Privateer Profile:  Michael McDade

Privateer Profile Michael McDade

August 18, 2011 2:30pm
The first time I recall seeing Mike McDade was back in the early 2000s at a local race in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He was on a clapped-out Yamaha with no numbers, but he was the fastest kid on the track and was the only one jumping a huge double that day. Over the years he picked up various support rides and steadily climbed the ranks from unknown local to amateur champion, but unfortunately making the transition to salaried professional gave Mike some trouble. Out of the blue Mike, who’s now 23-years-old, entered the Unadilla National this past weekend and went 21-22 in the 250 Class aboard a privateer KX250F with help from Moto Cross Ministries. We were pleasantly surprised to see McDade back in the results, so we gave the Pennsylvania resident a call for today’s Privateer Profile.

Racer X: Mike, hey, what’s going on?
Mike McDade: I’m actually on my lunch break right now.

Where do you work at?
I work at a shop part-time in Indiana, PA, called Tom’s Cycles. I work in the parts department.

McDade finished 25th overall at Unadilla via 21-22 moto scores.
Photo: Zak Lowery

I was actually really surprised to see you out at Unadilla this past weekend racing. Where the heck have you been?
Well, my girlfriend just had a baby about a month ago to the day, so…

Thanks. But yeah, last year I had some problems with my leg and had a rod put in and it just never healed right. I kept getting stress fractures and it’s just been really bothersome. Then earlier this season I met Shane Shipley at a qualifier and we talked a little bit and he said he wanted to buy me a bike and train me and get me on some kind of program. The first day I met him I actually re-broke my leg. So, we started training while it was broken just trying to get ready to do a national. I started riding again and actually felt better than I ever have after an injury so we decided to get ready to do a few outdoors. Our goal was to come back for just Steel City, but everything was ahead of schedule so we headed up to Unadilla.

Well, you went 21-22 in the 250 Class, which isn’t too bad for your first national of the year. Was that above or below your expectations?
As far as Shane’s expectations, they were just to get in. Mine were to finish inside the top twenty. I was pretty confident I was going to make it in and I qualified in 29th, which was decent considering how many people were out in that B practice.

As far as the motos went, the first moto I felt real good and didn’t get winded or tired at all. I had two crashes and had a real bad crash off the big sky tabletop. Decotis and me hit in the air and I side-saddled and got whiskey throttle into the fence and took out like five people. There were like two laps to go and I lost a few positions and that kind of tired me out right at the end.

The second moto I didn’t get that good of a start but I ran like sixteenth for a while. I passed Musquin at the beginning, which kind of surprised me. I fell over once that moto and ended up 22nd, so it wasn’t that bad of a day.

Unadilla marked McDade's first national since 2009.
Photo: Zak Lowery

Not at all, considering it was your first national in quite some time.
Yeah, my last national was Steel City in 2009—I did the 450 Class there. Before that it was the beginning of 2008 at High Point. I only did two nationals before this weekend.

Were you nervous?
On the start I wasn’t nervous at all. I got more nervous during the race being up so far. I kind of surprised myself.

This has to give you some confidence going into the next race, which is going to be what, Southwick?
We want to do Southwick. I actually called a few teams to try and get a bike to ride. If that doesn’t work out, we’re just going to kind of put all of our eggs into one basket and just ride Steel City. I’m hoping for a top fifteen finish there. I’m going to have Chad Sanner at Eleven10Mods do some motor work on the bike and hopefully get my suspension dialed in a little better. Hopefully that goes good enough and I can get out to Pala for the final race of the season. It just seems that everyone is already on a shoestring budget and we’re on a thread budget [Laughs]. So far this has been the best year I ever had as far as how I feel and my commitment. Having this baby has made me sit back and changed my whole life.

Is it a boy or girl?
A boy. His name is Keegan McDade.

McDade beat the likes of Canard, Stroupe, and Barcia during his amateur career.
Photo: Zak Lowery

To refresh people’s memories, give us a list of some of your past accomplishments—I know you had some championships from the Mini O’s.
In 2006 I beat Stroupe and Canard for the overall in the 250 and 450 classes at the Mini O’s. I then met Matt Walker and we did a Puerto Rican supercross and I won that. I had a lot of good arenacross finishes when I was on the Foremost Insurance team with Jim Neese. I won Mini O’s again in 2008 with Pant Saggin Dezign against Barcia, Tapia, Regal and all of them. That was actually the last big thing I had in 2008, so I’m ready to finish this year out on a positive note and go into next year with higher expectations.

I’m sure you have some people you want to thank for getting you back out there, Mike.
I want to thank Moto Cross Ministries. That’s our title sponsor. Shane Shipley does a prayer service at the races we go to, so that’s our main sponsor. I’ve gotten a lot more faith from meeting Shane. Even Trey Canard, he’s one of the guys I look up to and he’s younger than me. I’d also like to thank Pant Saggin Dezign, John from Scott, FCR Suspension, Mosites, Tom’s Cycle, Loudmouth Intake, LeoVince, Eleven10Mods, and my mechanic, JR Nelson.

One last thing—if there is a team looking for a replacement rider for any of these last few nationals, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?
They can just e-mail me at Thanks, Billy.