Privateer Profile: Daniel Blair

October 29, 2009 5:15am | by:
When you say “privateer” around Daniel Blair, it’s the real deal. He’s not the type of privateer that gets a salary or anything like that, and he never has been. In the 2009 Lites East, he got a chance to fill in on the GEICO Powersports Honda team, and now he’s hoping to take what he learned there and move forward with it in 2010.

  • Daniel Blair at the U.S. Open on his brother Vincent's bike.
Racer X: That last we saw you before the U.S. Open was when you were subbing on the GEICO Powersports Honda team because of Brett Metcalfe’s injury. What’s been going on since then?
Daniel Blair: I’ve actually been doing a lot, even though I haven’t been on the National scene racing any outdoors or anything like that. I’ve been riding a lot and training a lot and working really hard, actually, trying to make some progress on myself as a rider and make improvements for next year’s supercross championship.

During the supercross championship you talked a little bit about this, but you pretty much finished in the same place on the Factory Connection Racing bike as you did on your own bike this year. That can’t be what you expected, right?
Yeah, well the factory ride with GEICO was really cool, and I got to see a lot of the things that I always wondered about, and I got to experience the big differences between being a privateer and being a factory rider. Not only that, I’ve never been on any sort of a team. I’ve always been completely on my own. I went from one side of the spectrum to the other completely, and it’s definitely a lot different, but as far as results were concerned, nothing really changed. I think the main reason why was because no matter what changes you make with your equipment, you can still only ride to the best of your ability, and that was the same on both bikes, it turns out. Even getting on that bike, it really didn’t make that much of a difference because I was already riding really good on my own stuff, and I think if maybe I had more time on the equipment to get things set before I raced it, things would’ve been better, but jumping on a completely different bike with settings that are completely different from anything I’ve ever felt before, I had to adjust, and that’s hard to do in the middle of the season.

And that’s not what you would’ve thought going in, is it?
No, as soon as I got the deal, I was ready to get on the podium the next weekend. That’s what I thought. It just wasn’t that way. Maybe with some people, they could pull it off, but with me, I ride in my comfort zone. I’m a very smart, strategic rider and I never ride over my head, and some of the settings on the bike were so unfamiliar to me that I couldn’t force myself to ride over my head just because I believed I should be on the podium. I kept having to hold back a lot because I didn’t feel right, and I think that’s why my results stayed the same. We finally got it working well for me during the break between Jacksonville and Vegas, and at Vegas I rode the best I did all year on it. I really wish I would’ve had two or three weeks to get comfortable before I had to race that bike, because I know I could’ve done better, but I wasn’t going to put myself in a dangerous situation when I didn’t feel right.

Then we saw you pop back up at the U.S. Open and you were on a Kawasaki, so talk about what’s going on with that and for 2010 in general.
Well, the bike I rode at the U.S. Open is actually my brother’s [Vincent], and I borrowed it for that weekend, but it looks like I’m going to be staying on Hondas next year. I just bought two bikes from Justin Barcia – two ‘09s that he had left over from last year – and I am back on red and I’m driving down to Frenchy’s place over at C4 MX to get my motors done and my testing done in the next couple of weeks.

  • In the Lites East this year, he started out on this privateer machine, but...
  • ...was on board this GEICO bike by Daytona.
So you’re going to ride the ‘09s? That’s interesting.
Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to go ride the German Supercross Series, and I’m not going to have the opportunity to really test that new 2010 EFI bike, and with a first-year model like that, I didn’t’ feel comfortable riding something like that which hadn’t been developed yet, and I wanted to ride a bike that I felt comfortable on, so the truth is that last year, before I got the GEICO ride, I was feeling really comfortable with my own stuff and I was feeling better every week. I feel like I need to go back to that and continue where I left off, and I feel as a rider it’s the bike that suits me best. I know it’s not the current model, but being a privateer, I have to ride what gives me the best results, and I felt that’s by far the best bike for me. And last year, I only had one bike that was my practice bike and race bike, and this year I’ve got two, so we’re already stepping it up a bunch right there! I also have Todd Ballard and NXT Agency who I’m working with now, and he’s helping me bring in a lot of financial support that I’ve never had before. Going into next year, things are going to be like they’ve always been for me, but at a whole new level, and I think it’s going to help me take that next step.

Are you riding east or west?
I’m 99-percent sure I’m riding east because I’m doing that German Supercross Series, so because of that I’ll be riding the east coast again.

Tell us who you’d like to thank.
I’d like to thank O’Neal, FactionMX, AiRide Suspension, C4MX, TCCI, Slaton Racing, Jardine, Dunlop, Renthal, Factory Backing, Scott Goggles, EVS, Gaerne, Works Connection, UFO, DVS, Ride Engineering,, Vanquish, Speed Factory, and my family for all their support. Go check out if you want to see what’s going on with me any time.