Racer X: Andrew, what’s been going on with you these days? Are you all recovered from your illness that you suffered from in the nationals? Andrew Short: I’ve just been getting ramped up for the supercross season really. I had a good off-season where I was able to ride the bike and not worry about the pressure to try and get faster day in and day out. In that aspect it was cool but I came out to California on November 1st and am now dedicated to my program and working on things at full speed. I’ve been trying to get my speed up and be prepared for the circus to start. It seems that once it starts, it’s really hard to gain any speed and you’re just able to maintain. Now is the time that the gains are made.
I’ve got a handle on my illness and I knew what I had and I needed rest. I got that rest and am back to baseline right now. That part is really good, I’ve lost some fitness and working on getting that back right now. I basically sat around for a long time but it’s still really cool to do what I did because it makes everything fun and fresh again. I’m motivated to do better and every racer is driven by that. It’s fun for me to step it up and work at it.
Did you spend much time off the bike after the nationals? No, not really but I was just trail riding, jumping and things like that. I would ride supercross a bit but wouldn’t put in the laps really. I would just goof off and do things that we don’t get to do anymore. It’s funny because this is the stuff that we did to get us into dirt bike riding. Riding with your buddies, hitting jumps – those are the things that we can’t do anymore. I crashed more times riding trails than I did in all of supercross (laughs.)
Did you have bark-busters on? No, we had hand-guards on though.
That’s good that you know the difference though. What? Really? C’mon Matthes…
Dude, do you really think that a guy like Chad Reed knows the difference between bark-busters and hand guards? Well all I know is that when my mechanic Gothic Jay comes out and rides with me, our bikes are in worse shape than when he arrives because we just ride when he’s here.
Maybe I’ll leave that part out so that Kehoe still thinks that Jay busts his ass when he’s at your place. (Laughs)Yeah, you probably should.
So what are you working on specifically to get faster and take that next step? Really just speed, that’s what I need. Guys like James and Chad they can go fast for twenty laps and they can step it up when they have to. It’s speed that I need to find to match those two guys. I’m still working with Jeff Spencer but now I’ve added Nathan Ramsey as well. He’s been coming to the track to coach me and work on the speed aspect. He’s only come a few times, nothing too crazy really. He’s been there, done that and is very knowledgeable racer. He can pick out stuff on the track and he’s been very valuable to me and I think I had to figure out something like that to pick up my speed and get better. You always feel good and all that but you don’t know where you stand until you line up at the gate at Anaheim and then it’s a little nerve racking. It’s cool and makes it exciting for the first few rounds to see where you’re at.
I know that Nathan worked a bit with Wey last year and he really liked it that Nathan wouldn’t really pull any punches when it came to critiquing him. You know, when you’re on the payroll some guys might not be totally honest because they want the checks to keep rolling in.
It’s cool too because it’s easy to be passionate about what he says because he’s been there and knows what it feels like. He’s not some dude that just says to go faster, he was on the line last year at Las Vegas supercross. He’s accomplished quite a bit and his attitude and mentality is similar to mine. He’s working with Spencer a lot also so we’re all on the same program.
How’s the bike and the testing going for you? We’ve been kind of done with the majority of the big parts. We’re done sorting through things and now it’s just small changes along the way. We have one more big test coming up in the middle of December and I’m sure some things will change then. My bike’s really good though and right now, it seems that suspension settings could be better but that’s a goal that riders are always chasing y’know? We made some chassis changes – we found something that we could do – and it allows us to more comfortable on the bike. It’s going to be huge for us as we didn’t have that in supercross last year and it’s going to help quite a bit. Hopefully on my end I can step it up and make everything look good.
A little scary for a lot of riders this year; you must be glad that you had another year on your contract. I’ve been very blessed to be with Honda as long as I have and been surrounded by some good people as well. I realize that all this stuff isn’t free or cheap and it costs a lot to go racing and then on top of that, I get paid as well. You don’t really want to say this but I’d pay to go racing and have my ride and instead, they’re paying me! I’d be racing locally in Texas or Colorado if I wasn’t doing this because I love to ride my dirt bike. I’ve been fortunate to have been with Fly Racing as well, those guys are cool and I like hanging out with them. They’ve been awesome to me and they’re normal dudes and we’re on the same page. I’m still with Scott and Alpinestars as well. That’s beneficial to me as a lot of guys are changing things and it’s late in the game. I’m going to be on the same program as always and will be familiar with everything when the gate drops at Anaheim.
Do you feel like you maybe don’t get the attention that other riders get and does that bother you at all? Well, you know from the outside looking in you can understand that a bit. James and Chad are killing it and are really fast and there are some new exciting rookies in the class. There’s Ryan Dungey, who’s going to be great, then you have Josh Grant and he did so great in his rookie 450 season. Also Ryan Villopoto did amazing in his first season.
I’ve always been consistent and finished well in the points but I’ve never been a contender for the title. I’ve never even won a race and I have to work on that first. First come the race wins and then comes the title contention. I’m not one of those guys, I’ve finished third before and last year I got second which is one step away from the ultimate goal. I realize that I do need more speed to be up there and be taken seriously.
Sad deal there with Honda’s Dave Chase passing away recently, I’ve known him a long time but you worked with him every weekend. Can you talk about him and what he meant to you? It seems like to this day I can call him and ask him for something. The last time I talked to him I asked him for a CRX bigger gas tank for my 450. You know how Honda has that serious mentality towards racing from the outside? He was like the happy Honda guy and was the type of guy to say ‘Hey Steve Matthes, how are you doing?’ and he was a great guy. My sister would love to come over and talk to him, he was that guy y’know?
At Honda he was a great part of the team and worked with those guys down there. I don’t go to the shop that much so I didn’t work with him as much as the other guys but I remember when I was an amateur and then on the Pro Circuit team he was in the service department and taught me how to work on my bike. He would wash my bike and teach me how to do it. I did the 24-hour race with him and those were the days that I remember him most. It’s so crazy to think how quick life can turn like that. He meant a lot to a lot of people and no one can say something bad about him. We’re all really sad and sorry that he’s not here anymore.