With freestyle being a fairly recent offspring of motocross, it makes sense that a lot of FMX riders originally dreamed of becoming professional racers. Guys like Brian Deegan, Mike Metzger, and Travis Pastrana paved the way for freestyle after (err… during) their racing careers, and ever since it has seemed like the best racers have had a leg up on the guys who exclusively hit ramps. Nate Adams is one of those really talented racers who found a better place for himself in FMX, but he still holds onto the dream of racing professionally. We caught up with Nate in Texas at Red Bull X-Fighters.
Yeah I’m probably going to try it again next year. It’s just a bummer what happened last year, I just missed a shift and accidentally hit first gear on the lip of a triple and cased it really bad; broke and dislocated my wrist. It’s just unfortunate that in the three months of training leading up to that I never missed a shift, never had a mistake like that happen and it just happened at A1. I was in 33rd when I broke my wrist so I was qualifying, and you know, I wasn’t kidding when I said that’s a goal I’ve had since I was a little boy. I was qualifying, I can’t stop there, so I gotta try it again next year. I’m probably going to go for it again, if I can get bikes and everything from Yamaha I’m gonna do it again.
When was the last race you did before that?
Last race… was the Lake Whitney amateur national in ’04, so it was a few years.
This [X Fighters Texas course] is the most technical course I’ve ever seen. Is that going to play into your favor because of your racing background?
I sure hope so. I won qualifying last night, so I’m feeling good. It’s a big course – bigger than any X Games or Gravity Games course, it’s like, the best one I think we’ve ever had.
So would you rather compete on a course like this, or a more simple one like the X Fighters course in Mexico where there was one landing and a few jumps?
[Laughs]This one, these big courses. I mean, unfortunately when freestyle started getting more popular those contests kind of found their niche and found their way in because they were quick and easy to set up with one landing that was bowled out so it was landable on all sides, and they put a bunch of ramps up to it and there’s your freestyle contest. And I mean it works, but this is where it’s really at. A big course like this, this is where the challenge is and where the good riding happens.
You know, it’s alright. The lighting here is really good actually, but like right now it’s worse because the sun’s coming up and some of the lips are completely black and shadowed, so it’s actually worse right now than under the lighting. Sometimes the glare because from the sun is just gnarly. It’s hot as heck during the day too so it doesn’t bother me at all that we compete at night.
Do you like the X Fighters format where you compete head to head instead of for points?
It’s okay. Sometimes it can be in your favor and sometimes it can go against you. I mean, if in the first round you get paired up against the guy who’s going to win the event that night and you go out in the first round, you could have ended up 2nd or 3rd or 4th and instead you go out first round and get 8th.
Well you’re usually the guy who wins, it seems like, but I see you’re way down in points right now.
[Laughs] Hopefully. Yeah well I missed the first round in Mexico City with my broken wrist and then last round in Canada I went up against Maddo first round, lost, went out first round and got 5th. So, I mean, that’s how the bracketing works. I’d rather see it be a jam format where everyone puts in their run and gets a score, but I think the bracketing is just a little better for TV and makes for a better program. So, whatever’s better for TV.
I’ve seen you playing around on that electric bike, the Zero motorcycle, what do you think of that?
You know, I wasn’t really playing around on it. At every one of these events all the riders vote on one rider to be the “Voice of the Riders,” and that’s me this weekend, so I have to inspect the course, tell them what needs to be fixed, what holes and lines need to be changed and all that, and while other people are riding I’m not allowed to be on my dirt bike for some reason so I ride the little electrical bike around the course just to check everything out. But I’ve had so many people say, “Hey how’s that thing? Is it good?!” and I’m like… no [laughs]. It’s not like you’re going to take it to a motocross track, they’re way far off from being competitive on the motocross level, but they’re fun to jam around on.
I mean, we just developed all the four-strokes and now everyone’s talking about the electric bike, but no, I mean, the power’s weird, it hesitates when you let off and then gas it again, and I mean, they’re nowhere close being competitive at all. It would take a long time and we just went through the whole hassle of changing to four strokes.
Do you think four strokes will take over freestyle?
For sure yeah, I mean, Honda and Kawi don’t even make 250 two-strokes so it’ll just be a matter of time before all the guys switch over.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks a lot and good luck tonight.
Cool man, take her easy, thanks.
Adams went on to win defeat 2008 Red Bull X Fighters Champion Mat Rebeaud in the final round to claim round 3 of the 2009 tour.