Well, that was different. MotoCar Fite Klub took place in South Carolina last Thursday, pitting some legends from the world of two-wheels into four-wheeled dirt car racers. The boys mostly had fun but also got competitive. Early in the race, Justin Brayton and Ryan Dungey came together and Dungey slammed the wall, ending his night—although he was uninjured, his car was damaged. Jeremy McGrath held the lead over Chad Reed for most the way, then Reed took on some pressure from Brian Deegan and Justin Brayton. Deegan’s car ran into problems and then Brayton spun in the last turn trying to steal second from Reed. This allowed Ricky Carmichael to cruise across the line in third.
McGrath was never headed, becoming the first-ever MotoCar Fite Klub Champion. The event appeared to be a success as everyone seems to want to come back and do it again sometime.
We talked to these guys after the event and also grabbed their post-race thoughts from the podium interviews. And if you missed the live broadcast, you can still pay to watch the archive of the event.
Racer X: How are you feeling?
Jeremy McGrath: Oh man that was so exciting! I knew it was going to be tight, there was some carnage out there, and having track position was really the key. I got off to some really good starts, but I kinda stumbled out of the start box in that last one. I was like ,“Oh man.” Chad got into the back of me and gave me a bit of a jump start there. But yeah, what a great night. The event itself was great and we appreciate the car owners for helping us out with the cars. It’s nice to have our old buddies out here together again. Who would have thought it? I didn’t know what would happen, I thought I would have a shot at doing good but you never know.
So what was it like once you got out there?
Look, it was a continuation of yesterday’s practice. I was still pretty squirrely when I went out today.
Yeah, this red clay is pretty slick. I didn’t try to overdrive it early on yesterday. I tried to inch up on my speed, and then today I felt like I knew what I was doing. And then qualifying went pretty well, and that was everything, I had track position. I got behind [Brian] Deegan on that match race we were doing and I got a little over excited and got on the gas too early and almost spun out. But overall it was a great event for a great cause. Road 2 Recovery does a lot for the riders and the sport, and then to have all these guys together, they’re all great friends and it’s been a while since we’ve been together. It was pretty cool.
It says something that you guys were all on board with this. You all kept joking last night that you’re somehow all gathered in Greer, South Carolina, to race cars! That’s so strange.
Yeah, I think it’s one of those things, we’ve all raced dirt bikes our whole lives. Doing something different is kind of the attraction. We all want to do something different so we can learn. You know how fun it is when you’re learning something new, and you don’t have it mastered. We all have our moments, we were all squirrely at times, sorry for Dungey I know he hit the wall there. Overall, I had a good time.
By the way, I know you’re friends with these guys, but it’s not like you all hang out with each other all the time. It’s probably cool to just have a couple of days to hang out with each other.
Yeah, one of my favorite parts of the event was yesterday. We had practice and we were all BSing with each other, then we had a Q&A event for some fans to raise money for Road 2 Recovery. It’s a really relaxed atmosphere. It’s not collared-shirt type stuff here. Everyone was here having a good time. I don’t get to do stuff like this that much anymore, especially with these guys.
Racer X: How was it?
Chad Reed: I mean you always want to win, but I came in here saying as long as the 22 is ahead of the 4 it’s a win! [Laughs] No, it was awesome. I had so much fun. Every lap you’re learning you’re learning, you’re learning. You get a little faster, then you get a little greedy and do too much, you give it all back. At the end of the day, the King is still the King I guess! Just stoked to be here, like I said earlier, it was great just to hear and anthem and go racing again. Yeah, also get bragging rights, Pastrana didn’t have the balls to come out and race this. I know he’s blowing me up on a group chat saying he’d beat me, but bro you didn’t show up!
Racer X: How did it go today?
Ricky Carmichael: Well, I felt better yesterday to be honest. I’d rather be lucky than good today, that was a very lucky third. It was a lot of fun and hopefully everyone had fun watching it. We appreciate it, it was fun and these guys are really good at what they do in all aspects, but especially when you give them something with an engine. I was glad to get out there and be on the same track as these guys. I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully if they do it again they’ll ask me to come back.
