5 Minutes with... Chad Reed

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed is streaking. He has won five motos in a row now and is pulling away at a massive rate in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. An obvious choice for the Australian MXdN team, Reed is the team captain again this year. We talked to him after the race at Unadilla.

  • Reed has a very good chance of wrapping up his first 450 motocross championship this weekend in Maryland
  • Reed's having fun, and it's making him faster
Racer X: This is four motos in a row, huh?
Chad Reed: Five! I won the second moto at Millville.

Well, the point is that it’s impressive. Any time you can string that many wins together, that’s pretty good. What has changed and has started going right for you in this period of time?
Just being in good places – being in the right place at the right time – getting healthy, the bike coming around... That’s really it. It’s funny because it sucks these guys got hurt, because I felt that I had this in me at the beginning of the year, but the bike wasn’t where it is today and I wasn’t where I am today. I underestimated a few little things and paid the price for it, and the health issue was really key, too. It was a battle there for a long time. I really just got on top of it all and now we’re winning races.

Your Motocross des Nations last year was ridiculously bad for you. In some ways, heading over there this year again after your performance last year, it seems like the nationals are almost like training for redemption in Italy. Is that how it feels?
Well, we all need to go there and redeem ourselves. It would mean a lot to win a moto. I actually won a moto in 2001 at the Motocross des Nations at Namur, so I’d like to go one better and try to win both motos and put our team in the best position possible to win the thing. Me and Byrner got a little thing going on, and if we win, we’re going to bust out some cool things. I think we have the best shot that we’ve ever had. Byrne’s riding really well, I feel like I’m coming around riding really strong, and then Metty as been riding great. But as always, you can’t underestimate the Europeans in their own country and on their own bikes and with their own teams, food, all that kind of stuff. It all adds up.

  • Chad will lead an Australian
Why does Australia always seem to struggle at the MXdN even though you bring such good riders?
It seems like our dream team always fails. We don’t ever pull through. The years that I’ve done really, really well, like when I won a moto at Namur... After the first moto, we were sitting first or second in the overall, and then Byrne’s bike broke and he broke his wrist. At Budds Creek, I got second in the first one, and then Byrner got third in the first one, and we were doing really well, but then [Andrew] McFarlane got helicoptered out. Then the second moto my bike wasn’t shifting right so I just pulled off knowing we had no chance at it. I didn’t want to get injured. So I think we have paid our dues, and I think it’s time for us to upset the world a little bit and put a small population on top.

You talked a little about contract negotiations last time I interviewed you, and you still are talking about that. What’s going on? I don’t think many people want to see you go...
And I don’t want to go! I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in the sport. I’m loving it. Two years away from motocross was the best thing that I ever did. I took a lot of heat and a lot of hate, but people didn’t understand. Sometimes you have to make choices that are best for you. It’s true that the team was supercross-only, but the truth is, if I wanted to go racing, I could go racing. I didn’t want to go racing. I’ll take the hate for that because I felt that was what I needed at that time in my life. That was what I needed at that time in my life. I needed to step away. I needed a breath of fresh air, and I think it worked. Getting on this Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team has been a blessing and I’ve been working hard. Week to week, I just want to work hard. I want to feel strong and feel that gnarliness that an outdoor brings you. Unfortunately, the gnarliness isn’t there that much anymore and I’m a little bit of a critic of the tracks being too smooth, but it’s really just because I want to have that advantage. When you go home and you live in Florida, and it’s gnarly and hot, and my track’s rough... I feel like I’m putting my time in and I want it to pay off. And it’s paying off, but it could pay off a lot more.

{LINKS}RC would always say he wanted the tracks rougher, too, because when you’re in shape you want it rougher, and when you’re not you don’t.
It makes you a better rider, too. It makes you earn it. At the end of the day, you walk away going, “Dude, that was a hard-earned day, and you just sweated your ass off, and now you get ready for Monday and prepare to do it all over again.”