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Monday Conversation: Trey Canard

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GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard might just be having a breakout year in the Lucas Oil/AMA Pro Motocross Championships. So far this year, he has grabbed multiple holeshots and has only finished off the podium one time in six motos run. He sits third in points and is still within striking distance of the leaders, if only he can achieve his dream of winning an AMA national.

Racer X: While on one hand you might be a little upset that you haven’t won yet or whatever, but on the other, you’ve got to be pumped with how well you’ve actually done so far when compared to last year at this time, right?
Trey Canard: For sure! I am bummed that I haven’t won, but I’m close, so I can’t be too bummed with how things have gone because it’s been great. I’ve been in the top five pretty much every moto except for one, so I’m stoked. I think I’m in a really good position this year compared to last year. It’s a tremendous improvement. That’s something to hang your hat on, and I think if I just keep putting in my work and keep getting the good starts that I am and keep trying to improve every weekend, then it will come and I’ll be there at the end.

At the same time, though, you had the lead and were pulling away and then you crashed by yourself in the first moto. You pumped your fist on the finish line when you got back to third, so I know you were happy, but at the same time, you had to be pretty upset that you tossed it away earlier in the race, weren’t you?
Yeah, but even knowing I did toss it away, it doesn’t really bother me because I proved a lot to myself that moto, and I rode with heart, and I never gave up. I felt like I rode really good that moto, and I felt like I dug deep and overcame a little adversity, so to finish up on the podium after that, I was stoked.

You had a tough time at the beginning of supercross, but it came together toward the end. Are you riding a wave of momentum from that right now, or is your previous year of experience really paying off for you now?
Last year, I had so much going on with moving and so much other stuff other than motocross... This year, I’m a lot more settled, and I’ve had a good, solid program for a good, extended amount of time, so that’s been good. And as far as supercross goes, I don’t want to complain, but looking back it really just extended from my injury. I never really got going well after that and I had to get my momentum back going after that. But I think the momentum has carried over a little from supercross, and that was a huge help for my confidence just to prove to myself that I can be up there and that I’m competitive. Supercross helped, and the preparation has helped because the team has worked really hard. I’ve got a great bike, and it’s just the all-around package.

What about your starts? I mean, those starts have been ripping every single moto, it seems, so have you gotten a bad start yet? I don’t think you have...
I’ve been in the top 10 pretty much every time, and I’ve tried to be in the top five every time, so I think that will put me in a good position to win races, and hopefully to keep up, but I think a lot behind my starts has to do with the bike. I mean, it’s awesome. I think it’s probably one of the fastest, if not the fastest, bike out there. That helps a lot. I did a lot of testing prior to the season, so I think that work paid off, and I’ve worked with Shannon Niday a lot on my starts, even from the beginning of this year, so I think I’ve improved a ton and learned a lot about what I’ve been doing, and hopefully it continues to improve. Something I’ve always said about starts is that it doesn’t take technique or anything like that to get a start, it’s all about wanting to be the first guy to the first turn, so I think, going off my terrible supercross season, it’s definitely made me more hungry, and every time I line up, I want to be the first guy there. I haven’t been the first guy to the checkered flag yet, but I want to be that guy.

By the way, in the first question, you said you’ve been top-five in all but one moto, but in reality, you have been in the top three in all but one moto so far...
Yeah, that’s been awesome for me. That’s probably the most consistent I’ve ever been. That moto at Glen Helen is definitely going to haunt me a little bit, but if that’s my worst finish all year, then I’ll be happy. I’ll just work and take it race-by-race and keep going.

A lot of the media people are talking about how much fun you are to talk to, and how funny you can be, and this is a recent thing as far as the general public is concerned. While you’ve always been funny in private conversations, you have really come out of your shell lately everywhere else. But what’s the transition like when you go from riding as an amateur at 16 or 17 years old to riding as a pro, and not only having the stiffer competition, but having fans asking you for autographs and free pieces of your equipment all the time, have the media up in your business all the time, and things like that?
It’s definitely stressful because you come out of the amateurs and you know there are going to be a lot of fast guys, and you know that the motos are going to be long, so those are things you expect, but with that stuff comes a lot of other things, like media things, signings and whatever else you have. That stuff’s a little bit hard to get used to, and it’s a little bit stressful because you don’t expect it a lot of times and it just kind of comes up sometimes, but I’ve learned to really enjoy that stuff because this has been my dream since I can remember, so anything that comes with it, I’m pretty happy to be a part of.

It could’ve made it worse for you in some ways because of how you came out and won that supercross title right away, and winning makes fans, so you probably had a lot more fans than most rookies would end up with.
Yeah, that definitely helps with the fans, but hopefully they like me for who I am and I can just be myself – not to try to put on some show, but just be who I am.

But “yourself” is funny, so it’s nice to have “yourself” around, speaking as a media guy.
Yeah, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m just having a good time lately, and I’m not so uptight. I’m letting loose and just being myself and not being so guarded. It’s not me, because that’s not who I am. I like to have fun and have a good laugh.

Switching subjects a little bit, the new supercross rules were announced a while back, and they’ve added what’s being called the “Trey Canard Rule” where 250 Supercross guys get three minimum years in the class unless they win titles their first two years. Does it take some stress off to know that you can stay in the class for one more year?
I figure I’m just going to retire after this year. I had a long go of it – two years – and it’s been a good go, so I’m thinking about opening my own business and getting going with that... [Laughs] No, it’s been good, and I don’t think I’m ready for a 450. I think I need another year. I barely weigh 140 pounds, so that’s something that’s got to develop over time. Another year of experience and another year to grow and get better I think is definitely needed.

With your team growing by one new rider outdoors, a lot of people are talking about Justin Barcia, and I know you said you liked him, but in some ways, was it actually motivating to have this kid show up and then all of a sudden no one’s talking about you anymore?
No, not really. I mean, he deserves it! I think he’s probably led as many laps as anyone this year! He rides with heart, and to do what he’s done has been amazing. I think the praise that he’s gotten is well-deserved, and I think he’s going to be big in the future. This year’s just a precursor to what Justin Barcia is. He’s got years to mature and get better. He’s an awesome rider.

And finally, were you taking a page from the Alessi handbook and wearing a Camelbak on Saturday?
The Camelbak, going off last year and how hot it was, I just thought it would be good to have that little extra hydration if I needed it. I think it was good through the whole beginning of the day, too, because it allowed me to never miss that point of being totally dehydrated. Through the motos, you’re concentrating so hard on what you’re doing that it’s hard to remember to actually use it, but I think it’s a benefit to use it. I never got dehydrated throughout the day, and I think it was definitely good, especially for how hot that it can be in Texas.

Is this the start of a trend?
I don’t know! It’s kind of difficult to say. It is that one extra thing that you’ve got to wear, but I think it adds something helpful. I think Alessi wore it last year, so I haven’t seen too many people wearing it after that.

But you’re Trey Cool, that’s the difference. They’ll copy Trey.
Yeah, this is true! [Laughs
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