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Monday Conversation: Blake Wharton

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GEICO Powersports Honda’s Blake Wharton started on the path to putting his season back together after three poor races in a row, grabbing a 3-3 for second overall at Washougal. And he’s racing X Games this coming weekend to boot.

Racer X: The last race couldn’t have gone much worse for you, as you had a malfunction on the start line for moto one, then a crash in the second moto that landed you way back in the points. Did you use that as motivation?
Blake Wharton: I pretty much had three bad weeks in a row with getting taken out at Colorado, then going to RedBud and crashing, and then first-turn crashes and all sorts of crashes, and then last week the bike broke on the line then crashed again in the second one. But I knew I was going to turn it around. Two have four in a row wouldn’t have been good...

Well, one’s not good...
Yeah, but I had to stop it at three. Three’s the number. But I think it’s all about the starts, pretty much. I feel like at the other rounds I could’ve been up there with the guys, battling, but it hasn’t been fair because I’ve put myself in a bad situation. You can’t expect to do too good when you’re racing these guys with a bad start. This time, I got a holeshot, and I got a third-place start, so both were right there, and it showed in my results. It’s definitely some good motivation.

A lot of times I see you and you’re very serious, but you’re normally a fun kid. Were you having more fun today?
I was definitely having more fun because I was doing better.

So you think doing better leads to having more fun?
Oh, yeah. But it’s a lot of relief when you get the holeshot. It takes a lot of the weight off of you. So yeah, it was fun.

You held Ryan Dungey off for quite a while. What were you thinking at that point? Were you thinking you could hold him off for the rest of the race or what?
At that point, I was riding pretty good, but I wasn’t doing things I should’ve. Some of my lines were a little bit off, and he got around me and ended up pulling away. But it’s a start. Five laps or six laps, that’s better than I’ve done at any race this year. I want to get some more good starts and keep leading these races, and the more you lead, the better chance you have to win. That’s what I’m going to do.

So tell us about the X Games coming up this week...
I’m going to be racing a 450 at the X Games. I’ve never been there before, and I think I might do the high-jump competition while I’m there, and maybe some BMX, some freestyle, and I’ll do that freestyle race but not do any tricks. I’ll just race around the track.

How much have you actually ridden a 450?
I don’t get to ride one much, and I’ve never ridden one in supercross, so it’s going to be a test, but I’m going there to have some fun, and I think I can do good. I feel I can ride the 450 real fast, so with a start, and with some things going my way, I can put myself in a good situation to get some medals.

Have you even been on a supercross track on the 450?
Nope. I’ve never been on a supercross track on a 450, either.

So, why not go race on national television? Why wouldn’t you?
I might as well. I’ll put in a couple days of practice this week.

A lot of 250F riders say they feel better on a 450, and Josh Grant proved that this year, but how do you feel about it?
I just feel like sometimes a bigger bike suits me better. I’ve never raced supercross on a 450, and it’s been a while since I raced a 450, but I’m going to just go and do my best. I can get the holeshot and end up leading the thing. You never know. But it sounds like I’m going to have some competition, that’s for sure.

Why, who else is racing besides you?
Tony Hawk and Dave Mirra. I’m racing those guys! [Laughs]

I think you can handle those guys on a dirt bike... But what about James Stewart and Josh Grant and a lot of other very, very fast guys?
You know that giant jump they do on the ramp on skateboards? Can you imagine what it’s like going off that thing on anything?

That had nothing to do with the question I asked, Blake...
I was just thinking about that huge jump! You know how they jump it? My skateboard would just go flying and I’d fall on my head or something.

You could put handlebars on it and you’d be fine...
Yeah, I could ride a scooter down that thing. But I’d be the guy who goes to the bottom of the half-pipe and crashes. [Laughs]

You do sort of fit the X Games image, though: Young guy, stupid hair, weird facial hair going on...
Yeah! I fit in good. What other guys have this style?

Nobody. You’re the only guy who would run that style.
Nobody. That’s right! I’m the only guy! I’m half Sasquatch.

Do you have any plans for additional media stuff at the race?
I don’t know, it’s going to be weird. I’m not going to know where to go. I’ll get ready to practice and end up at the BMX track with my gear going, “Is this where the motorcycles are?” I don’t know. They probably don’t know who I am there. Blake who?

Not yet...
Not yet! That’s right! I’ll show them who I am...
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