Racer X: Were you hurt coming into the first race of the year? Chris Blose: No, I think that was [Matt] Boni.
So you raced Anaheim 1?
Yeah, I did, but I didn’t make it. I crashed.
Yeah, that’s right, I remember hearing that you were a ball of nerves at the first event...
No, I mean, we were having suspension issues that was the kind of thing that set me back, and we got that fixed, so every weekend is getting better and better now.
Is that really it? You just fixed your suspension and now you’re fast?
I mean, as far as the beginning of this week, or last week, going into Indy, I started to get sick, and Saturday I wasn’t feeling really up to it. I was feeling really week, but I got off to a pretty good start and rode my own race and got sixth, so I was pretty excited about that. It gave me a lot of confidence back that I had kind of lost.
Is it possible that because you were sick you didn’t put a lot of pressure on yourself and that helped you just put in 20 laps without any forced errors?
Maybe. I mean, I knew I wasn’t feeling up to par last weekend, and I just wanted to do the best I could. I don’t know if that helped out or what. Maybe I should get sick more often!
I just think sometimes racers can try too hard, and sometimes maybe push a little farther into turns, or whatever, and it throws their timing off just a little, and then they can ride tight and get arm-pump, but sometimes racers are forced to relax and then things come together. That’s what I was getting at. Maybe being sick caused you to relax a little and just ride.
Yeah, that definitely could be possible. I rode more like myself, which was nice.
How does it make you feel?
Last year, I had a good year, and this year, coming out of A1, it was definitely a disappointment, so it felt great to regroup and be back up there. I want to be up there more often.
How do you plan to do that?
I just need to get good starts and know that I belong up there. I think with good starts and that confidence, it will all come together.
What do you think about the prospects for the rest of the season after a weekend like this?
It definitely changes a lot. It reassures me that I can run up there and at that pace, and my outlook on the season before it started was to be top 10 every race, and every weekend, that’s a good goal for me just to be up there and race with those guys so I can get better every weekend.
What did you expect coming in?
I expected to be top-10, but after A1, I was just like, “Okay, let’s just start making mains, first, then we’ll work on being top-10.”
The guys have gotten a lot racier since James Stewart and Chad Reed dropped out. Has it changed how you look at the races, too?
It definitely does. I mean, with Stewart and Reed being out, it changes everything. If you look at it now, the racing has been awesome, and we’re close. I think the fans love it, and I definitely love it because it’s closer racing, and plus those are two fast guys who are out and I don’t have to race them. (Laughs) I’m not complaining about that at all.
The track last Saturday night was pretty slick, so did that help you at all with being sick and just riding smooth?
It was definitely slippery, and it was a difficult track to race because parts were fast, and some parts were slow, and there was sand, and hard-pack... It was difficult, and you need a lot of throttle control. I seemed to ride that track really well, and my finish showed it. But yeah, that track took a lot of patience, and you couldn’t push it too hard without risking ending up on the ground. I think being patient helped me out a little bit and I was able to just race my own race.
Late in the race, when you realized where you were in the standings, did you start to get nervous?
I kind of did, just because I’d never been up that far in the 450cc class. But at the same time, I knew I had to keep my composure and not do anything stupid. Grant Langston and I were battling for probably half the race, and I finally got by him and put a little gap on him, and then Davi Millsaps went down later in the race, and I tried to catch him at the end, too. I wanted to pass him, or at least get close enough to pass him, but at the same time, I wanted to ride smart and not risk it.
Yeah, I can see how in hindsight you could wish you would’ve pushed for a top-five, but then you also could be wishing that you didn’t push because you might have ended up on your head...
Exactly. I was happy with my finish. It was a solid finish to build on.
Is that the best your team has ever finished?
Yeah, it’s definitely the best that our team has had, and Matt Boni got second in his heat race, which is the best heat-race finish that they’ve had, too. It all happened this one weekend.
Is there any special bonus program in store for Hart & Huntington riders who finish sixth, or maybe next time if you finish fifth?
I don’t know, I’m going to have to talk to those guys about that. I mean, I got sixth, so if they want me in the top five, I’m going to need some incentive, you know? (Laughs)
Yeah, even if it’s like free tattoos...
(Laughs) Right! Free tattoos, or... something.
Do you guys get support from Honda?
Nope, the Hart & Huntington team, we buy our own bikes, our own parts, and just do our own deal.
So you qualify for regular Honda contingency, then, don’t you?
I don’t think there is Honda contingency...
There is! They announced it as Anaheim 1. I don’t know the details of it, but it exists... You might want to make sure you’re signed up for it!
Yeah, I need to fill out my forms, then!
Yeah, you can get paid! It’s extra money!
I like to get paid! (Laughs)
And finally, what made you decide to switch to the 450 this year after you had so much success on a 250F last year?
I ride the 450 really well, and my deal with Troy Lee kind of went south. The Rockstar/Hart & Huntington team stepped up, and I felt like it was a good fit, so I decided to take it. Obviously, it’s working out really well.
Do you plan on doing any outdoors at all?
I don’t know. Outdoors is up in the air right now, but I’m sure I’ll at least do a couple here and there. We’ll see. I’ve got the X Games and the U.S. Open and I’m doing Mammoth, so I’m not exactly sure what we’ll be doing for the outdoor season just yet.
Would you like to thank anyone?
I just want to thank the whole Rockstar/Hart & Huntington team, and Carey [Hart] and Kenny [Watson, the team manager] for sticking behind me, my mechanic, Tony, for doing a great job, and everyone else that’s associated with our team. I can’t thank them enough.
So, no pressure or nothing, but top five this weekend, right?
Yeah, no pressure... Top five. [Laughs]