Open Mic:  Interviews from San Diego

Open Mic: Interviews from San Diego

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Interview by Jason Weigandt, Steve Matthes and Jordan Roberts

Justin Barcia, Honda Muscle Milk, 2nd in 450SX

How did it go?
Crazy tonight.

Heat race was crazy.
That was no fun at all. Me and Chad [Reed] got into it a little bit, couple block passes and some words after the heat.

Did that happen after, just when you were coming back through? After you went off the track?
Yeah. I had my legs off and went through the mechanics area, grabbed a handful of whiskey throttle. Almost took out a whole bunch of mechanics and that was no good at all, so I apologize for that. And then came on the track and Chad was right there. He thought I came over on him, which obviously they say to go on the safest part of the track and there were hay bale openings at the mechanics area, and that’s where I went. It was close. Obviously I never want to cut someone on the face of a triple. He block passed me, I block passed him back, he block passed me… It was crazy.

Reedy’s getting pretty gnarly…
He doesn’t like me.

In general?
In general. He never has. I think because I’m aggressive, but I don’t know. That’s just the way he feels and it’s always been like that for some odd reason. Even when he wasn’t racing me he would always say things. And now we’re racing together.

So, some words after the heat. Everything’s good?
Sure.

Talk about the main event.
I’m moving on for sure. Went into the main event, decent start. Came out third somehow out of the middle pack. I have no idea -- my gate was all jacked up, big rut and squirrelly and stuff. Chad ended up pushing the front end and I went around him there. And then tried to reel in Davi [Millsaps], kind of reeled him in a little bit. A few hay bales got in the main line of the track, which was a little squirrelly, some lappers. It was a really one-line track so it was tough. But Davi rode an awesome race.

Was there any point where you were like, I can get him?
Yeah, I felt like I could get close enough and then I would either have a little mistake or just something would happen. So I felt I could get him but obviously I didn’t.

What’s it do to get two solid ones back under your belt here? Are you back chugging along?
After two bad ones, two solid ones feel awful good. I feel happy. Like I said, it’s not as good a feeling as Phoenix but I’ll definitely take a podium any day over a DNF. – Jason Weigandt

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"Yeah, I felt like I could get close enough and then I would either have a little mistake or just something would happen. So I felt I could get him but obviously I didn’t." - Justin Barcia
Simon Cudby photo

Jason Anderson, Rockstar Energy Racing, 3rd in 250SX

If I had talked to you before the race I would have said your starts have been really bad. Where did this come from?
I’ve been doing so many starts during the week. Thursday this week I went out with my mechanic and we probably did 50 plus starts. Randy, we’ve been doing 20 plus starts a day. I finally just applied my starts to the race.

Do you consider, through the years, amateurs, all that - do you consider yourself a decent starter or has this always been a thing? Or just this year?
Amateurs I was a good starter, but once I started my pro career those went downhill. So right now I’m just building myself back up. I think it’s more confidence in my riding, too, that helps out my starts and just feeling that I belong up front. It’s coming around.

So when you were leading, did that make you nervous or do you feel comfortable being there now?
I feel comfortable for like the first five laps until it sets in. At a pro level I’m not all the way used to it yet. On a pro level I’m kind of known for making some bonehead moves, crashing. So that is kind of in the back of my head. I just want to get used to being up front and just rack up those podiums and kind of learn it up there more than anything.

If you lose the lead or whatever you’re like okay, this is all right. I’m still where I want to be?
Yeah. Right now I’m more focused on putting in my laps. I’m happy with a third but in the long run I’m not going to be content coming into Seattle with a third. I want to race with those guys. And I feel I had a taste of it tonight, which is good. So I just need to keep doing that. I’m fast, I know that, and I usually qualify good. At test tracks I’m riding really good. It’s just applying that to race day is what I’m working on. – Jason Weigandt

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"Right now I’m more focused on putting in my laps. I’m happy with a third but in the long run I’m not going to be content coming into Seattle with a third." - Jason Anderson
Simon Cudby photo

Andrew Short, 9th in 450SX

Didn’t notice you too much tonight. I’m guessing you got a bad start and then probably had to work your way up?
Exactly. I had a great day in terms of practice - the best I’ve qualified and the best I’ve felt on the bike in a long time. Everything went really well. I got second in my heat race. It’s funny because my result in the main was pretty far back; I was 9th. Definitely not what I was looking for. Some nights, like Oakland, I felt horrible. The worst I’ve ever felt on the bike and then I get sixth. So kind of confusing for me but a lot of positive things came out of today.

You keep your streak going of being one of three guys to be in the top ten every race, so that’s a positive.
Who’s tracking that, just you?

