Open Mic: Doug Dubach

Open Mic Doug Dubach

September 20, 2013 12:30pm
For as long as anyone can remember, former factory Yamaha racer and supercross winner Doug Dubach has been nicknamed “The Doctor”.  And recently the nickname really fit as Doug went down hard at Mammoth Mountain and needed to see a whole bunch of doctors for his pretty serious injuries. Although not fully recovered, Dubach headed over to England to race the Vet MXdN for Team USA along with teammates John Dowd, Guy Cooper and Shaun Kalos. We caught up to Dubach while he was working away at his company Dr.D Exhaust to talk about the race and why he’s crazy.

Racer X: Thanks for doing this and I can’t believe you headed over there as you’re still not that healthy.
Doug Dubach: The whole joke during the weekend was that I didn’t want anyone taking any photos because my wife doesn’t know I’m racing! She just rolled her eyes right now as we do this interview. I had done my share to put this team together with all the guys, Jeff Stanton, Dowd, Cooper and myself and if we were all healthy we would have been great. But with Jeff’s father being ill, me getting hurt, it was really a tough deal.

When I was laying at the hospital after my crash my doctor asked me what were my short term and long term goals. And I have all these tubes out of me and stuff. I told him my short term for the Vet MXdN and my long term was the Vet Nationals (laughs), which I don’t think was the answers he was looking for!

Anyways, it killed me to not go and I told them I couldn’t go a few different times. He was trying to get some other guys but I guess no one stepped up and wanted to go. So they came back to me and I was needed, I guess. There was no other way around it. Even injured if I could fill in some spots—they drop the worst result each moto—I figured I could race. My wife didn’t think I should go but I just figured if I was in opening ceremonies, did a few laps and tried it out, it would be OK. I rode practice and felt OK though.

So I decided to race and my first moto my rear shock bolt broke, which was maybe a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. But then I almost holeshot the second moto, Bayle and I were 1-2 and I figured this was OK. I soldiered on, got some good starts, which helped me stay out of trouble, and I slowly went backwards. There were some fast guys and if I got pressure, I let a guy by. It was funny after that DNF, I got eleventh in the next three motos.

The very last moto I stuffed some Belgian guy back for eleventh and he punched me after the finish! Good times. I had to get that eleventh, I couldn’t get a twelfth. It was a fun race and at the end, when we were up on the podium I was saying no photos, we can’t let my wife know!

Riding with injuries suffered at Mammoth, Dubach finished 22nd overall at the Vet MXdN last weekend in England.
Adam Duckworth photo

It seems that event is growing each and every year, some of those bikes look incredible and it’s becoming a must-attend race.
It’s incredible. I didn’t realize the scope of the thing until last year. You see lots of fans around when you’re racing and in the pits. It’s a real deal for sure. But Sunday morning they drove us out to a field, we got in a helicopter and we flew some circles around the property before being introduced down on the starting line. I was like “Holy crap”. I thought we were at Unadilla twenty years ago. It was just camper shell after camper shell. It was crazy! And then last year we were up there doing some sort of introductions in front of everyone and there were tons of people around us. And I think it was bigger this year.

This year Dowd won the thing, he looked like he was pretty good and Jean-Michel Bayle was back and looking good.
That was cool, I hadn’t seen Bayle in a while and I was somewhat one of his only friends when he was over here. In fact, he told me that after he won his supercross title in 1991 at Oklahoma, I was one of only two people to tell him congrats and the other guy was Cooper! He’s always been a nice guy and any competitor you could learn from was someone I wanted to get to know him. And that guy could ride a bike.

Good to see Jacky Vimond, also. I’ve known him for a long time—from back in the day through Jim Castillo. Also when he was in California riding. We go back a while. They had a big Motul truck there and I had to be pulled out of it after the race by my daughter because we were in there talking and laughing about the old times. And [Fred] Bolley as well, good to see him there. It was great for sure.

I saw a photo from the pits and there was a 1989 YZ there that I figured was yours but I just saw you on the Honda.
Yeah, that was Jim Anderson’s, remember him from Washington state? A whole bunch of guys were there from the Pacific Northwest. Anderson won the +50 class I believe. There were a bunch of guys there. I had a YZ490 getting built and ready to go for this race but then I got hurt and we didn’t do that. Then I had to fill-in for Stanton on the team and all they had was a CR500. And I filled in for Jeff last year also and had his Honda again.

Dubach had to ride a Honda instead of his customary Yamaha.
Adam Duckworth photo

Were you looking for a white fender for it? Doug Dubach doesn’t ride Hondas!
(Laughs) Yeah really, right? I have ridden a Honda twice in my life and once was last year at this event and then again this year. Everybody understands it’s a team event and we do what we can to win it for the team. In the end it doesn’t matter. Other than the shock bolt falling out of it, which I heard later was problem with that year’s bikes, it was good once we fixed it up. You know I laid a wrench on every bolt on that bike to make sure it was good. The suspension was not very good but it was fast and I’m sure with some work the suspension would have been fine. You don’t know what’s been done to the inside of the bike so you take it with a grain of salt and try your best.

There seemed to be a lot of fast guys that I’ve never heard of in the results that did pretty well. Were you surprised with some riders?
There were lots of guys who just never quit riding. I think they were in the shadows of the real stars of the GPs but they just kept racing. There are some guys that are still very fast. Of course Josh Coppins, everyone knows who he is and he just quit racing a couple of years ago. Gordon Crockard and I had some epic battles last year and I beat him once this year, although he was all over me on the last lap. Yeah, the field was pretty deep this year once again. There are some badass guys out there!