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Monday Conversation: Andrew Short

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Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short is always known to be consistent, but more than that, this year he’s going faster than he usually does this early in this series. Despite having a non-points-scoring moto already, Short has slotted up to fourth in the championship following a strong 2-3 ride at his first of two “home races” this summer. He’s one point out of third in the points as the series heads east.

Racer X: You’ve been having a good year so far, minus a couple issues, outdoors, so what’s going on with that? Why are you going so fast?
Andrew Short: I haven’t done anything different. We’re always adjusting the plan, but the biggest adjustment was just getting back used to the higher speed and the other elements you’re not used to outdoors [coming off of supercross]. I’ve always had a hard time getting a hang of it at first, and the first two tracks are really tough for me. I had one bad moto where I didn’t score any points because of a mechanical, and it was the same result as last year at Glen Helen, so it was kind of interesting. Hangtown went better for me this year than it did in the past, so Freestone was a great step for me, and I picked up more speed and gives me more confidence and momentum as we get going back east. I think I can sustain that speed that I had this weekend and pick up on a few things I learned as well. There are no big adjustments, just more or less getting used to the outdoors.

Yeah, you do kind of have a history of being a bit of a slow-starter outdoors...
Yeah, it just takes me a while to get a hold of it. Supercross is different because you’ve got the whole off-season to get ready.

When you were running second in that first moto this weekend, Josh Grant actually passed your teammate Ivan Tedesco and caught you. I don’t know how aware you are of what’s going on behind you, but it seemed like he caught you, then he really put a push on to try and get by, and then when he couldn’t, he just dropped anchor and almost fell into the grasp of Tedesco again. Did you do anything to break his will or did you just concentrate on your own deal?
I just kind of did my own deal. I definitely knew somebody was back there just from the noise and everything, but that track doesn’t really criss-cross back and forth, so it’s hard to see who’s behind you. But I definitely knew somebody was there, but I didn’t know if it was Tedesco or somebody else. I just kind of kept my pace and rode within my limits and focused ahead. I did that all day, and I never let my emotions get in the way, which I have in the past. I’ve done that myself where I’ve made some big pushes, kind of like he did, and then went backward really far, so I learned from the past, and I know what I can do physically and how much I can push, and when I should hold back a little bit. But I stayed really consistent, and I was pretty smart about my lines, and I capitalized on that. He might have had a little more speed, but I had a better, more consistent race.

That’s the thing about Andrew Short, though: You show up every week, and every week you put in the best effort you can, and you’re usually near the front. It’s almost crazy because so many guys get burnt out, but you just keep going like a machine. And maybe that might even be why sometimes it seems like no one notices how well you finished.
I love that side of racing, though. That’s my motivation. I love to live and to learn and try not to make the same mistake twice and to make progress along the way. After you see progress and you know you’ve improved, and you’re chasing that carrot of always trying to be better, that’s an awesome feeling. Last year, for me, it was Tim Ferry who was always just a hair better than me, and that bugged me, so that was kind of my motivation to study and kind of learn how to beat him. That’s what’s fun to me, chasing the challenge of it all, and that’s what I’ve always done. It’s never been something that just comes naturally.

Knowing that you’ve beaten Mike Alessi in the past in the 250 class, do you still look at him that way now?
He’s doing a lot of things right right now, and he has some momentum, but we’re six motos in, and we have a lot of racing left. To just throw your hands up right now would be pretty stupid, and I think there are a lot of people that are chasing him. He’s kind of set the bar right now. Last year, with James, it was a little different. He was on a level that was quite a few steps ahead of me and everybody else, but Alessi’s back to what he does right, and that’s getting good starts and then trying to capitalize by sprinting, and then he just sets a good pace. It’ll be interesting with what we learn from him, and how to race him, and how to beat him. That’s the new job for us, and I think it can be done. It’s not going to get any easier for him, I don’t think. There are quite a few guys that can step it up and have beaten him in the past, not just me, but I’m sure Chad Reed believes he can beat Mike, and there are quite a few other guys like my teammate Ivan Tedesco, and then some new guys like Josh Grant that have some speed and determination as well. I think it’s going to be a good series. I don’t believe it’s going to get any easier for him. I believe he can be beat and will be beat, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he handles it when he is put under pressure. There are 18 motos left, and a lot of racing and a lot of points up for grabs. I’m not saying he can’t do it, but I think there are a lot more tests that a lot of people will have to get through before we get to Steel City.

Yeah, it’s easy to look at the points spread now and declare it over because he has 31 points on second place, but the reality is that if this were round 11, it would be basically over, but being that this is round three of 12, there is plenty of time.
I think every series comes to a tipping point where people come to a conclusion like that, but it’s far too early and there are too many personalities that still have a lot of hope, and I believe I’m one of them. I’ve had a couple bad races and one good one, and I think I’ll get some momentum and carry on. It’s not going to be a fun thing. It seems like the promoters are doing a great job, and it’s just fun to go race at the races and then let the challenge of beating the other riders come into play.

What is it about you that keeps you motivated? Have you ever run into burnout? And if you have, what do you do to avoid it?
I love to ride! I’ll always love to ride, but I’ve raced so much in the last year since I moved up, and I haven’t gotten a break, but I know it’s not going to last forever. I’m really lucky to be living my dream and I don’t want to give anything up while it’s here. Also, I do get burnt out when I’m in California for too long because you just drive and sit in traffic, and the tracks are burnt out, and after a while you just want to go home and chill out. I think everybody can find something negative about their job, and if that’s the only thing I have to complain about, I have it really good. I just try and keep an open outlook on it. I love what I do. It’ll be a bummer when I have to drive down to the dealer and buy a bike because I’m so spoiled right now to do what I do.

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