Between the  Motos: Chad Reed

Between the Motos Chad Reed

September 24, 2013 11:10am
Have you ever looked a shark in the eye? Well that’s what looking Chad Reed in the eye is like according to his team manager Dave Osterman. Sharks are predators, lonely swimmers, determined, fierce and not an animal to be trifled with. This is Reed in 2014.

Go ahead and take your swings at him now, he’s back to betting on himself again. Remember what happened when he was a disaster on that Kawasaki in 2010? Remember when he had to start his own team once factory Honda decided they wanted Josh Grant more?

Lots of people got their digs in at Reed back then, when he was wounded but not dead. Same thing now—not dead, not by a long shot. You’d be surprised how much life this shark still has in him and in this exclusive to Racer X, Reed talks honestly about this coming year and much more.

Racer X: You’re one rider that loves Motocross des Nations and takes pride in it. And this weekend it’s going off without you. Any regrets about pulling out of it? Do you wish you were there?
Chad Reed: Regrets, no. You should never have regrets. I had to make the tough call, right after driving out of the front gate of the Utah National. When my second moto was taking off on the start I sent an email right then and there. Having the position on the team… I had gear made, I had team wear made. It just totally sucked to pull out at that point. I was committed. But it wasn’t the best for me. My goal was to basically right after Elsinore just really focus on myself, getting healthy and getting back into shape. It was just over a month, I felt that was possible. But with the combination of, I’m in a lawsuit with the local county right now and I can ride my two supercross tracks but neither of my outdoor tracks. That kind of put a damper on that training idea I had. And I didn’t want to go to California for six weeks and stay there. I’d already been out there for four weeks and that was long enough for me. That, and the fact that I didn’t know what was happening as far as next year. Things can turn.

I didn’t have a lot of desire to continue going down the path that we were on for another month and a half when I didn’t need to. I just felt like it was the best choice for myself, number one, and then I think it was the best choice for the team. You do always want to go and represent your nation’s colors the best you can, and I just felt that I wasn’t going to be able to represent the way I wanted to. So I thought it was best for all involved that I pull the pin. And that gave them plenty of time, it gave them pretty much six weeks to figure out their plan B.

Chad Reed will miss the upcoming MXoN to concentrate on the off-season and get a deal finalized.
Simon Cudby photo

I was surprised that even though you weren’t riding that well, you’re still a world-class rider, and I thought you would still go to at least the des Nations. I was very shocked at that text you sent me saying you were out.
I was at one point very committed. I love it. I’m going to be so disappointed not to be there this weekend. It’s an event that I have a lot of pride around. But truthfully it doesn’t make any sense for us to go anymore. A month and a half after our last National, (Ryan) Dungey and all the AMA guys that are going, whether they’re Team USA or other teams, it’s so hard to stay in shape and continue outdoors when it’s sort of nice for us to have the series finish in the end of August and actually be able to take the month of September off, and be like, wow. That’s the perfect case scenario. But when you ride in des Nations and you’re representing your country you can’t do it. I have a feeling that certain people pulled out of that series and the des Nations for more reasons than one. It’s a difficult time of the year but you’ve got to do what you got to do sometimes.

Brett Metcalfe, Todd Waters, and Dean Ferris are on Team Aussie. What are your thoughts on that team and how can they do? I think they can be a sleeper.
I think they’re a sleeper. Ferris has been getting podiums, won some races. Metty’s been a solid top-six guy outdoors every time he’s raced. He’s Canadian champion. Waters I think is a solid third guy. I think he’s excited and he’s focusing a lot on going in Europe. I think the fact that he’s riding a KTM next year, actually a factory Husqvarna, it puts him in a good position. You know he’s going to get a good bike. I think it’s our best team. I’m sure Matt Moss would have been great as well. He was the big bike champ and he’s been on it down there.

But Matt’s kind of in the same situation that I just talked about. He’s 100 percent focused on going and trying to win a supercross title. Right now they’re two rounds into their supercross series. He wanted to represent the country well and he didn’t feel like he could do that by concentrating and trying to win the next race. I get that. I think we have a solid team. I think if all goes well they could totally be a sleeper for a third place on the podium. Otherwise I think they’re a solid top-five team.

