Every weekend, there are battles within the battles at Monster Energy AMA Supercross. While a lot of attention focuses on the race for the win, several riders are fighting for valuable points or even the opportunity to race in the main events. Two of such riders that are always trying to make that next step from main event qualifier to main event mainstay are Texas residents Grant Harlan and John Short. While Harlan rides a Yamaha under the Rock River tent and John Short rides a Kawasaki for Madd Parts Kawasaki, the two 450SX class riders actually ride and train together every week in Texas.
Since this weekend’s Arlington Supercross is a bit of a home race for both gentlemen, we caught up with them on press day to talk about their seasons as well as the dynamic of trying to outduel each other on the weekend while working to improve each other during the week.
Racer X: Alright, Grant Harlan and John Short here in Texas. A bit of a home race for you guys. Let’s start with you Grant. How are you feeling about your season so far and how everything’s clicking off?
Grant Harlan: I actually got off to a really good start. Me and John both made the first main at A1 and then I kind of struggled a little bit after that. It almost went too good for the first race. We got back in [the main event] in Tampa after a couple rough rounds. I struggled a little bit last week but I’m looking to get it back on track.
How about you John?
John Short: Yeah, you come into the season, and you don’t really know what to expect. My offseason was a little rough anyway, so I was not happy with 20th to 22nd in the mains, but all of the races I’ve tried to race, I’ve been in the mains. Whether it was luck or putting it up there. It’s been a lot of fun but definitely not satisfied at all.
Speaking of luck, I have to ask you about Houston because you made it into the main event going from seventh to fourth in the last corner. When you come through and see three guys down in front of you, what are you thinking?
John Short: I think all that mental practice of believing you have good luck comes into play every now and then. I’ve never really been on the receiving end of some good luck like that. So, it’s unfortunate for those guys but I’ll take it any way I can get it. This is a stacked field and there aren’t any slouches out there.
So, you guys train together. What is the dynamic like between you two where you ride together, train together, and then you have to try to beat each other on the weekend? Maybe you even have to do it in an LCQ. Starting with you Grant, what’s that like?
Grant Harlan: I moved to Texas here in 2010 and John was always a little older than me, so we never raced much until I turned pro. So, I always kind of looked up to him and I’ve gotten closer in speed to him and once I went pro in 2019. We show up to races and we want to beat each other, but it’s cool we get to ride with each other and kind of bounce ideas off of each other. Because we do have to compete on the weekends but we’re also trying to get better and compete with some of these factory guys. We do have to work together in that regard, and it’s nice to have a guy like him because he’s got a lot of experience too.
So same for you John. You’re obviously buddies with him. Is it a weird dynamic on the weekend to still try to beat him and kind of take his head off I guess?
John Short: Oh, not at all. I think if I could grab Eli [Tomac] and bring him to the practice track, I would love to learn from him every week. So, like he said, Grant and I have kind of grown up together. I’ve always been a little bit older, but riding with someone like Grant, you take that weekend intensity right back to the week. At the end of the day, we’re 20th, 22nd, him and I just both want to be better. So, if one of us can elevate each other’s game, that’s what I feel our common goal is. Even though we do want to be the top dog you know.