year probably seemed pretty tough. Talk about what that was like for you to go through such a hard period at the beginning of the year like you did.
I don’t totally know if this is true, but I think it all kind of stems from not having that much time on the bike [after breaking his femur at Washougal last year] and going through an injury, and not being 100-percent prepared. We all kind of agreed that I was prepared at the time, but I stepped into it and I don’t think I really was prepared. To be honest, I thought my speed and everything was good even at round one, and things just didn’t go my way. Then I kind of freaked out, and Phoenix went bad, and after that I just kind of tamed it down because I was crashing and stuff. It’s been kind of a hairball season, but I think I’ve learned a lot from it, and I think in the end it’s going to make me a better rider.

So do you think you were just trying too hard?
I think the biggest thing was that I didn’t believe in myself enough. I think my speed was good and everything else was good, but I didn’t really know what I was capable of and I was trying too hard to make things happen.

Weimer said on the last lap that he didn’t know it was the last lap, and maybe he let up a little bit and planned to pass you the next lap in the whoops.
It was pretty crazy. If that was letting up, I’d hate to see what not letting up was. Haybales were flying, feet were flying... It was definitely pretty crazy. Whether or not he backed it down, I’m stoked to get the win.

To have to battle for the win and pull it off is probably somewhat more satisfying than just running away with a race like you did so much last year, isn’t it?
Oh, for sure! It makes it that much more enjoyable. That was my first win where I really had to burn it out for 15 laps.

Yeah, even the famous last round last year where you put Ryan Villopoto into the finish-line pole, that was before halfway, right?
That was six laps in. And Atlanta, the last five laps or so I kind of rode cautiously to make sure I’d get the job done, and Indy even, it was about eight laps there. And Daytona was only a 10-lap race. To ride hard the whole 15 laps and battle it out like that, I was ecstatic.

How long did it take for it to sink in after the race that now you’re back on winning form again?
I don’t think I ever left. Things just didn’t go my way for a few rounds. I think that I’ve been the same person. Obviously, I’ve matured a little bit, but things just kind of clicked this time, and overall I haven’t changed much in my program. I just believed in myself more and kept my head down and kept working through all the tough times. It does feel great to get the win and kind of show myself that I can do it, and to be where I want to be.

I think earlier this year you said something to the effect of being willing to do anything you could to help Ryan Dungey win that title once you were out of the title chase, and then this weekend came and all of a sudden you’re racing Ryan Dungey for the win. Were you being extra-careful? What was going through your head when you were battling with him?
I don’t think I said I’d help him, I said I think he deserves it because he’s worked hard and he’s been in that situation a couple times. People might say that he doesn’t deserve it because he lost those titles, or that he’s had his chance and he should move on, but I believe that he’s been there more than anyone else, and I think that over the years he’s deserved it the most. I’m not going to help any of my competitors win a championship, that’s for sure, but I’m not about to ruin someone’s day and take them out or something. I was trying to ride clean around Ryan and make sure he didn’t hit the ground, because I didn’t want to be the guy to ruin someone’s championship. And I was in that situation last year, so I know how timid and how uncomfortable you can be on those last few laps. I wanted to do what I could to make sure I didn’t clean him out.

You were a contender toward the end of your season outdoors last year, so you have to be thinking you’ll be a contender this year, right?
That’s my goal, to go out there and do what I can do and to be a contender by the end, and make sure I have a good, solid 12 rounds. I think consistency’s going to be huge, and good starts are going to help with consistency, so the biggest thing is just to get a good start and know that your fitness is there and that your motorcycle’s better than anyone else’s. I’m just going to do what I can and be as prepared as I can possibly be, and try to show up to that gate every time as ready as I can be.