Int: So James, what has the 2009 AMA SX Series Champion been doing since the season ended?
JS1: Well, actually, I’ve been pretty busy. I took a couple of days off right after the Vegas race to spend some time with my family, but since then, I’ve had a lot going on. I participated in a number of sponsor and charity events last month and now we’re back into riding and testing every week. In addition to that, I’m hosting a Ride Day at Milestone MX Park in Riverside (CA) on June 20th. I’ve been busy pulling everything together for that.
Int: Is this Ride Day an event of your own? What’s it for and why are you doing it?
JS1: Yeah, it is. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been successful in doing something I love to do and thought it would be good to use some of the time I have right now to give back to my fans. During race season, we’re busy. There’s not much time, other than an hour or less on race day, to sign autographs and get to meet my fans. I thought it would be cool to have a whole day, where my fans and I can ride together and have some fun. I know a lot of them love to ride too. The event is open to everyone, whether they want to ride or just watch, so I’m hopeful a lot of people will come out and see me. There is a capacity limit so I encourage people to get there early. And there’s also a membership fee to ride the track, but it raises money for an important non-profit organization, the “Wings for Life” Foundation, so it’s all for a good cause.
Int: Very cool. Speaking of your fans, I know some of them are pretty upset you’re not riding the MX Outdoors series. What’s the story? Do you miss riding outdoors?
JS1: Oh yeah, I miss it alot. It’s really hard to watch the races and not be a part of it. But you know, the reality is, I knew I was signing a supercross only deal when I signed on with L&M. There was a part of me that thought since I was the reigning MX champion, I might be able to talk them into racing the series, but from the beginning, it was a Supercross only deal. It’s hard, after the fact, to try and add it to the program. There’s a lot to it, and a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the fans don’t see that support a championship level team and rider. For example, my suspension costs a lot of money! We talked about racing outdoors, even did some testing for it, but with the way the economy has had an impact on everyone, we just couldn’t pull it together. I know my fans are upset and I am really sorry to disappoint them, but we have to live with the decision for this year.
Int: So what else did you have planned for the racing schedule this year?
JS1: I’m competing in a few events at the Summer X-Games, which should be pretty cool. They’re held at the end of July and 1st of August. We have to train and test for all that separately since the format of each event is different than traditional Supercross. There’s a lot of work that goes in to preparing for the X-Games. After that, we start testing for 2010 and all the October races - the US Open of Supercross, Bercy and Genoa (Italy) SX. Then we only have a few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to prepare for the 2010 Supercross season, so it’s pretty non-stop from now until then.
Int: Sounds like it. So you’re not just hanging out golfing all Summer?
JS1: (Laughs) No. I mean, I fit that in where I can, but we’re keeping busy. On top of all that we have scheduled, there are media interviews, photo shoots, manufacturer events and a whole lot of other things that keep me back and forth between Florida and California almost weekly. There’s a lot that comes along with being a series Champion and doing what needs to be done to support those who support me. And our training and testing schedule never stops.
Int: Thanks, James. Hope your ride day is a great success and wish you the best for the remainder of your 2009 season!
JS1: Thank you!