When you have a race as muddy as Monster Energy AMA Supercross was in San Francisco, results are bound to be all over the map, with privateers beating factory guys. Partzilla PRMX Racing Team’s Hunter Yoder may have logged his career best finish of eighth in the mud, but the weekend before that he set his previous best result of 13th. It’s safe to say Yoder is on a roll so far this season and is eager to match his results in dry conditions. Our Kellen Brauer caught up with the Yoder to see how his night went in San Fran.
Racer X: All right, Hunter Yoder eighth on the night in San Francisco. How's the top 10 feel after this, huh?
Hunter Yoder: It feels better because I qualified P39 in practice, which for all you people at home that is two spots away from not racing at all. So, P39 coming into the race, P9 in the heat race. So, I'm still by the skin of my teeth, dude, barely putting it in. And then somehow P8 in the main event. My starts were good. I just couldn't turn the thing because it was way too muddy. I just kind of rode around honestly, like it sounds bad, but I literally was just keeping the bike alive. There's a bunch of guys that were way faster than me that were just clutch banging and riding like [Justin] Barcia and I was literally second gear putting around and passing all the guys that were passing me because their bikes were blown up. So, P8 feels good. You know, my first ever top 10 on a track that was insanely gnarly. I mean, some of those ruts were about up to my hips. I'm a short guy. So, I was just trying to stay away from the trenches and keep my bike on two wheels and keep it rolling at all costs. And I succeeded and a good first top 10, you know, that'll be in the memory box for a long time. So, I'm pumped on it.
Were you aware that you were battling for like seventh or eighth or did you know where you were?
I don't know how deep into the race it was, it was only a couple laps, but I looked over at my mechanic and he was like this [holds up hand for “five"] and I was, I was like “P5?” you know, like pretty impressive and I looked at him and I saw I had P5 up like on his hands and I just looked and I put my hand up and I was like, “Who?” And then I just kept rolling. My front brake went out, unfortunately, I think I got too much mud in it. So, it went out like lap three or four which slowed me down a bit, but overall I'm happy on the night, like I said, just to keep the bike alive and finish the race is an accomplishment in itself and then to beat some pretty good guys, you know, it was it was an awesome night.
Going into this? Did you feel like? All right, I'm a good mud rider. I can do this, or did you surprise yourself with the end result?
I've always felt like I've been a good mud rider, you know, like I've had some good performances at Loretta's [Lynn's Ranch] in the mud and I ride a lot. I have a little turn track in my backyard. So, I've done a lot of mud riding, but that was a whole different animal. I mean, I have a video of me in practice almost yard sailing. Like I was riding around like I was a vet rider, or C class guy like all over the place. So, after that, I was really rethinking my whole life. I went into it with feeling good and then I came out of the practice like, “Man, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do tonight,” but after making the night show, it sounds stupid because I should always be in the night show, and I was just on the edge of not being in there. So as soon as I was sitting on the line for the heat race and I was like, “All right, I have the last gate pick, I'm all the way outside and I need to go to the first corner first and go fast because I'm not going to the LCQ,” and I definitely don't want to go back to the hotel so that was all I had on my mind was just like, you've got the opportunity to go race. Now, you need to make the most of it and do everything in your power to do your job to the best of your ability.
Is that one of those things where you're a great starter normally, but this is obviously more of an emphasis on the start because you have to get out more pressure. You put more pressure on yourself to get a start here.
I mean, at the end of the day, I don't get paid to go race heat races. I get paid to be a main event guy. And even more than that, what's more important to me is not being a main event guy because I don't want to just be in the top 20. You know, I wanna keep improving and open people's eyes. Which that's my goal, you know, I want to be a top racer like that's all I've wanted my whole life and I'm trying my hardest to make it happen. So, like sitting in that position, especially when you're that far outside, your probability of bad things happening is exponential like its way more than it should be. So, I put a lot of pressure on myself already as it is throughout the day, and I shouldn't and I'm trying to work on it. But like I said, you know, I'm trying to be a top tier racer and that position I was in was not comfortable for me. And so, yeah, there was a lot of pressure to be the first guy to let the clutch out on that start and try to come around the first corner as far up as I can. So, there was a lot going on.
I know that this is such a weird round to take anything from, but through two rounds of the series, now do you feel like you are where you want to be in terms of fitness and the bike and everything like that moving forward?
Yeah, the bike's great. Last year I came in with little preparation. Like none. I started riding at South of the Border in November. My first day was November 3 and I could only do four laps at a time. This year November 3, I was in Abu Dhabi [for the FIM World Supercross Championship (WSX)]. I was racing, you know, and I just feel that this year I've brought it to another level. Which, like I said, that's obviously what I'm striving for. So, after these two races I feel I'm in a good spot. I know what I need to work on as far as myself, like calming myself down a little bit, not stressing. But overall, I'm happy with the 13th I got last weekend, that was my career best. And I rode maybe half of my potential, so I never felt good last weekend and then obviously, another career best this weekend, which will be hard to top. But I'm looking forward to the challenge. I took from this race just that I have to be ready to go at all times. Can't wait around, you know, all the laps count. And I was so close to not racing tonight and then to go to a P8, it just shows how important it is to get going right away. And that's also something I need to work on, and I know that. So, that will be the focus for the next few weeks is just being ready to go when the time comes and making the most of what I've got in front of me.