Brett Cue's sole focus since 2012 has been earning an entry into X Games Best Whip. He even created a six-part web-series "Brett Cue Road 2 X Games" in 2012 despite not having an invite. The videos gained him notoriety in the motocross community and racked up 160,940 views on YouTube. But it didn’t actually get him into the event.
“We had no idea what we were doing,” admits Cue.
Through his MotoSport web-series “Brett Cue ALL IN,” and his whips of course, Cue has become one of the most recognizable names in the industry and this year he finally received an invitation for Best Whip at X Games Austin 2016. Cue is currently working on his new venture—RIDE365.com—and recently made a trip to Pastranaland, which he documented in a new video.
We recently caught up with Cue to talk X Games, his new business, Pastrana’s house and much more.
Racer X: You made the biggest mistake. You just took a left, didn’t you?
Brett Cue: I did. I took a left and it was unfortunate, but that’s all right. Travis [Pastrana] has got marks painted up where you need to go. The front flip ramp was on the left side, and I came at it and I thought I was going pretty far to the right. I guess whenever you do a front flip you have to lean super far forward over the bars. I had put a set of stock suspension on that thing and I think I bottomed as I went up. As I was leaning forward I just veered a little bit to the left as I went off. As soon as I did it I knew I was in trouble. I hit that front flip kicker and I didn’t even commit to the front flip. I didn’t even know you could hit that front flip and not endo at least. So, I hit the ramp and I did an air wheelie as big as I could, then I just threw the bike. I knew I was done with it and I was going off the side of the bag if not. I was up so high. I watched Travis do it and it looked like he was going high, but whenever you’re in the air it’s a whole different feeling. I made it, luckily, and lived to tell about it.
Long story short: We visited @travispastrana's a couple weeks ago, Travis, @motoduff, @gavingodfrey455 @prgodfrey255 @rob790, and @colt45moore all pulled some radical moves, @daytondaft made a radical video, and it will be out Monday on RIDE365.com! @ride365com @ride365mx @crosslandracing @shaka_gnar @gvdcowboy @nitrorednekhubert @el_neeeenyo @comboversteve
If you read your piece, that’s kind of how the whole thing started. Travis saying, “Hey, do you want to come do a front flip?”
I honestly went there just to hit the jump. I was going to throw some whips off that regular jump and into the airbag, but after going off it the first time and seeing how narrow the thing really is, I probably would have killed myself if I tried to carve it like I do with a whip. So the more I thought about it the more I was like, it’s probably not the best idea, I’ll just stick to front flips. Which sounds way more crazier than a whip, but it seemed good in my head. That’s just how it went.
I think people get confused and think it’s this giant airbag, like it doesn’t hurt at all. But that stuff doesn’t feel good, does it?
No, not at all. Somebody was asking what that stuff was taped to Travis’s helmet. I made fun of him actually all week because it looked like he had a Shrek helmet. He had big pieces of foam taped or screwed to the helmet. He had them on there so it would cushion the blow whenever he would hit the airbag so it wouldn’t knock him out. He said whenever he was doing the triple and practicing those things he was getting knocked out pretty regularly, so he didn’t want to do that anymore. You’d think the airbag’s soft but it’s not.
Explain to the casual viewer that would probably never get to see Pastrana’s house what it is like? It’s almost like a Candy Land for a grown up that likes dirt bikes.
Yeah, for sure. Since he married Lyn-Z (professional skateboarder) he’s got a big skate park right in the back yard, then he’s got his foam pit and his razor track and his airbags. He’s got a big run in for bicycles to hit the airbag on the other side. Towards the back he’s got a moto track. Luckily his neighbors all ride so they’re cool with having stuff go on their property. So he’s got tracks and trails and ramps, and just anything you can imagine, honestly. It’s a pretty sweet place. It was almost like it wasn’t real. Whenever we got there we didn’t really leave except to eat dinner, and it just seemed like you were away from reality but you were really so close to everything. He only lives like 30 minutes from Washington, DC and Annapolis.
You would think we’re talking about you going to X Games for Best Trick, but it’s actually Best Whip, which is what you’re known for. This has been a five-year journey for you. Briefly take me through what led up to you getting here.