Probably just me. Talk about the track. It looked like it got beat down pretty good by the end of the night.
Yeah, I thought it was a good track but not for racing. It was fun to ride. My heat race I had a great start and I had a great finish just because of that. And the main event, poor start, poor finish. Some guys came through but not a lot. It is what it is. It was faster than normal, not as technical, and I think that’s what kept the racing more spread out. – Steve Matthes

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"Yeah, I thought it was a good track but not for racing. It was fun to ride." - Andrew Short
Simon Cudby photo

Matt Lemoine, JAB Motorsports, 13th in 450SX

Thirteenth in the main but regardless, great heat race, great practices. You were on it all day. You’re probably not happy with the main, but overall I think you rode good.
I rode awesome. Nothing to complain about with the bike. I’m super pumped on myself, my fitness, my focus, everything. I really had a top ten tonight in me. I rode good I just was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, got tangled up with some people. Went back and put my head down and still got to pick off a few people at the end, which was pretty dang good. I finished 13th but my result doesn’t show how good I actually felt.

I think you were great all day. We were tweeting about it in practice and the heat race and stuff… you made some passes. Why did you ride so much better? Not that you’ve been riding bad. This week did you change anything? Did you like the dirt, the track… What was the difference?
Just having fun. It’s all about going home and if you have a good week… momentum builds. It’s just having a good finish last week. I think confidence is building inside me, knowing where I belong with those guys. I think that’s pretty much just the difference. Hopefully next week in Dallas we can really nail a top ten for all my family friends, that would be awesome. – Steve Matthes

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"I rode awesome. Nothing to complain about with the bike. I’m super pumped on myself, my fitness, my focus, everything." - Matt Lemoine
Simon Cudby photo

Ryan Dungey, Red Bull KTM, 3rd in 450SX

First of all, what shock was on the bike?
Well, we started with the spring shock today. Obviously the air shock with what happened last week was unfortunate. But we definitely need to make sure we have everything right and ready for when we get ready to put it back on. I think we’re going to have to do...along with fixing it, coming up with some testing plans where things could be better and just try to make it a solid deal. I think it’s got a lot of potential and the sooner the better. But the spring shock’s working great. It’s good that we had a good backup plan.

So how did the night go for you?
The night went good. I was really happy with it. Obviously the track was very, very technical and tough tonight. The whoops were really nasty but the base of the floor and the corners were so slippery. It was really hard to get any traction. You go outside you spin, you go inside you spin… It was harsh, it was choppy. It was one of those tracks you kind of had to just let the bike roll and not force things. That’s how a lot of the tracks have been lately here on the west coast. Our starts could be a little better. We will continue to work on those. We lost it there in the beginning, just kind of not being there in the front and guys got away. By the time I got into third and capitalized on the other guys’ mistakes it was a little too late.

Last year I remember the whoops here were gnarly and it was a rough night for you. You looked fine here. Is that a sign of progress?
Yeah. Hands down the bike’s way better. The setup’s better. The handling of the bike is better, too. For sure last year we struggled. We had things to figure out. But to be able to see what it was and fix that problem and keep moving forward and see progress it was really cool. So how nasty the whoops were tonight I felt really confident and comfortable going into them every time. And the last year not so much. It was really hard for me last year to make things work. Things were new at the time, we were still learning. Now with a year under our belts it’s good to see us fixed. – Jason Weigandt

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"Obviously the track was very, very technical and tough tonight. The whoops were really nasty but the base of the floor and the corners were so slippery." - Ryan Dungey
Simon Cudby photo

Robert Kiniry, Velocity 3 Yamaha, 16th in 450SX

Really your whole main event was ruined in the first lap.
Yeah, I successfully believe I’ve fallen in every single main this year, first lap. Obviously I know what my work is going to be this week. I really need to do some one-lap sprints and change up some lines and stuff those first laps. Get me thinking a little more. Really got a decent start. My goal is to get in the top ten; I’m right there. I know I’m right there. We started there. Passed a couple guys the first lap, being aggressive and just ran myself into a Tuff Block, just trying to be aggressive. Bent my bike up. Feel like I rode really strong. I know I’ve got 20 laps in me no problem. Pushed my way up to at least 16th, salvaged some points, salvaged some position. I felt like I rode good; that’s why I’m very frustrated with the result. I felt like I was a lot stronger than that. I feel like my momentum’s starting to come. Every year San Diego about this time I start picking up the pace and start figuring it out. I’m really looking forward to Dallas next week. It’s a beautiful stadium. I’ve got some good buddies, Billy Whitley and all them in Texas, hopefully they’re going to come up and have a good week. – Steve Matthes

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"Yeah, I successfully believe I’ve fallen in every single main this year, first lap." - Robert Kiniry
Simon Cudby photo

Justin Brayton, JGR Toyota Yamaha, 7th in 450SX

What an eventful race for you. Running strong in fourth, and then up to third. In Supercross, I was just talking to Matt Goerke, he made one mistake and got passed by three guys. You can kind of relate?
Yeah, totally. That was really a crazy race. It’s really hard to swallow my result. But then again I was in the race the whole time. I was getting passed, I was making passes. And I get seventh and we’re all like in a train. First race I’ve really been in the mix all day long. I was top five in times all day. Felt like I was riding good. I think this is a step in the right direction. Result wasn’t good but definitely riding-wise and everything I feel like we’re there.

