You may remember the interview we did with Illinoisan Cody Vanbuskirk after round 12 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, when he qualified for his first career 450SX main event. In that interview, Cody mentioned that he was all in for supercross and wanted to find a way to make it out West to compete in the final two rounds in the 450SX Class. Vanbuskirk found a way—load up his van by himself and make the 20-plus-hour drive from his home in Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Intrigued by his story and the fact that he qualified yet again for the 450SX main event, we decided to check back in and see how things are going and to find out if Race Day Live’s Jim Holley made good on the $200 he promised to pay Cody if he put the #570 KTM in the main event in Salt Lake City.
Before you read the transcript below, here is an excerpt from the text conversation we had with Cody prior to beginning the interview. Life as a privateer dirt bike racer is definitely interesting, and often riders are required to sacrifice the comforts of home all in the name of doing what they love. Case in point:
“You good to chat later?”
”Whenever works for you, bro.”
“Yeah man, for sure. Does about an hour work for you? I’m leaving the track now [and] heading to a truck stop 30 minutes away to rip a shower, lol.”
(Note: This interview was conducted via iMessage and has been lightly edited for clarity.)
Racer X: Let's just jump right in—tell everyone why we had to delay this interview an hour.
Cody Vanbuskirk: Well, I got done riding and wanted to take a shower, so I found the nearest truck stop with showers and drove there to get freshened up. Now currently sitting at the laundromat getting my gear and clothes dialed in for this weekend. [Laughs]
Paint a picture for those reading: You drove to Salt Lake from Illinois alone, and now what? Fill in the blanks.
So, basically, I had no plans to come out West to hit the last two supercross races. I told my dad I wasn’t ready for supercross to be over and I’d do whatever it takes to get out here. He wasn’t going to be able to make it to Salt Lake, but I said "screw it” and loaded up my van and made the 20-plus-hour trip solo. Race day ended up going pretty well. After the races, I ended up linking up with my buddy Bubba Pauli and we both drove out to eastern Utah to ride out at “Moto Ranch,” Bracken Hall’s place. Rode there the last two days and been sleeping in my van in random parking lots. [Laughs] Planning on riding some more tomorrow then making my way to Vegas!
Living every aspect of the “Privateer Life” stereotype.
Yes, definitely! [Laughs] But I “enjoy the ride.” Traveling alone and sleeping in my van isn’t ideal, but it has lead me to some amazing places. Utah is a beautiful state. After riding yesterday, me and Bubba drove as close to we could to the mountains. Parked on the side of the road and climbed to the top. I love doing things like that when on the road. Get a little workout in, and the views out here are unreal.
You're also $200 richer via Jim Holley, right?
Yes, on Saturday during practice, I was on the Supercross Live show and Jim told me if I made the main in Salt Lake, he would give me $200 when I see him in Vegas. Pretty pumped on that. The fans this weekend were absolutely awesome. I’ve never had a fan give me money, but this weekend there were multiple people that gave me donations for fuel and hotels.
That's pretty cool. How did the main go? You're two-for-two on making 450SX main events.
The main went decent; I ended up 19th. It’s tough once you start getting lapped to keep a solid pace going. I always do my best to let the leaders by, but it seemed difficult this weekend to jump back into a solid pace once the top guys got around me. The track was absolutely beat in the main. Pumped to be two-for-two in the 450 class, and I’m feeling really good going into Vegas because I’m actually getting to ride a supercross track this week.
So "we're" keeping this 450 train rolling for Vegas, or back on the 250?
According to my Instagram poll I did today, they want to see me on the 450. I’ve been riding the 450 last couple days and feeling comfortable. So yes, I’ll be on the 450 in Vegas.
Have to give the fans what they want.
Yes, exactly. Also, that 450 check is quite a bit better than the 250 class. [Laughs]
What's the plan for the rest of the week look like? Besides laundromats and truck stop showers.
Planning on doing some more riding tomorrow morning at Hall’s place, then hit a wash station, get the hog lookin’ fresh for Vegas. After that, I’ll start driving west. My dad and girlfriend fly into Vegas Thursday, so gotta pick them up midday. Friday, I’d like to go watch the AX boys do some [bar-to-bar] bangin’!
Any plans for outdoors, or is Vegas it until 2019?
I’d definitely like to do some outdoors. As of now, I’m thinking I’ll start at Thunder Valley and then hit the closer ones to me on the East Coast. I’ll also hit a lot of local fair races throughout the summer.
450 outdoors as well?
Yup, that’s the plan. I would love to do the first two in California, but it would be a lot to stay out west after Vegas, and I also don’t have a bike setup for outdoors yet. So after Vegas I’ll head back to Illinois work for my dad a couple days a week and get into the outdoor grind.
Or—hear me out on this one—you take Holley's $200, put it all on black and turn it into $200,000 and you're all set!
[Laughs] I’m not much of a gambling man, but that sounds like a great idea!
There you go! Alright, man. Your laundry is probably ready to be folded by now. Give a shout-out to those who help you and we'll see you this weekend.
Big thanks to all my sponsors: Everyone at Woodstock KTM, Windy City Motorcycles, Tom Zont Racing, Decal Works, Parts Unlimited, Hoosier Tires, EVS Sports, Thor, 100%, Alpinestars, Ryno Power, Acerbis, Renthal, Motoseat, MX Tech, Works Connection, FMF, Dubya Wheels, Maxima, Rekluse clutches, RK chains, DW Performance, MX Culture, Kutzler Enterprise, Club MX practice facility, my friends, family, and all the fans who support me—I really appreciate it!