Whenever the first X Games Best Whip happened in 2008 I think it was, it was guys like Josh Grant and James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael, and a couple of freestyle guys like Twitch and [Todd] Potter. When I watched it I’d never really hit a ramp at that time and I was honestly scared to death to do it, but I was like, man, that would be so cool. I love whipping my dirt bike. That’s something that’s so far beyond something that I could ever achieve but it would be such a cool thing to make it happen. As the years went on I started kind of hitting ramps here and there. In 2012 I did one whip, I remember, and I saw a picture of it and I was like, man, that’s the best one I’ve ever done. Posted it on Facebook or something and somebody was like, you need to try Best Whip. I had just met Dayton Daft and he started making videos. So we tried to make a video campaign to get in, because neither one of us knew how else to do it other than that! That didn’t work but four years later it got my name out there enough to get in. So it was a long road and a lot of bummed out times because it didn’t work, but it was worth it.
You actually were on the alternate list last year and made quite a big trip with a messed up knee.
I was racing last year up in Washington at a local race and I crashed and tore my ACL, my PCL, and my MCL and my meniscus. Then I came back home to Oklahoma for a week. I woke up one morning and I got an email that said I was invited to be an alternate. I was thinking, Man, what am I going to do now? What if somebody gets hurt even in practice or something and I get a chance to jump and then I’m not there? I would be so bummed out. So, I went to my surgeon and I had him fix my knee. I told him what I was going to do and he told me I was an idiot. But he said, “Well, if you think you can do it, go for it.” So six weeks later I went and hit a ramp a few times. It wasn’t as bad as I thought because I seat bounce most of the time and you can land on one leg and it’s not really too big of a deal. But I didn’t get to ride the competition. It was a bummer deal for sure.
The cool part is you actually learned your whips from your dad who is, I think, 62 and still rides and even hits some ramps himself, right?
Yes, for sure. My dad is a mess, man. He scares the life out of me every time he rides a dirt bike. He’s really good at it but it used to be where I scared him more and now it’s the other way around. He’s paying me back. He still comes over and rides with me. I just bought a ramp for the first time. I’ve never owned my own ramp. He comes over and rides that thing with me all the time. He still throws whips just like he always did. He didn’t start riding until he was about 35. He’s 63 now and he still throws them down. It’s pretty sweet.
You were one of the recent riders in motocross to create a name through video and through using social media. Where did you get the idea to do this? Did you ever think it would become as popular as it has?
Honestly, no. I just did it because I had fun with it and Dayton was the same way. He just got started making videos. He had made one video at the time when we started. He’s gotten so good at it, it’s insane. He’s probably one of the best out there, I would say. We had no idea what we were doing. A lot of people now, I’ll meet somebody at a race and they’ll be like, I didn’t even think you were real. I never thought I would get to meet you in real life. They only see me on videos and on Instagram and stuff. But I try to do my best to show people that I’m just a normal dude. Like right now I’m at a guy’s house doing some tile work on the floor. I just happened to get lucky and have my dad teach me how to whip it decent.
Is it weird for you to have that attention, people coming up and asking for autographs? Are you comfortable with that?
Yeah, I’m comfortable with it but it’s still really weird. I’m really not that cool; I’m just a big old dork. I think that’s awesome because I know how it is to be that way. I was that way growing up with Guy Cooper, Kenny Bartram, or Travis even.
Thanks to social media and video and all these things you’re part of this bigger subculture with guys like yourself, Tyler Bereman, Adam Enticknap, guys that may not be getting first place in supercross but they have a huge following and are very recognizable. Is that something you’re aware of and focused on as far as promoting yourself? Or are you just doing fun stuff and it happens to be popular?
I think a little bit of both. Honestly there are a lot of guys out there that are way, way better than me, even at whipping. There are just a lot of guys that are really good at what they do and they just don’t get the attention. I don’t really know why it is. I don’t know if it’s the way they market themselves or their personalities or what. Adam Enticknap, he makes mains but he’s really become someone because of his personality. I don’t even know why it works that way.
This gives us a good chance to segue into other types of marketing and business, and now your new business which you’re a part of—RIDE365. Tell us how that started and what your role is at the company.
