Catching Up With…Todd Potter

Even though X Games 14 is now fading into a memory, we haven’t had a chance to catch up with this year’s double medal winner, Metal Mulisha’s Todd Potter. After his impressive Best Whip gold medal over the G.O.A.T. Ricky Carmichael and his bronze in the stacked Best Trick competition, Potter was still a little disappointed in his showing—he wants a medal in Freestyle. With some time to think about it all, we caught up with him on one of the many days he spends training for the comps. On this day, we caught him between hits at his buddy Nate Adam’s house. What’s in store for Todd in the future? Read on and find out…

Tell us about X Games. You had a pretty good showing there, right?

X Games 14 for me went really great and really bad at the same time. Best Trick and Best Whip went really good for me. I didn’t think I was going to be getting a medal in Best Trick, and it turned out that everyone crashed out and it kind of ended up favoring me—that was cool. I didn’t really have any expectations for Best Whip, but it was just really cool to ride with all the top guys like Ricky Carmichael—he’s the greatest of all time. That was really cool, because I grew up watching him ride and to compete against him was fun. It was just a bonus to get first in that. But really, coming into X Games, I wanted to do well in Freestyle and I didn’t; it made me more mad than anything. That is the only thing I want to do good in, so my next X Games I hope to do way better at Freestyle. I want to get a medal in Freestyle.Potter has one of the best whips in the business.

What was it like riding with Carmichael? Was it a little intimidating sitting waiting to drop in with him?

If Carmichael just showed up the day of the competition, unloaded his bike, and then we started doing Best Whip, I would probably be a little intimidated. But he came the day before, and I had a chance to ride with him at the Moto-X Championships in the Step-Up competition. He also gave me a jersey and has been really cool the whole time; so no, I took it as a really fun time to go out and just ride with him. Like I said, I didn’t care if I won or lost, I just wanted to go out and give it my all. 

What was it like beating RC? Not many people can say they’ve beaten Carmichael at anything MX related.

I keep on hearing people ask, “What was it like beating Ricky Carmichael?” And I don’t even feel like I did. I just feel like I went out and just whipped the bike. It’s not like I beat him at something that he does like racing. It wasn’t really that big of a deal for me. I thought that it was just cooler that I rode with him. I would have rather beaten [Ronnie] Renner. If Carmichael had gotten first, as long as I beat Renner then it didn’t matter. Flip tricks are what it’s about in FMX.

You’re know as the guy who likes to do a lot of tech stuff on a dirt bike—we just saw you do a wheelie while coasting downhill—where do you get that from?

Well, I do like to do weird little stuff like wheelie without the motor on, or go up and fakie the ramp and turn around BMX style. I started off riding dirt bikes when I was about five, and I rode forever and I always had a BMX bike along the way. Then when I moved to San Clemente for a few of years, I only had a BMX bike for about four years, and that actually taught me a lot about timing and doing those little tricks. Then when I started riding motocross again, I kind of missed doing the little things that I would do on a BMX bike in front of my house. Since then, I’ve kind of been trying to incorporate BMX into motocross. Like when I finally do 360s, I want them to be real BMX style [straight up and down]. That’s probably why I haven’t done them yet, because they’re not possible. I just want to make my riding look more BMX. I just think BMXers are smooth.Potter trains a lot with his riding buddy Nate Adams. Here they hit one of the many jumps found in Nates backyard.

What’s next for you?

Well last year I got a second and a third at the last two Dew Tour stops. We’re going into the last two stops now, so I’m going to try really hard to at least get a trophy. I don’t know, I really want to do good at Freestyle. I don’t want to just be a Best Trick guy. The only trick that I have is old. Plus, it’s scary to do Best Trick and I would rather put it together in a Freestyle run and mature in my riding.

Speaking of Best Trick, it was pretty gnarly this year. What were your thoughts going into it this year?

Honestly, I was just going to try to go into it and do a back-flip no-hander-to-no-hander lander, but I wanted to try to get more laid back over the back of the bike and keep it all the way around, because no one has really been able to pull one off. I know Nate [Adams] has tried it a bunch of times, but it’s a really technical trick. I was going in thinking that I was going to do one of those and maybe a cliffhanger flip. Then I started thinking, “Why the hell wouldn’t I do my biggest trick—the kiss of death flip?” So I went in, and right off the bat I was planning on getting a good score with the KOD flip, then I was going to try to step up my game on the second one and do a cliffhanger-to-no-hander-lander flip, but I couldn’t get it. My thoughts were, hopefully the guys that were in there for one-trick wonders can’t really ride a bike that well, and it kind of proved that, because you saw the guys that trained all year get what they deserved.

What are your thoughts on the one-trick wonders?

I think the one-trick wonders are awesome. It gives me something to watch and it’s good entertainment.Potter is hoping that he can improve his FMX results in the remaining competitions.