Car Talk With Team Honda's Ernesto Fonseca
By Donn Maeda
A few weeks ago, Team Honda rider Ernesto Fonseca rolled up to the TransWorld Motocross photo studio in his brand-new ride; a 2004 Range Rover, complete with huge 23″ aftermarket wheels and tires. His ride, combined with his fancy new Hollywood haircut, inspired us to conduct an impromptu DUB Magazine-style photo shoot and interview with the two-time 125cc Supercross Champion. Here's what we came up with…
Dope-ass ride, Ernie! When did you get it?
(Laughs) Thanks. Believe it or not, it was actually my signing bonus from the guys at Answer Racing.
No way. A signing bonus? Who came up with that?
Well, my manager Jimmy Button knew that I really wanted a Range Rover, so he worked it into my contract with Big E.
Wow. Button is officially like the world's greatest agent, then, isn't he? When Big E worked for us, getting him to give up a Chicken McNugget was a major undertaking…
Yeah, I mean, Button just told me, “Hey, I got you that Range Rover that you've been wanting.” I was totally stoked. I love this car.
Well, we all know that agents get a cut of what they pull down for their riders. Does that mean that Button gets to drive it on weekends?
(Laughs) Heck no!
So why a Range Rover, of all things?
Well, I used to have a Mercedes, but I never drove it, so I sold it. After one year, I only had about 4000 miles on it. I've already gone the sedan route, so I figured something bigger like the Range Rover would be different and cool. It's just nice to have something other than a truck to drive when I am not riding or going to the gym.
Are you sure there's no ulterior motive for choosing a SUV? Is The Fonz gonna be a big papa soon?
Nah, man. Don't say stuff like that!
So one of the questions the car magazines always ask is, “What's more important; sounds or rims?”
Well, I did go out and buy some 23″ Antera wheels for it, but the stereo is stock. Every time I have ever taken one of my vehicles somewhere to get a system put in, they jacked something up. You know, like the “door ajar” light will come on for no reason. The stock system is nice, though.
And what would be in that stock system right now? You know, for when you roll through your 'hood with the windows down, bumpin'…
I've got a Chingy CD in there right now. It's almost always rap stuff like Snoop Dogg, but those days are over. I don't do that stuff anymore.
C'mon, Ernie, we heard those stories about the Tuscany Hills pimp cruiser…
(Laughs) No, seriously, I don't do that any more. Those days are long gone!
Okay, on a more motocross-related note, what went through your mind when you learned that Ricky was hurt, and realized that you were the sole 250cc-class factory Honda rider?
You know, it was pretty gnarly and I couldn't believe it at first. But there was never any added pressure or anything like that… I mean, yeah, I am the only factory 250cc rider, but we have Kevin Windham and Mike LaRocco out there, too. I want to do good because I want to do good, not because I think there is added pressure.
You've looked great in Supercross at the first couple of races, but have had bad luck in the main events…
Yeah, I got my first-ever 250cc Supercross heat race win at Phoenix and I am pumped about that! In the main event at Anaheim I was leading and I got too carried away on the first lap and I crashed in the whoops. At Phoenix, I bent my shift lever and my bike was stuck in first gear. But I am feeling stronger and faster in Supercross. I am sure it will all come together for me.
What are your plans for the outdoor Nationals? Will you be on the four-stroke CRF250R in the 125cc class?
You know, I don't know. It kind of depends on what Ricky does. If he does ride the CRF450R in the 250cc class, Honda may want me to race a two-stroke CR250R. I am excited to race either class, though. I know the CR250R is awesome, and the CRF250R was super good when I raced it in Japan.
Right on… Hey one last thing. We've gotta ask you what's up with that new hairdo of yours!
(Laughs) What do you mean, dude? I just haven't gotten around to getting it cut, that's all.
No way. Big E told us that you drive into Orange County and pay $70 bucks for that do'.
No, man! I just haven't gotten it cut! I swear.
You had a ponytail when we first met you back in '97. Are you going for that look again?
Nah. No way. And I'm not getting it cut into a mullet, so don't even ask!