Chad Reed: “I’ve done my learning. I’m looking at winning.”

Since arriving here from Australia a little over a year ago, Chad Reed has definitely made an impact on the U.S. scene. Aboard a Yamaha of Troy YZ250F, he nearly swept the 125 East Supercross series en route to his first U.S.-based championship. During the 125cc Nationals he was hampered by injuries, but scored one overall win and hooked up a Yamaha factory ride. To cap off his season, he led Team Australia to the win at the World Cup of Motocross.

For 2003, Chad jumps back up to the 250cc class, which is pretty clearly where he’s always wanted to be. He rode several of the West Coast 250cc rounds last season, turning in solid rides, and didn’t look at all like a series rookie. He and Ricky Carmichael also put on a great show at the first night of the U.S. Open, locking into a great duel as they worked their way back to the front of the pack after early-race crashes. There’s no doubt that Chad’s not afraid to bang bars, and he definitely has the speed to be a front-runner in the 250cc class.

Some people have called Chad cocky. He’s definitely on the quiet and confident side, so maybe that’s where that impression originates. He’s also really competitive…even at something like the kart enduro at Yamaha’s press intro (which is where the interview was done). But people close to him have also mentioned that he has a really funny, if dry, sense of humor. One thing’s for sure…he didn’t flinch over a single question that was asked of him.

[IMAGE 1]

TransWorld Motocross: At the World Cup you rode the 450, and there was some question in your mind about which bike you’d be riding this season. Since you settled on the 250, how did you make the decision?

Chad Reed: “It was pretty much the bike I was most comfortable on. It was honestly a really, really tough decision…and I’d thought it was going to be an easy one. I think I had it in my mind that I was going to race the 250, and that was it. Then I had a chance to ride the new 450 and do a lot of testing and race it at the World Cup, and the bike actually turned out better than I expected it to. It was a really nice bike to ride, but something in the back of my head was telling me, ‘Just go with the 250.’ My bike’s running really good and it handles good. It’s a bike ready to win.”

TWMX: Are you happy to be back on the 250s?

CR: “Yeah, I’m really, really excited. It’s something that I was looking forward to all season. Not because I didn’t enjoy it in the 125s, or I thought I was better than them or anything like that, I just felt better on the 250. I’ve raced that class ever since I turned professional, and I just thought it was the bike that I was going to be best on.

“In Supercross everything works really, really good on the 250F, and then outdoors I just wasn’t good enough…it comes down to that. To put that season behind me, I got one championship, and I was able to get a really good ride with Yamaha and look forward to the future.”

TWMX: What are your expectations for this season? Are you going out to learn? Or are you going out to win?

CR: “I’ve been professional since ’98. I’ve done my crashing, I’ve done my learning. I’m looking at winning. A lot of people think it’s silly to think that, but we’re all human and we have as good a chance as each other. I’m working really hard, my bike’s awesome, the team is a bunch of fun to be around, and I think I have a lot of things in my corner this year. I’m really looking forward to it. Let’s roll into 2003 and do some races. Hopefully win, hopefully learn, and just take it as it comes.

TWMX: What have you got for Ricky this year?

CR: “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. At the U.S. Open, there was a t of talk about me and Ricky getting together, but he crashed and I crashed. I really don’t judge anything from that. The main thing for me now is that I feel good on the bike and my fitness is really good, so that’s all I need to worry about. Ricky’s going to have a good bike and he’s going to be fit, so we all know what Ricky’s going to be like. I just need to focus on myself and be ready.”

[IMAGE 2]

TWMX: How about the race that you guys had in Vegas? The first night was probably the best racing we’ve seen in a while.

CR: “It was a lot of fun. It was just a bunch of fun being back in that class, being back on the bike, and to race with Ricky was really good. We both crashed on the same lap. I was thinking I was in last, and the next minute I come over and he’s on the ground. What better chance to race him when we’re both coming from behind. It was good fun.”

TWMX: Did you think it was a dirty deal? It got to the point where both you guys were focused more on what each other were doing than you were on going forward.

CR: “Yeah, it got dirty to a certain extent. It’s really tough to pass in that place. He wanted to go forward, I wanted to go forward. During the race I’d catch people and he’d be right on me. Here I was trying to make a pass happen, and he was trying to pass me. So it was a really tough situation to be in, but the two of us I think handled it well. A lot of people asked, ‘Was there bad blood?’ Let’s just look forward to the new year and if the racing’s like that in the new year I’ll be really happy, and I’ll be even more happy if we switch roles.”

TWMX: Did Bubba get in your head at all during the outdoor season?

CR: “No. You know, a lot of people have asked that question, but it seemed like when he was at his best, and I was never at my best. To be honest, I really don’t care. The season was really not the season I’d hoped for, and he had a great season. He beat me, and I beat him too. He beat me more times than I beat him, but I think I learned a lot riding with him.

