The Conversation: 450 Podium from Millville

July 23, 2017 8:25pm

Racer X: We know you were struggling with a knee injury. Just give us a little idea of everything that went into this, because at one point it was a really slippery slope.
Marvin Musquin: Yeah, I’m doing really well. We’ve been training really hard, RedBud was pretty good. Southwick was going to be good but unfortunately some mistakes, but the riding was good. But today, the track was just really, really technical, really challenging, and we made the right changes on the bike. It worked really well. I was able to get a holeshot in the first moto and I was trying to pull away from those guys and try to win that moto and it worked out really well. Second moto I wanted to do the same thing but I started eighth, I made my way to fourth on the first lap but Eli [Tomac] was in front of me so I knew that was going to be good, it was going to be a battle. But he crashed on the first lap. That shows you how tough that track was. I was able to make the pass for first place. [Blake] Baggett was behind and trying to give it a run, but just trying to be consistent and I pulled away from him at the end and just going 1-1. It’s just a dream come true right now. It’s amazing. Really happy about that.

This will be your first 1-1 overall in the 450 class. That first moto, did it surprise you a little bit on how far you were able to pull away in first?
Musquin: Yeah, I knew the speed was good because in practice I was able to get some good lap times. When you’re leading it helps so much and you don’t get roosted. You can go wherever you want and pick the good lines. I tried to push and get a gap. Obviously Eli was not in the second place. He had to make passes. I was controlling the race and looking back.

Dean, 3-3 on the day. You ended Southwick with a third in the second moto, giving you third overall. Just kind of run us down the day, what you thought of the track.
Dean Wilson: I had a really good day today. I’m very happy. I actually struggled this morning in that deep, rutty, loamy soft stuff. I qualified 11th, so I was off the pace. Then I got a really good start in the first moto. I was behind Marv, but I had no flow and I was kind of still searching for my flow. I was obviously off the pace. So, I just tried to hold strong and find some better lines, I was kind of moving around the track. By the end I felt kind of half-decent. I was happy to get a third in that one. Second moto another great start, which I was so happy about because it’s been a while since I got some good starts. It got a bit rough the first couple laps, but I just kind of maintained a pace that wasn’t amazing but kind of cruised right around for third, which was awesome. I didn’t realize I got second overall, which was even more bittersweet. It’s been a really good couple weeks, so just got to keep working hard and keep plugging away.

Rich Shepherd

Eli, in that second moto going down right off the bat, take us through what was going through your head when you picked yourself back up from that crash.
Eli Tomac: When I went down I was just trying to get up on my feet as fast as I could and get to the bike. Luckily it happened at the end of that first lap to where the field was pretty strung out and I wasn’t totally buried in the pack when I ended up getting back on. The worst part was there was actually a second crash up after the tabletop and the triple step up. Clipped someone’s rear tire and crashed again. So, that’s the one that really did me in there. It was a scramble to get going. I was pretty fortunate to make it back to fifth, all things considered. I thought it was going to be a lot worse.

Does it give you a lot of confidence knowing that even on a bad day like today you still extended your points championship?
Tomac: When I look at it, yeah. We walked away and said that. We made a point on Baggett. Like I said, all things considered, we were fortunate for both crashes to be able to have a straight bike and to make it back to fifth.

Eli, talk about that crash. What happened in there?
Tomac: The first crash was a cross rut going down that hill. The dirt was just spongey as it could ever be, really. Then I tucked my front end. By that time my bars were out of my hands and I was doing a somersault. Just a little cross rut.

Where does this rank on the tracks so far this year?
Tomac: It was tough. It was tough to get a flow, like a couple of these guys said. The lines would change, and then the spongey dirt … just can’t really get comfy. It’s a little bit harder to get comfy.

Dean, is it a coincidence that you get a podium and then suddenly you get good starts? Is this a confidence thing? Is it a coincidence or is there something to this?
Wilson: I didn’t actually get to practice any starts, since Southwick, I believe. So maybe just don’t practice the starts. It could be confidence. I just kind of ventured out on the outside on the start. I knew it was a little bit softer on the inside. It was so nice to get good starts and kind of being up front with the fast guys right away and learn from them.

Is that almost the next step that you need to take here as you’re moving back up, to get starts and see what the opening pace is and things like that?
Wilson: For sure. I just don’t think my pace is there yet, but obviously I’m working on it. I just need to tidy a few things up in my riding. My bike’s working really good so I’m happy with that. It’s just kind of a bit of technique and stuff like that that I’m lacking and to get to where these guys are. I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully I get there.