At one point your number one fan Weigandt is like, “Hey, look at Brayton! Dungey’s not even catching him. There’s no worries here.” You were holding your own in fourth and then in third when Reed went down.
I felt like I was running strong there and then about lap 12 or so I made a big mistake when I went three on and about landed on the Tuff Blocks on the left side and couldn’t go off. I think I ran like a 49. There were two laps in the middle where I really made mistakes and that’s what cost me. It was basically those couple laps. – Steve Matthes

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"I felt like I was running strong there and then about lap 12 or so I made a big mistake when I went three on and about landed on the Tuff Blocks on the left side and couldn’t go off." - Justin Brayton
Simon Cudby photo

Matt Goerke, BTO Sports KTM, 12th in 450SX

Eventful main event for you, but overall I think you rode pretty good.
Thanks. I was fired up after last week when [Ryan] Villopoto took me out. When he passed me out there he messed up and I got back by. And then I just finally started riding on the edge. I felt good. I was going good for a while and then I just slid out on my own before the whoops, and some guys got me. And then I got back going and I went to pass Lemoine. I had the pass but he ran in the back of me and then we both went down which was a bummer. Then I just tried to catch back up. I got a couple more spots. I’m kind of bummed I didn’t get a top ten but I’m pumped how I rode at the beginning. I was in that group with those guys.

Yeah, Villopoto was behind you at some point. You guys were moving.
Yeah. He got me at the beginning and then I got him back when he messed up. And then he was right there, but I was pushing. I was keeping him behind me. I felt good, and I was right behind Stewart. That was the best I’ve ridden all year. Pumped on that. – Steve Matthes

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"I was going good for a while and then I just slid out on my own before the whoops, and some guys got me." - Matt Goerke
Simon Cudby photo

Kyle Cunningham, Star Racing Yamaha, 5th in 250SX

To be honest, I struggled a little bit in practice getting going. I’m a racer—I like racing—so when something clicks… I’ve got to give it up to Moe and Brad. Before A3 last weekend, they did a lot of clutch testing and worked with setup issues I was having off the gate. Moe really nailed it and it finally showed tonight. I’ve been telling these guys I just have to get a start and I can run up front. I got the holeshot and I thought I was going to have a heart attack while going through the first corner first. It’s been awhile, but I got the holeshot in the heat and rode a solid race. I was a little bummed in the main. I went into the first corner and almost had the holeshot—with Anderson. I got taken into the bails and went down, but it was definitely a solid ride to come from last to fifth. Everyone on the team is happy and it’s just really good for us to see all the time and work put in pay off—you know, before the season and during the season when I was struggling a little with the bike before A3. It’s nice to see it pay off and we’ve got a little bit of momentum now. It was the same thing in 2011. I got a podium and it felt like I got one after another. I also strung together some fourth and fifth places. That’s what we needed after being injured all of last year. I feel like I got the ball rolling and I’m looking forward to some outdoor testing. I’ll take a week off, go home to Dallas and hang out with my grandma, mom and all of my family. – Jordan Roberts

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"Before A3 last weekend, they did a lot of clutch testing and worked with setup issues I was having off the gate. Moe really nailed it and it finally showed tonight." - Kyle Cunningham
Simon Cudby photo

Malcolm Stewart, JDR J-Star KTM, DNF in 250SX

Results don’t really show how well you were riding out there. You were right on Roczen for a while. How was everything before your crash?
Everything was going really good. I was clicking off, I felt really good, but unfortunately I had a little spill. My foot slipped off going into the whoops and I couldn’t get it back on fast enough. I just went down and knocked the wind out of myself. I tried getting back up and riding, but the bike was too twisted up. Other than that, I felt really good going into it. During the main, all the laps were clicking away. I had a solid fourth, but just a little mistake like that… My foot slipped off in one of the worst spots it could’ve. There’s really nothing I can do besides learn from it and keep my head up. We’ve got a big break before Seattle, so I’m just going to go to Dallas and the rest of the east coast rounds to support my brother.

So you’re feeling alright now? You’re not too banged up?
I’m very banged up, actually—I’ve had a rough two weeks. I went down last week and thought I’d never have kids. This week, I felt good but went down and knocked the wind out of myself—nothing too severe but just a little banged up. I’ll probably take this week off and get back at it this following week.

When I walked up you guys were talking about something else: Riding cows—what’s that about?

Oh yeah, riding cows—that’s what we do. Grab ‘em by the ears and hold on for as long as you can. We don’t even go eight seconds. Just hold on until you get bucked off, which is normally four seconds in. If you check out my Twitter, Instagram, whatever—I’ll post pictures surfing on a horse and stuff. – Jordan Roberts

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"Everything was going really good. I was clicking off, I felt really good, but unfortunately I had a little spill. My foot slipped off going into the whoops and I couldn’t get it back on fast enough." - Malcolm Stewart
Simon Cudby photo

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