You’ve been showing us some hints and doing different things on social media. I know you love that stuff but what’s the update on what bike you’re riding next year or what can you tell us?
Not a lot that I’m willing to share at this point. I will share that I’ve chosen my bike and we’re full steam ahead on trying to get it all going. For the social media thing, a lot of people think that I’m messing with people and that kind of stuff but I just think that I’m the first person that’s ever been in a situation where I am not obligated to certain things. I can share more than the normal guy can share. I’m the one that’s running the team, I own the team, so I’m making the decisions. Other than the manufacturer, once I sign into that then I’m obviously obligated to that. My Honda contract is up. It allows me to test all bikes and ride other bikes and also post pictures. Sure, I don’t show the complete bike. And it’s not a tease; it’s more of a nothing-is-signed tweet delivered. I laugh because I posted a picture of my bike with a white fender and people speculated what fender it was.

I just find it funny that the Orange Brigade account of KTM chimes in. I quickly browse and it’s one of their most-liked pictures. Although I sucked this year I still got a lot of fans out there and I’ve still got power. It’s funny that people try to cash in on that stuff. Even all the pictures that I browse through, a picture of my supposedly KTM fender, it was one of the most-liked pictures. And that’s pretty much where I’m at. I have fun with it. It’s not me messing, it’s just me having fun. It’s me keeping people in the loop of what I’m doing without less people taking full advantage of the fact that I’m riding a particular bike and taking pride and stuff from that. It’s my way of doing it in a fun way and a way of keeping my fans up to date and having some fun with it.

I agree. More guys should be like you and use it to their advantage instead of calling people out or telling the public how they want “it” so bad. The funny thing is you’re washed up, you’re done, you’re finished, yet everyone seems to care about what you’re posting on social media, right?
Yeah, right? If I was all those things then I wouldn’t have the following. For me it’s just fun. It is a unique position for me to be in as a team owner. I really can share that stuff where for the most part the other guys don’t have that luxury. I think it’s huge. Sometimes they think that you’re trying to mess with everyone or trying to start the message boards to go crazy, but I’ve got more shit in my life to worry about than message boards.

I think the last time I looked at a message board was 2008 or something when I was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels or whatever it was at the banquet. I think it’s just fun. For me, I care about the team and my guys and my family. My timeline goes crazy, clearly. Sometimes I can’t even keep up with that. But I just try to have fun with it. It’s been a good off-season. I think I’ve had some good downtime and rode a lot of different bikes. It was purposely kind of knowing that I had a really solid offer. I had to put myself in a position where I got a really good offer from RCH, a team that I really look up to.

While it has yet to be determined what brand he will ride in 2014, Reed has said it will not be a Husqvarna.
Simon Cudby photo

And from what I understand, you turned down good money from them to keep your team intact.
Yeah, I could have been an over 2 million dollar guy before I swung a leg over a bike. With all my personal deals and stuff like that, when someone’s offering you a solid contract and with your personal deals and all that adds up to over 2 million dollars, I think you need to think about it. I gave it a big thought. I thought about it for about a month, rode the bike and just made the decision based off of what I felt was closest to me. I feel like I’m a signature away from my team being really, really strong. I just felt like I didn’t have it in me. At this point in my career it’s not about the money, it’s not about all that. It’s about trying to be happy, enjoying going to the races and all that. It’s not that RCH didn’t have all that to offer to me, but dissolving TwoTwo Motorsports would have been a bummer for me. It was something that I thought long and hard about. At the end of the day I felt like it was important for me to keep the team running and keep going down that road.

You literally turned down that ride, the money, the no worries, because you couldn’t bring your guys. Some would say that’s crazy or admirable. You choose.
If RCH was willing to basically put their stickers and stuff on our semi and I continued down the road with my guys, then that would have been tough to say no. But they weren’t in the position, and I respect why they weren’t in that position. As a team owner I like my say and like my flexibility of being able to do what I want. So I respect what Ricky and Hart have going on over there. And truthfully the bike wasn’t what I remembered it to be. That was kind of the deciding factor. The chassis changed the year after I left.

I think the chassis is just like all the other chassis at this point, just really stiff. For me, for what I was looking for in a bike, and high expectations that I had for the bike, the feeling that I went looking for and was hoping for wasn’t there. So that was kind of the icing on the cake for me. Just keep going down the road to finding a bike that suits me.

