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5 Minutes With... Trey Canard

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GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard had a tough go of it a couple of weeks ago at Phoenix, finishing seventh with a hurt foot, but he’s back on the horse now, and at San Francisco, he led the Lites main event from wire to wire and was never seriously challenged, even though the winner of the first three races of the year, Jake Weimer, was on his tail from the get-go. We talked to Canard on Sunday to find out what it all meant to him.

Racer X: You’ve already had a little bit of a rollercoaster season at this point, with the anxiety before round one, but getting a second, then getting hurt at round two and having to ride through a hurt foot to seventh, and then ride with it to third at round three, and now you won. It’s got to be something else to have such a wide range of things happen in only four races, right?
Trey Canard: Yeah, I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster, for sure, but all in all it has been pretty good, really. Besides the seventh place, it’s been a good season for me, and that seventh place – I’m not making excuses or anything – it wasn’t really my fault, it was just one of those racing things. It was just luck of the night. But that’s okay, and I feel like we have some really good momentum coming off of this weekend, so I’m excited that we could get a win, and I feel like we’re setting things right, the way they should’ve been to start with. I’m just going to try and build on this now.

You haven’t won a race since Salt Lake City last year, and before that since the 2008 East finale, so it has to play on your mind over time that maybe it’s just not going to happen anymore, right? Isn’t there a bit of anxiety about whether you can still win? Do you start to wonder?
I can’t even tell you what was going through my brain during the week before A2 – the week after Phoenix – because I had a great rookie season, and after that, it got sour for me for about a year and a half. That plays on you, especially when you’re breaking bones and having a rough time. You start to doubt everything. You might even start to doubt whether you’re supposed to be racing motocross or not. But to break through and win, that’s huge. And I’m not saying it’s easy from here on out. I’m saying I finally broke through and I realized I’m still capable, I have the right surroundings, and a good team, and I can still do it, but it’s just a matter of actually doing it. I was just pumped this weekend that it went well and I can build on that and keep the momentum going.

The big thing is that it seems like it is peace of mind and you can maybe relax a little bit more, because you can believe you can win, but you can only know you’re capable of winning when you actually do it.
Yeah, it’s like when you’re a little kid, and everyone’s trying to get you to jump a jump, and you think you can do it, but it’s just a matter of actually getting it done. Just to do it was good for my mind, for sure.

The other thing is that Jake Weimer has been so good this year, and he started right behind you, so were you even aware of who that was behind you? Or were you just trying to run?
Well, honestly, I saw a green bike in the first turn, and at that point, I just tried to put my head down and do everything I could. I got a little bit of a gap, kind of freaked out for a second on lap eight or nine and made some mistakes...


Like, “I might win this thing! Oh, no!”
Yeah, like, “I can actually do this!” and then started thinking about that instead of what I was doing. But all in all, it was a good night.

Your team had a lot of changes in the off-season, and with the stock components and all of that which we’ve talked about before, you actually won. You didn’t get on the podium, you beat everyone else and won...
Not only that, but this is a brand-new bike, too. It’s never been proven as a winner until this weekend. And the 450 that this bike is sort of based off of, it’s not a bad bike, but it didn’t have a very good debut year last year. To win on this bike was a big positive for everyone. The team worked so hard on it, and I’ve been working hard, and it has paid off at least once.

On the podium at Anaheim I, I got photos of you looking angry, but you said you were happy. You’re a fun guy, but you’re very competitive, and even when you get second in a race, that’s not the same thing as a win. What’s the difference in feeling for you between first place and second place?
Dude, I don’t even know. It’s just one place, but it’s just unreal. I don’t even know how to explain it. That one position... I don’t know what it is, honestly. It’s just what you dream about, and what you work for. It’s the only reason you’re racing. But I don’t know how to explain it. From first to second, they don’t even compare. It’s a really cool feeling, and hopefully it’s something I can continue to experience.

You and Ryan Villopoto won the two classes this weekend, and you’re both redheads, so what’s that about?
It was good to see Ryan get a win. I know he has struggled a little bit with his knee and things like that, so it’s nice to see him get back up there.

I’ve talked to Ricky Carmichael a bit about you in the past, and he seems to be a Trey Canard fan. Is that kind of weird?
Dude, you have no clue how weird that is. Being around guys like K-Dub and MC and Ricky and Bubba, it’s just so weird for me, and especially to hear that about Ricky, but I don’t know if it’s true or not...

He told me so at Anaheim that he “really likes” you and he thinks you’ve got what it takes...
Wow. Yeah, that’s weird. I mean, to hear that from the GOAT, I mean, the dude’s obviously amazing. He had such a big heart when he was racing, and you look at Ricky Carmichael as the guy who just got it done. Even Thursday, MC was riding at the Honda track, and he was helping us put starting gates up, and it’s just weird for me because I’ve looked up to these guys my whole life, and here’s MC with a shovel in his hand digging a trench for a starting gate. I should be doing something for him, but he’s doing that for me.

But the funny thing about it, Trey, is that a lot of kids look at you like that now, so you would probably try and tell them all the same thing that MC would tell you, which is that you’re just a person.
It’s hard to look at people as just people when you look up to them so much and you’re such a big fan of theirs. I’ve looked up to these guys my whole life. I was around Ricky this past week at this Fox thing, and it was just cool. It was hard for me to be myself around him.

Have you said anything really dumb to any of those guys, where afterward you’re like, “Why’d I say that?!”
I’m sure! I’m sure I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth a few times. I mean, MC’s the King, and he’s really cool and really easy to be around, but it’s hard to handle sometimes.

I would imagine that you hope to be like that as your career progresses, too, right?
Yeah, definitely.

For Ricky, though, he could just be a fan because he wants to promote other redheads...
Well, there is National Kick A Ginger Day, so you’ve got to stick together. It’s a racist world out there, and I just hope we can just encourage non-violence toward redheads.

People are violent toward redheads, but then you guys turn around and start winning races... That’s how you get back at them.
You don’t realize that this is the only thing we’re good at. Ever. What other redhead have you seen in any other sport that is actually good at it?

That’s a good question. There has to be someone, but I think the general population in the USA is like two percent redheads, whereas the population in the AMA Pro pits, among racers, is quite a bit higher. I mean, just you and Villopoto together account for 2.5 percent of the 80 qualifiers at a race, but then add in Max Anstie, and last year we had races with you, Villopoto, Anstie, Timmy Ferry, Adam Chatfield, and I’m probably forgetting some. But that’s like six or seven percent! That’s more than triple the national average!
It must be something to do with potatoes! I don’t know what it is. There must’ve been a motorcycle in Ireland 100,000 years ago or something.
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