“There’s no excuses. He rode really well and he’s the champion. You’ve got to congratulate him. I believe he’s going to ride one more year on the 125, then come to the 250s. He’s going to be strong and he’s younger than I am, so throughout my whole career I’m going to have to deal with him and I think that it was good to see what he had this year and see how he rode. I’m looking forward to racing with him again. He didn’t get in my head at all. I think he’s a good guy and he brings something new to our sport. You’ve just got to be thankful and looking forward to racing with him and battling, and hopefully beating him.”

TWMX: How are you and Craig Anderson related? I know you’re cousins…

CR: “His dad and my mom are brother and sister. It was good growing up with someone who was older than me. I think that it’s definitely helped me out because he was four years ahead of me the whole time. He always rode bigger bikes than I did, and I was always the younger one on slower bikes. I was always chasing him, and he had Supercross tracks…his dad has an earthmoving company. The both of us have been riding Supercross ever since we were seven or eight years old. For me Supercross is really fun, and I believe if there’s anything I can win on, it’s Supercross. I want to win outdoors, but right now I’m just concentrating on Supercross.

TWMX: How have you settled in here in the U.S?

CR: “Southern California is a very different place. It’s just like one big desert. I’m here to race motorcycles, and I live in the most appropriate place for motocross. I live close to all the test tracks and things like that. When I came here I was like, ‘All we ever do is grow up watching videos of America…the Hollywood thing and whatever else. They make it out to be so beautiful and glamorous and whatever else, and really, Southern California itself is just one big desert and it’s not really all that glamour.”

“At first it was kind of tough, because Australia’s a very beautiful place. I was like, ‘Damn, this is not exactly what I thought it was going to be.’ Things change. I went back to Australia and after a week I couldn’t wait to get back to home to America. I’ve been here a year and four days. My life’s changed very fast, and I think it’s better that it changed fast because I adapt and just concentrate on my racing. When I got a chance to go back and stay on the East Coast, it was like a totally different world over there. It’s really beautiful. You know, I plan on buying a house in Florida. It’s a lot like Australia. I like when it rains, and I like when it gets green grass and things like that. California’s good for Supercross, but once that’s over, I’m going back on the East Coast.”

TWMX: What’s your take on the World Supercross rounds?

CR: “I see it as a good thing. There’s mixed feelings on it. For me it’s 40 laps. Those 40 laps I think are going to be good to have up my sleeve. It’s 40 laps on my race bike, and I think everything’s going to work hopefully in my favor. I’ve built my whole preparation and everything around that, so for me it’s just two races that are overseas, but to me they’re American races and hopefully a push towards winning a championship.”

TWMX: Are you looking at them as practice rounds for the American series? Or are you trying to look at the whole thing?

CR: “I want to go there and I really want to ride as hard as I possibly can for the whole 40 laps. I want to win, and I want to just put everything that I have into it because I feel that this year it’s going to be a bunch of people up there, and the fittest and strongest person will win. So hopefully we can get these two races, learn a bunch and take it to Anaheim and be ready.”

cks and things like that. When I came here I was like, ‘All we ever do is grow up watching videos of America…the Hollywood thing and whatever else. They make it out to be so beautiful and glamorous and whatever else, and really, Southern California itself is just one big desert and it’s not really all that glamour.”

“At first it was kind of tough, because Australia’s a very beautiful place. I was like, ‘Damn, this is not exactly what I thought it was going to be.’ Things change. I went back to Australia and after a week I couldn’t wait to get back to home to America. I’ve been here a year and four days. My life’s changed very fast, and I think it’s better that it changed fast because I adapt and just concentrate on my racing. When I got a chance to go back and stay on the East Coast, it was like a totally different world over there. It’s really beautiful. You know, I plan on buying a house in Florida. It’s a lot like Australia. I like when it rains, and I like when it gets green grass and things like that. California’s good for Supercross, but once that’s over, I’m going back on the East Coast.”

TWMX: What’s your take on the World Supercross rounds?

CR: “I see it as a good thing. There’s mixed feelings on it. For me it’s 40 laps. Those 40 laps I think are going to be good to have up my sleeve. It’s 40 laps on my race bike, and I think everything’s going to work hopefully in my favor. I’ve built my whole preparation and everything around that, so for me it’s just two races that are overseas, but to me they’re American races and hopefully a push towards winning a championship.”

TWMX: Are you looking at them as practice rounds for the American series? Or are you trying to look at the whole thing?

CR: “I want to go there and I really want to ride as hard as I possibly can for the whole 40 laps. I want to win, and I want to just put everything that I have into it because I feel that this year it’s going to be a bunch of people up there, and the fittest and strongest person will win. So hopefully we can get these two races, learn a bunch and take it to Anaheim and be ready.”