5 Minutes With... Dan Reardon

GEICO Powersports Honda’s Dan Reardon has had a crazy couple of years riding the Lites class in the USA, but after he stepped up to the 450s for the 2009 Nationals, he was back up front where most assumed he should be. At the U.S. Open, he was a strong third overall. We talked to him after the race about the change.

Racer X: What were you expecting when you came in here? You were hurt during most of the Nationals, and probably came back a bit too early, but you obviously did well here.
Dan Reardon: My shoulder’s good, so injurywise, I felt fine. Besides a few stitches in my arm, I’m good, so my expectations were just to have a solid result. I didn’t even look at the rider list. It didn’t bother me who was here or not. I just wanted to come away from the weekend knowing that I did my best and I tried hard. The first night, things went pretty good. It took a while to set the bike up for the track, and then to come away third, I was pumped with that. Then today I felt like I had some momentum from yesterday. I was really happy with my practice...

You were second-fastest, right?
Yeah, so I was pumped, and I carried that into my heat race, which I won, and then went into the main and got the holeshot. Things were going good for 10 or 12 laps or whatever, and then, believe it or not, I thought I had a flat front tire. I was checking it out, and I could tell it wasn’t completely flat, but I thought it was going down, and I was cautious. I didn’t want to drop it or crash. Then I don’t know what I was thinking, but I saw that it wasn’t flat, and by that time, I struggled to regroup. I couldn’t get my mind back in the race. Everything kind of went out the window. I tried to regroup the best I could and Davi got past me. I don’t know how the points went, but I might have let second place slip away!

You did, yeah.
[Laughs] Well, that makes me feel a lot better... It’s unfortunate, but third overall on the weekend, I can’t complain too much about that.

As of this point, you don’t have a ride for next year, right?

So how important was this to put you back on the radar for teams?
That is one of the reasons I was here, and I’m really happy with the GEICO Powersports team for supplying me a bike and having some of the team here to help me out. They helped me out a lot to make this race happen, and like you said, I am unemployed, so whether this race will help people to see that I have potential on the 450, and I know that I do ride the 450 a lot better. Hopefully, people can see that and maybe give me the chance to ride one next year. I definitely want to be at Anaheim I, and I think I’ll be there whether I’m supported by a factory team, a support team, or off my own back. I want to be there for sure.

Well, you just got 20 grand tonight, so that ought to help a little...
Yeah, that might buy me a bike!

Yeah, a bike and maybe like an old van...
Yeah, that sounds good! [Laughs]

So you’re heading to Australia to race that whole series with Chad and everyone, right?
Yeah, I’m going to Australia to do that deal, and that should be good. The tracks and everything were really good last year, and I’ll use that for momentum to bring into Anaheim, and I left myself open so that I can fly back to the States and do testing and do whatever it takes to get ready for Anaheim I. But I thought the Australian stuff was important, and I’m not going to sit around and do nothing. There’s no better practice than racing, so I might as well get as much under my belt as I can. I haven’t raced for a little over four months, so I felt a little bit cold out there. But hopefully I can bring this momentum to the Australian series and into next year.

You were doing well in the Nationals and improving week by week, and then you did your shoulder in, but then came back a bit early at Budds Creek...
It was definitely a smart move going to the 450 for outdoors, and I’ve always wanted to be on a 450 here, and things were going good. I didn’t expect to set the world on fire straight away in the outdoors, but I wanted to build my momentum. I had a DNF at the first round and bent a disc, so that was a bit of a mechanical there, but from then on, at each race, I got better and better and started feeling better with myself, and I was sort of working my way forward. Unfortunately, I had a crash, and it was “sky, dirt, sky, dirt” and I dislocated my shoulder really bad. I had to get it operated on and spent four months off the bike, which was disappointing, and then I knew that it was important for next year and that I was in a catch 22 whether I should race or not. I wasn’t ready, but I thought I was. I’d only been on the bike four days before Budds Creek, but I got the holeshot... Well, I wouldn’t say I got the holeshot...

You did, I got photos of it.
Yeah, but the line was like a meter away from where I fell. If I’d have just stretched, I probably would’ve holeshotted, and as I landed on the ground, I got clipped and hurt my shoulder a little bit. It wasn’t bad, but it added a couple weeks to my recovery. It wasn’t bad, but hopefully people won’t hold me to that mistake. You live and you learn.

This racing game’s tough, and a lot of times you kind of have to learn from mistakes instead of things you do right.
Yeah, and believe me, I want to race. I’m a racer, and I love it. I have so much passion for the sport. I’m the last person to be sitting on the couch thinking, “Eh, I don’t want to ride this weekend...” I just wanted to be out there. It was a silly mistake, but I learned from it.

How many Australian titles do you have?

What are they?
Three supercross and one motocross. Three were on 450s, and one on 250s.

But it’s clear that 450s are really your thing...
Yeah, when I first came over here, I had a bit of pressure to jump on the 250. That’s the stepping-stone that everyone takes.

Even Chad Reed did.
Yeah, everyone does it, and all of the champions have come from doing it that way, so I thought that was the right path for me. It’s just that the transition for me to go back to a 250 I struggled with. It wasn’t suiting my riding style, and even though I worked hard to make it work, I never really felt 100-percent comfortable on the 250. I’d raced 450s for the past two years in Australia, so that was where I felt at home. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, that’s just life, so I definitely want to stay on the 450 now. I don’t want to go back to the 250. Hopefully, someone can give me a chance and I can make things right. I’ll work hard in this off-season to turn it around for myself and whoever helps me out for 2010.

Good luck in Australia.
Yeah, thank you.