Justin Brayton: Dude that was so fun! I loved it. I caught on pretty quick, it was fun. I thought I had Chad a couple times with three to go, four to go, then I just dive bombed on the last lap, last-ditch effort, spun her around.
Racer X: I feel like you were actually bummed to let a podium go. There’s no bonus for a podium, there’s no actual podium!
Brayton: Dude I’m so mad! Because in moto you’re taught “top three” right? In car racing it’s like only the winner [matters]. Top three doesn’t do anything. But, overall, an amazing experience. It was pretty cool for my first time out.
What happened with you and Dunge? [Note: Brayton and Dungey came together and Dungey crashed into the wall, ending his race.]
We were just talking about it. I was on the high line and he was on the low, and we just kind of met at the end. I don’t feel like we hit end-to-end, it seemed like it was more door-to-door, but it spun him around. It all happened so fast. We’re in fourth or fifth or something like that, so we’re getting roosted and you can’t see a lot. That was such a bummer, felt bad to see him go out that quick.
But overall it was good?
Oh yeah. This isn’t my last time in four wheels.
Racer X: What happened [in the crash with Brayton] Dunge?
Ryan Dungey: Oh man, I want to put my head in a box.
Are you okay?
Yeah, I’m okay. I really don’t know what happened. I saw JB on the right of me, I was on the inside and had a good run. I made sure to—hey don’t go out to the wall more—I knew I didn’t have him cleared. Yeah, I thought we were running straight and all of a sudden we hit. I was like “Wow, that was a violent hit” but I still thought we would just go straight down the straight away. Then all of a sudden the car took a right turn into the wall and did a spin. Did some damage. Just unfortunate, being healthy is good, but I wanted to go to distance. Twenty laps, racing with the guys, getting the experience, that was the fun. It ended early. It’s tough to accept….[Laughs].
Come on Dunge! You’re retired! So when you hit the wall was it a legit impact?
It was an impact but not too violent. Between the forgiveness of the dirt and the wall it made it look worse that it was. It threw me forward pretty good, but then there was a little fire and I quickly saw it. I took the steering wheel off and got out. It’s tough…a dirt bike you can pick up and keep going! We were a lap and a half in, right? And we made some adjustments before that main event and it felt good. We had a good setup…
McGrath said it was fun to do something different and you’re learning every time.
Right. I think that was the fun factor of the whole thing. Every time I would get in the car I would learn something and understand something. Even when they made changes you’re trying to feel it. Yeah, I want to do it again. I want to keep getting in these things and driving and learning. But the big thing is racing with other drivers on the track.
Yeah the main was the first time a track was full for you guys?
Right, and even in my mind I was like, “Let’s just get down the road and get some laps in.” We were being patient on the inside, when I saw Brayton I was like, “Just take your time.” Yeah, and then it just [happened].
So if you do another one of these things are you out for revenge on Brayton.
Racer X: Well it sounded like, since these were borrowed cars, you guys weren’t supposed to do much hitting, but it was starting to come to that in the main event.
Brian Deegan: Yeah, I think in the main everyone was ready to rub just a little bit. The lanes come together here and you kinda half to rub if you want to pass. But my car owner guy said, “I don’t care, we can fix it.” So he kinda gave me the green light
Brayton: They said sheet metal was okay. We could bang up the sheet metal all we want.
Deegan: It was fun though, I think it would be cool to get 12-14 of us out there. It was cool, I think everyone was getting the hang of it as the night went on.
You and McGrath have raced off-road trucks. Did that experience help?
Yeah, it did. Flicking the car in and being comfortable with the slide, that’s like truck racing. So I would say McGrath and I had an advantage in the dirt, but you’re dealt the hand you get with the cars. In car racing the car is a big part of it, in moto it’s more the guy. But it’s fine, overall we were all in the same boat. It’s not like any of us were in a Hendrick NASCAR you know!
So it looked like that battle that was developing was you versus Chad [Reed]. You were trying to get to second.
Yeah, I was trying to work in a high line so I could come down and come under him. I think we were going to have to rub for me to finish it, which is kind of where I was headed with it! It would have been good because Chad fires back. It’s good, I like that. But then I lost power steering there and that’s why the car snapped. Then I blew a hole in the motor and that was it. It was fun though!