Larry Brooks has been in the sport for a long time and has done quite a lot. He’s been managing the Bar-X/Chaparral/Ecstar Suzuki effort the last few years and with a young squad of riders, is trying to get them into the top ten or higher. About an hour after he saw one of his riders, Carson Mumford, make the top ten overall, I sat down with LB in his team’s lounge to talk about the day and some other stuff.
Racer X: To start, give me some personal Budds Creek memories for you, because you’ve done it all. You’ve raced everywhere. The first national was ’89, so you would have done some nationals here.
Larry Brooks: I don't think my memories of racing are very good here, but we came here and raced one of the nationals when we were supercross-only with Chad Reed. We came here and he rode good. A bit out of shape and stuff, but he rode good. It was pretty fun coming here and doing an outdoor, because we didn’t really do outdoors at that point. Then we did Motocross des Nations with Chad, and he rode really good. So, there’s been some good races.
Wasn’t there something weird on your bike for this race? The swing arm or something?
Yeah, we modified the swing arm on the Yamaha. Keith (McCarty) was not happy at all. We were trying to change the characteristic of the swing arm and we modified it. It was too obvious, and he really wasn’t happy.
The year you came back after you burnt your arm, you were a three-digit guy. I think you did pretty good here. I need to look. You always talk shit on your own results, but I think you were a 5-10th place guy that day, which is good. #230 on a Kawi. (Matthes note: He did not race Budds the year he was #230 so yeah, maybe I was thinking about ’94 when he was on a Yamaha and got 8th overall?)
Fifth, #230. I finished like fifth in the series or fourth, something. Fifth, sixth, fourth, whatever it was. Anyway, it was good for the time. When I raced, it was fun but it’s not like these guys are now. They’re amazing.
Let’s talk about your day. I thought [Carson] Mumford got stuck in the gate moto one, and then charged to tenth or something or sixteenth. Second moto he was ninth. I thought it was a good ride by Mumfy for your team. [Dilan] Schwartz was up there and went down. Up until then, he was riding good. Take us through your guys and your team today.
They all rode pretty good, it’s just if you got a start you were up there. Dilan got a start first moto and ran ninth forever and then washed the front end and the bike got on top of him and burned him pretty good. Second moto, he got a decent start and rode around 14th, something like that. So, he did fairly good. Carson got stuck in the gate first moto and came through the pack.
He said his clutch was going.
Going because he let the clutch out. Then second moto, he rode good. He was up in the top ten and finished there. Tenth overall, which is decent. Derek Drake was up there for a bit first moto, and second moto he got cleaned out on the first lap. Preston Kilroy rode good, too. He was up there in 12th, 13th, something like that. Second moto he had an issue with the bike and kind of fell back to 18th, or something.
I feel like Kilroy is at times, you never notice him. You don’t even look at him, and then you look and he’s 14th, 15th, strong all moto. Then Drake will set a great qualifying time and then struggle to back it up in the motos. They’re like the yin-yang opposite.
Exactly. Kilroy is just kind of invisible. He just does his job. Super smooth and efficient on the bike. He rides really good. You just lose sight of him because he’s so smooth. He’s not exciting at all.
I feel like he’s never got a good start and run up front. He just probably comes from 25th to 15th.
Yup. He’s the Energizer bunny. Just keeps going and going, just because he’s so smooth on the bike. Drake, he has flashes of brilliance. He’s working past that heart issue that he had, because once they fixed the heart, then we realized he was in terrible shape because he had never been able to work out. He’s never got his body into that zone. So, now he’s working. It’s going to be a long road for him, but he’s doing good. He’s better.
Are you happy with the performance? Mumfy has been frustrated, I don't think with the team or the bike, but he’s been frustrated with his crashing and stuff like that. So, it’s not the year he wanted. Are you frustrated with him or is everything okay? Do you see a silver lining to this?
I don’t get mad at him at all. He’s trying as hard as he can. Sometimes he tips over. He’s still a rookie. He’s going to make those rookie mistakes, but every time I watch him ride, he does a little bit better. He will make a rookie mistake, but he’ll come back and redeem himself. I think he’s doing really good. If you look at his results last year and compare them to this year, he’s a lot better this year. I think he’s just on that steppingstone and trying to get better every weekend. Every year he’ll be better. It takes a little bit.
You told me a while ago you’re trying to quit, or you cut way back on the Mountain Dew, but there’s a case of Mountain Dew right there. I see it. You said you were cutting back.
My wife yelled at me the other day so bad. Somebody said, "We’re buying Larry some Mountain Dew." Oh, my god, she lit me up. I’ve only drank three or four today, so I am doing better.
That’s better than what it was, so we’re getting somewhere.
Now it’s like maybe a six-pack. I’ve got a drinking problem.
Of course, [Jason] Weigandt and I were reminiscing about the LA Coliseum coming back for this SMX thing. The last time we were there, Weigandt says it was the X Games but that doesn’t matter – nobody cares. The last time we were there it was Ferry/Matthes beating Jeremy McGrath. We were champions. That’s right. Tim Ferry won the race, Summercross. It was amazing. He rode really good. Jeremy had some issues, but Timmy won. It was good for him. It was a fun night. Didn’t we jump in the pool?
You made me jump in the pool because I promised I would if Ferry won, and then you made me climb the Olympic thing.
It was scarier climbing the fence. That was a good time. When you win, everything’s good.
So, we’re going back there, so I wonder if they’ll do anything to honor Timmy and me. I’ll ask Feld. Also, in the same text of reminiscing about whether there would be a parade lap for me, we were like, do you think Brooks will go to the top of the peristyle and throw himself down? This is what we do in our spare time. That was a gnarly crash. People still talk about it.
That was gnarly. I clipped that hay bale at the top and it ripped me off. I took my hand off because I saw it coming and my other arm, the throttle hand, was on the bars and it just yanked me off the bike. I thought I was going in the grandstands backwards. Luckily, I stayed on the dirt, but it was really bad. Split me open. Concussion. It split my eye. All I could think about was getting to the finish, because it was like fifty yards away. Last lap coming to the checkered and it broke my throttle housing off. I pushed it. It was really cool for TV, but it wasn’t a good thing for me.
People still talk to you about it?
Yeah, I hear it all the time. That video goes away and then it comes back. It resurfaces. ‘Oh, my god, you hit the pillar at LA Coliseum!’ I’m like, ‘Yes, I know.’
Watch Larry Brooks' crash at the LA Coliseum at the 2:20 mark: