As the 2009 Supercross season came to a close, motocross fans throughout the world were preparing themselves for a summer season without the two men that provided what many consider to be the most entertaining Supercross season in history as each had become a part of the Supercross-only trend that has occurred in recent years. However, Chad Reed felt as though something was missing from his career. The two-time Supercross champion had never achieved much success outdoors on the motocross circuit but all that changed this season. After a two-year hiatus, a rejuvenated Reed was able to make the deals and sacrifices necessary to return to the nationals in a quest for that elusive Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship title. He approached the 2009 motocross season with a stronger passion, hunger and unrelenting determination to show he has what it takes to win in all facets of the sport.
While the season got off to a slow start, Chad eventually got into his groove and once he achieved his first career win in the 450 Class, he never looked back, posting a total of five victories and capturing the championship he wanted last weekend at Budds Creek with two rounds to spare. Thor MX takes a look back at the success Chad has achieved this season as Reed himself talks about what this title means to him and his career.
Rumors abound, Reed did not officially commit to competing in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship until the week leading into the opening round of the series.
“This was something I’ve never been able to do on a professional level. I’ve never won an outdoor title. Never here (in the U.S.), never anywhere. I’ve always kind of come up short. I felt like I put out a lot of effort, but I never really concentrated and was never motivated like I was this year. I wanted to get after it.”
At the season opener at Glen Helen, Reed reacquainted himself with the elements of outdoor motocross, bringing home a solid fourth place finish.
“It was a tough year. It started out behind the eight ball a little bit and I was able to work week in and week out to get stronger and stronger. Then I ended up winning races, going back-to-back and won the title.”
Reed’s first career 450 Class victory came during round four at High Point, but the Australian rider wasn’t satisfied with how he rode, still nagged by a lingering stomach ailment.
“I was a late entry (to the nationals). We were working on it for a few months there and I was really happy (it worked out). It’s always good to gamble on yourself and have the people to support your gamble.”
Once Reed took possession of the red number plate as the series points leader, he never relinquished it, getting better and better each and every round.
“To be able to pull it off is obviously really rewarding. A lot of people have been around my racing ever since I got to the U.S., like Thor and Parts, and Suzuki as well this past year. They’re all just really fun to work with and it’s awesome to reward them with a championship. They made it comfortable and I went to work for everyone to try and be in this exact position that we’re in, which is to win an outdoor title.”
Reed took win number two at Millville in an impressive performance and appeared to be in full control of his own destiny.
“It’s definitely real rewarding. Just because of everything I’ve gone through. It was hard there for a little bit. I was dealing with some stomach issues, lost a lot of weight and wasn’t feeling good or at my best. For about three or four races I was kind of going along as a passenger. I felt like I couldn’t really give it my all and I just kind of had to be there every week and put myself in the best position that I could at the time. Lucky enough, that was good enough to get on the podium a few times and stay inside the top 10 and top 5 and the points all added up. I’ve overcome a lot and I’m really just happy to win it.”
Win number three at Washougal was Reed’s turning point. He appeared to have worked through his stomach issues and captured a hard-earned victory by working through the field.
“It’s hard to say (I’ve) completed (my career) or that I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve. Part of what makes me tick from day-to-day and makes me want to be the best year to year is that I’m never satisfied. I try to be better and I try to put myself in the best position to win more races and more championships. I think as an athlete, I’m pretty selfish in that respect. I want more, more, more.”
At Unadilla, Reed paid tribute to Suzuki legend Mark Barnett with a special helmet design and dominated the field en route to win number four.
“I’m definitely really happy. I definitely feel like I’ve completed a lot of tasks that I set forth. I feel like I’ve got more in me but if I had to step away today I’d feel like I stepped away at my best.”
Reed’s fourth win came during the 40th Anniversary of Unadilla on Retro Day and it became clear there was no stopping the two-time Supercross champ from achieving his goal.
“In the past I’ve enjoyed (riding outdoors) but not at this level. It just seems like this year I was in a better place. I was happy, I was having fun on the bike and the nastier and rougher and more hardcore it got the more fun it was for me. I’m really happy to be in that place and be in that mindset. The goal was to win a championship and the goal was also to put myself in a position to better myself as a rider and I think I’ve achieved that. Hopefully it will make a difference next year in Supercross as well.”
Last Saturday at Budds Creek, Reed was forced to work for win number five in the rain, ending the day standing atop the podium with another victory and the #1 plate in hand.
“The atmospheres are definitely different from outdoors to (Supercross). (In Supercross), everyone is just right there and you’re so surrounded by it. Outdoors has kind of that hardcore feeling. You’re going super fast, you’re dealing with a rough, nasty track and the majority of the people that are there watching you all respect what you’re doing on the track because 99 percent of them are riders themselves. It’s that kind of difference, the sheer hardcore and grassroots of the sport that make (this title) so cool.”
Reed will be the first to say this championship wasn’t easy, having to overcome several obstacles. But he proved sacrifice, hard work, and determination can bring tremendous success.
Congratulations Chad, from everyone at the Thor and Parts Unlimited family.
About Parts Unlimited
Parts Unlimited is the world's largest distributor of aftermarket accessories in the powersports industry and is owned by LeMans Corporation headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. Parts Unlimited sells to over 12,000 dealerships world wide and continues to expand its market penetration with its sister companies, Parts Canada, Parts Europe and Drag Specialties.
Parts Unlimited continues to promote racing through its campaign WE SUPPORT THE SPORT®, helping to drive consumers to dealerships, while entertaining its dealers through hospitalities at the events it sponsors.
About Thor Motocross
Thor is one of the originators of motocross apparel. When Torsten Hallman made his first U.S trip to race and promote motocross in 1966, he inadvertently started to develop Thor riding gear. Thor is a hardcore, grass roots company that understands what it takes to reach the top and more importantly, how to stay there. It is one of a few companies with over 40 years experience in the motocross marketplace.