Jarrod Rogers, Dayton [Daft], and myself all decided that we wanted to do something a little bit different because I really want to be around home in Oklahoma where I grew up. This was a tool for me to do that and to be able to still make a living doing it. Dayton, Jared and myself started RIDE365.com. They’re still up in Oregon where they’re from. They’re doing the behind the scenes, computer side of things with the website and technical stuff. The warehouse is down here in Arkansas so I’m able to go back and forth as needed. We have a guy there taking care of it for most of the days, but I’m going back and forth and trying to help him. Eventually down the road I’m going to be able to do the same stuff as we did when I worked at MotoSport, with the video content and the marketing side of things and just spreading the word, basically. I’m really pumped on the whole thing. I think it’s going to be a good deal for us all. It’s slow starting out, and that’s to be expected. We’re going to build it up and hopefully it’ll be something that we can all fall back on whenever the times come when I can’t flip a dirt bike anymore. But if I’m anything like my dad I’ll be able to flip my dirt bike for about 30 more years!
What kind of undertaking is that even just to get off the ground? This isn’t starting a website; this is starting a distribution company.
I don’t think I even understood it, even working for MotoSport. Having a website set up was one thing, but having the whole warehouse and the inventory and all that stuff, and the shipping and receiving and the technical side of the things, even down to the returns and the buying stuff, I don’t think I really even realized how much went into it until I saw it first-hand. I feel like the group of guys we’ve got going is awesome and they’re doing a really good job. I think that we’re going to be just fine. But it is a huge deal, a huge undertaking for sure.
How much is the company involved in the day to day of the race team? Is it every day?
We are the title sponsor for the team. Chris Crossland, who owns the team, is kind of helping us out on this whole thing, so it just made sense to have that as the title sponsor of the race team. They think that I have all this money. I’m broke as a joke right now. But it’s super cool to see that and just something that I’m very proud of personally. To see it on such a big stage and see Kyle [Peters] and Chase [Marquier] do so well in supercross, it’s pretty special..
You guys even have your own gear line as well. Take me through the process behind starting that and having it coincide with the launch of the website as well.
Our gear line is actually called 365 MX. It’s not RIDE365 gear. It will be sold on our website but it’s just called 365 MX. It’ll be hopefully out in July or August. Dayton and I have been working really hard on that. Dayton especially; he’s been staying up until the wee hours of the morning to talk to people. It’s insane the amount of work he’s put in. I’m always really picky about what I wear so whenever we started thinking about doing this that was kind of my thing. I’ve always said if you can’t be fast you better look fast. So I think that’s a pretty cool thing and hopefully it goes over good.
What’s your summer plans? You seem to be all over the place, but what do you have coming up?
Right now I’m working, honestly up until X Games. I’ve got to make some gas money for Austin so I’ve been pouring some concrete and building some walls and doing all kinds of stuff. After X Games the next day I’m going to be at a FCA motocross camp at Oak Hill. I’ve been teaching those for probably eight or nine years now. I’ll come back to Oklahoma and there’s another FCA camp that’s a week long that I’ll be teaching. Then after that I’m not really sure what’s going on for the rest of that month. I usually have no idea what I’m doing! I might be interested in going back to Travis’s to learn some more tricks because there’s been some offers to do some different shows and stuff.
Are we going to see Brett Cue in Best Trick next year? Is that what you’re telling me?
[Laughs] Man, you never know. Travis, he tried to talk me into doing the Nitro World Games while I was there. He said I could just do like a front flip 1080 or something over this big ramp. It’s 50 grand to win. I’m like, “I don’t think that’s a very good idea. I’m kind of a sissy when it comes to doing tricks.” I can’t even do a superman seat grab and you want me to do a front flip 1080? You’ve got to be kidding me. But you just never know.
Best Whip this year is actually quite stacked. Jarryd McNeil who seems to have won everything in Best Whip recently. Tom Parsons another X Games gold medalist. Hanny, Vicki Golden. What are your thoughts on the field and what are you expecting to do yourself?
You’re not kidding—it is stacked! I can’t even say enough good things about those guys and the girl that I’m competing against. Every time I hit the ramp behind McNeil or behind Twitch or Hanny I just start laughing in my helmet like, what am I doing out here? People don’t realize what a dork I am. I get so excited just riding with those guys, people that I’ve looked at and looked up to for so long. It’s just a really cool thing to me and the fact that I’m going to have my family there and it’s so close to home, it’s pretty special.