5 Minutes With ... Ivan Tedesco

Team USA’s Ivan Tedesco has now been a part of the Motocross of Nations team three times and has won it three times, and on three different brands of motorcycles. This year marked Hot Sauce's latest MXoN victory, and we talked with him after the race to see how it went.

Racer X: Three for three, that’s pretty good.
Ivan Tedesco: Yeah, I’m undefeated [laughs]. Honestly, I came here with some personal goals, like I wanted to win my class, which I didn’t end up doing, but it’s a good day. We won the overall, so that’s good. [Ryan] Dungey rode great and Jake [Weimer] rode great, and we made it happen. I’m stoked. Team USA!

In your first moto, David Philippaerts got you on the last lap, and then going onto that start straightaway, you had a shot at him and could’ve taken it, but you didn’t. Then he cleaned your clock in the third moto early on....
I know, yeah. I gave the good gate pick up to both Ryan and Jake in my motos, so I was starting on the outside all day. My starts felt good all week, so I wasn’t too worried about it. In the first moto, I came out maybe third or fourth, got myself into second right away, and rode there the whole race. I made some moves to try and get into the lead, but I just didn’t have it. Then Philippaerts was making a move again, caught me on the last lap, and with three turns to go, he got me. Like you said, I didn’t want to do anything stupid and fall, so I took the third. Then the second moto, I got another good start and that dude just blew me out in the mechanics’ area corner and about broke my leg!

Obviously, it seemed intentional to you, then.
Yeah, I’m sure. He was just doing what he thought he had to in order to win the race, you know? He was trying to win the overall, so he was trying to take one of the Americans out. I guess I would say I’d do the same in his situation. But yeah, he hit me pretty hard, and luckily, I didn’t lose too many spots when I fell down. I just put in a charge and road my ass off to get up as far as I could, and we won it. That’s all we could ask for.

Obviously, you said you had the goal of winning your class, but knowing you were coming with a guy who had never raced a 450 outdoors, and with Jake who is a solid rider on the 250s, talk about what you expected when you came in here.
I really wasn’t worried about it the whole time. I knew we had a solid team, and I felt like a lot of people were talking crap around the United States saying that we’re the “B Team” and that we were going to get smoked, but I felt confident. We went and rode together in California with Dungey and Weimer, and I got to see Dungey ride the 450, so I knew he was going to be good on it. He rides it well. And Jake was riding well. We rode good all weekend. We were consistent. In our qualifiers, we weren’t the greatest, but we had that thirty-third gate pick to deal with. The weekend didn’t start off the greatest, but in the end, we pulled it off, and we couldn’t be happier.

It almost seemed like your start from the outside on Saturday set you up to know you could get a start from out there today. Is that right?
Oh, I’m confident in my starts either way, to be honest with you. Not to sound cocky or whatever, but my starts have been good all summer, and when I was doing practice starts on the weekend, I knew they were good, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I gave up the first gate pick to Dungey and Jake both motos because I felt like my starts were better than theirs all weekend, and it ended up working out, because we all got decent starts all weekend and put ourselves in position to do something.

This is your third time doing this. How much different is the team atmosphere compared to riding for yourself back home?
It’s crazy, you know? You’re coming over to a different country, eating different food, the jet lag.... There are so many different things you’ve got to deal with, and on top of that, it’s a different schedule, and it’s a team race. There’s added pressure to not be the guy who blew it for Team USA. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with riding on the Motocross of Nations USA team, and a lot of people don’t realize that. I don’t think you really realize it and it really sinks in until you get here. I was talking to Ryan about it, and it’s more pressure than you’re ever going to deal with in your whole career, and I think it’s made me a better rider and better in crunch situations in my career. This is my third time, and I don’t know what it’s like to be on a losing team, and I wouldn’t want to know. Coming over here as an American, then to go home and say “Yeah, we lost,” that would be horrible.

And obviously, you don’t want to be on that team, but the team has to lose at some point, right? It’s inevitable.
Why do we have to lose?!

It’s just the law of averages.
Well, yeah, and we’ve been on a run now of five in a row, and it’s our twentieth win overall, so it’s been a good run, and hopefully, we can show them who’s boss again next year in the States. We got the job done this weekend, so there’s no reason we can’t do it next year. Maybe if we have the “A Team” next year, we’ll crush it even worse!