So basically doing the math here, we got a KTM or a Kawasaki for you. Can you rule out a Husky deal that’s been rumored?
Husky’s not ready to come into a program in the U.S. just yet. It sounds like they’re a few years out. At this point no, I won’t be riding Husqvarna.

One of the things that people have talked about is teaming with Mitch (Payton) and being his 450 team or something. Anything to that?
Yeah, there’s a lot of discussions going on. There’s a lot of big parts to it, to something per se.

Mitch plays things pretty close to the vest but I was talking to him for another feature for Racer X and we got into talking about next year and you. He’s got your back 100 percent and seems to admire the way you do business.
Mitch has always been a good guy. I feel like for me I like that he’s straight up. When he thinks something he lets you know. I can deal with that. If someone tells me no I’m good with a no if they explain why and it makes sense. He’s never taken advantage of me, always given me his all, whether it be him or Bones [Jim Bacon] or any of his staff. He’s always made all that stuff available to us. I’m hugely appreciative of him and what he brings to the table for us. Who knows? I’m 99.9 percent sure that we’ll be PC, and what level and what bike it’ll be hopefully here in the next few weeks we can announce that.

So in a couple weeks or so we’ll be looking for Team TwoTwo to have an announcement. Have you kind of given up on your dream of a teammate right now? Is that on the back burner?
No, not at all. Probably more reason there’s not an announcement is because of the second potential rider. So, we’ll see. It’ll be awesome. That’s the goal. The biggest thing that I fight as a team owner is the fact that I’m the racer, and everybody looks at this as just racing. It’s really not. There is no company as unique as TwoTwo Motorsports. We the team have big goals and the future is to have two solid guys, me being one for at least the next year and then try to have two solid guys always. We have great sponsors. Like I said, I feel like I’m a signature away of being able to really do it the way you want to do it. But right now I’m really happy with the way things are looking with sponsorship and from a budgeting point of view.

We’re looking to grow. We’re trying to work some things out. Hopefully by Friday I’ll know really where I stand as far as a potential second rider. We’ve got to get moving. I’m putting some pressure on and trying to get this thing done, or if it doesn’t get done then we move on and be a single-rider team again.

Reed expects to return to form in 2014 with a full off-season to prepare.
Simon Cudby photo

All of this wouldn’t have mattered that much if you don’t think you can get back to being a podium guy or winning races or even winning a title.
100 percent I think that I can win races and contend for a title, whether it be supercross or motocross. I honestly believe that. I think had I been a guy that wanted to ride it out I would have renewed my Honda contract and stayed there. But there are things that I want to still achieve. This is not about people counting me out. This is me believing what I can do and what I bring to the table. My personal, honest opinion is that nothing’s changed since I got hurt in 2012. Still one guy’s dominant. And still the second guy’s always there for a shot at it. You never know who’s going to stand on the third spot of the podium. For me, I can still win. I can still contend for this thing. Time will tell whether I’m crazy and totally naive or if my feeling’s right. If I’m on the bike that gives me the feeling that I need … it mainly comes down to training the way I need to train.

There’s no secret, this is the worst year as far as being in shape and all that kind of stuff. I’ve never struggled through a year being so out of shape, for whatever reason. My knee just totally sucked. I got that fixed. It’s just been one thing after another. The same old stuff. Everybody’s like, “he needs the new bike”. Sure, I didn’t love the new bike as far as the Honda, but for me a lot of this year was me, 100 percent me, just because I was out of shape, wasn’t in shape. Every time I tried to get in shape it seemed like it was just one thing after another. I’ll put 2013 behind me and focus on ’14. If I can do the work I’ll be fine.

Last year I would talk to you and you were go-karting, relaxing and it was hard for you to get the momentum back after the bad injury with your knee. I’m thinking that you know that this off-season is big for you. You feel that if you’re happy with your bike and you’re happy with everything, then you can get back.
I’ll be back, for sure. I feel that strongly. I’ll be back to where I need to be. Right now, trust me, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. There’s a massive, massive plan in place. I’m not afraid to work hard and do it all over again. Sometimes it takes taking a step back to take two steps forward. I think I can still be that guy, pre-going over those bars [in Dallas]. Should be fun. I think it’s always fun when you come back from a shitty year. It makes it that much more meaningful.