Marvin, just talk about the knee rehab. Were you having to do your regular training and then also do other stuff for your knee? Or were you not doing your regular stuff and only working on the knee? What was the month or so like coming back?
Musquin: The first few weeks definitely it was more working on the knee than anything else. It’s just rebuilding strength and memory back and just more confidence in the leg. I’ve said it before, but I just lost so much. I was riding my dirt bike and just the confidence was just gone, especially in the leg on the left turns. It was terrible. I couldn’t believe how bad it was. It was painful, but it was more strength-wise. It was really bad. It just gets better and better and better. I still tape the knee to make sure it’s not as unstable and not too bad, but the strength is definitely back. All the exercises that we’ve been doing has been helping so much. So, I’m really happy the way it’s been. Other than that, I had a really difficult two to three weeks. Right now we’re back to where we belong and we just got to keep working hard. Just proves how much confidence helps and training hard and getting good results.

Jeff Kardas

Eli, are you getting concerned with the starts? They were really good in supercross. It seemed like you totally turned a corner, and they were good in the beginning of the season but they haven’t been so great lately. Are you getting worried about that?
Tomac: No. My second moto start today was actually really good. Going into the first moto today I had an awesome jump, but then got beat, I should have went up on the grass like the 250 guys I guess were doing something. Today’s starts were actually decent. But yeah, it’s not good when Marvin gets a holeshot and he’s running away by 20 seconds.

For all three of you guys, Trey Canard announced his retirement this morning. I think at one point all three of you have been teammates or you’ve known Trey. Do you have any comment on the retirement or a Trey story?
Tomac: I think he can at least retire with some success in the sport. He’s had an outdoor championship and a supercross championship in the 250. Not everyone lives in a perfect world and no one does live in a perfect world. He’s had some tough goes with the injuries so why not walk away healthy? I wasn’t able to hear everything he said today, but all the best to him.

Musquin: Everybody sees Trey’s career. He’s done really well in 250 and even on the 450 winning like Eli said, championships and 450 main events in supercross and stuff like that. He had a great career. That injury he had in 2012, that was really scary, but he came back. He came back a few times from injuries. This year I was able to have him as a teammate and work with him a little bit with testing and switching to supercross and get to know him. He’s definitely a great guy. I was glad to be his teammate for a year. Good luck for his next … I don't know what he’s going to do. Like Eli said, going away with success like that and healthy, I think he had enough injuries and you don’t want to risk it anymore. That’s a lot of work to get back and healthy.

Wilson: I kind of heard the news. It can be a little bit sad because we all eventually have to come to that point in our career where you got to make that decision. I’m happy for him. Like all these guys said, he’s had a great career. He’s going to walk away healthy. Best of luck to him. It must have been a tough one for him, but I’m happy for him and wish him the best.

Dean, looking at the next season of racing supercross and outdoors, with Ryan Dungey retiring, Trey now retiring, Ken Roczen still obviously struggling with his injury, for you being a guy coming on the scene and breaking onto the podium, does that give you a little more motivation to think, “Okay, well, this is definitely in reach?”
Wilson: Yeah. I think it’s just [important] not to get too far over my head, really. This year I set small goals and think definitely I achieved them and then I got better results. Just can’t set the bar too high. So, for next year obviously my goals are going to be a lot bigger than they are this year. I don’t want to put a bunch of pressure on myself. I’m really happy what I’m doing right now. I’m just going to keep working hard and definitely looking forward to next year.

Jeff Kardas

Dean, can you just explain how the signing with Rockstar Husky came about? Were you working on this for a while or did you just get a call like mid-week during supercross and end up on the team a few days later? How did that all come about?
Wilson: I think it was after the third or fourth round, I was just actually getting the track to practice and I got the call from Bobby Hewitt that morning. I was literally just unloading the bike. So, that was a great feeling. I actually unloaded the bike then I loaded it back up because I was ready to drive to the Husky test track and get testing because we didn’t have much time for the Oakland supercross. So, I rode like two days and I raced Oakland and got my first top 10, which was cool. It’s kind of funny considering a top 10 is cool, but that’s just kind of where I was at that point. This year was kind of just rebuilding myself and be happy with a top 10. It’s been a really great year. I’m really happy with the team and my surroundings. It’s good.