By Brendan Lutes
Team Hart & Huntington/Dodge’s Ivan Tedesco had a disappointing year in 2011. Yes, he did have some great rides in the highly competitive Supercross class, but for most of the season, he was forced to ride through the nagging pain of injuries until ultimately withdrawing from the series with two rounds remaining. Now after six months off the bike to repair a torn ACL and Labrum in his hip, Hot Sauce is back riding with his sights set on Anaheim I next January. We caught up with him while he drove to the Kawasaki test track.
Let’s start off by talking about last season. You had some good rides, but ultimately ended the season with an injury. Overall, how did it go for you?
Last year’s off-season went really well, and coming into the season, I felt that I was the most prepared that I’ve been in a long time. But I was maybe a little over-excited, or trying too hard, and I just crashed. I had little injuries all year long, but it was towards the end that I tore my ACL and tore up my hip. After that, I had to pull out of the series to get it all fixed.
Was it difficult struggling through those injuries during the season?
I missed the last two rounds because of them. I tore my ACL at the Toronto Supercross, finished that race, and then I raced two rounds on the torn ACL. Then at St. Louis, I tore the Labrum in my hip. After that, I was riding on both those injuries at Seattle, but I just couldn’t do it anymore—it was just too much pain. I decided to go get everything fixed and here we are six months later with a full summer worth of rehab to get myself back to where I need to be.
It was your first year on Hart & Huntington. How was the team for you?
The team was good. Last year, they had Dodge come aboard, it was my first year on the team, and I was super stoked with being back on Kawasaki and Mitch at Pro Circuit doing the bike. The bike was definitely capable of going out there and winning races. I feel the same about this year. I feel like I’m on a good team, I have the best equipment, and I just need to go out there and have a better year than I did last year.
So now you’re back riding, but how have your knee and hip been feeling so far?
Actually, everything is going really well. I got surgery on my knee and hip right after the Vegas Supercross [back in May], so it’s been about six months that I’ve been off the bike and I just started riding again last week. It’s been going a lot better than I was expecting. I’m just going to kind of be building back up from now until Anaheim I and get back to where I’m supposed to be.
Did you go straight back into riding Supercross or have you been slowly getting back into it?
The first two days I just went to Starwest and Perris—just some local tracks around here in California. Then the other two days I went back to the Supercross track. I was actually a lot better at Supercross than I was outdoors. For whatever I reason I just felt comfortable. That’s what I’m doing anyways—racing Supercross—so that’s where I’m at now.
Have you ridden the new 2012 KX450F yet?
I’m still on my ’11 right now and the team is still working on the ’12. Since I just started riding last week, I just jumped on my race bike from last year so everything was the same. We’re going to slowly start riding the ’12, do some testing, and do it the right way.
Even before you got injured, was the team planning on doing any outdoor races, or was that not in the plans all along?
No, we’re Supercross only and weren’t planning on doing any outdoors anyways, and I really only missed two races that I was supposed to do because of the injuries. Who knows, though, maybe we’ll come out this next summer for a couple races or maybe we won’t. We’ll just have to see.
So looking ahead at the next few months before Anaheim I, what are your plans?
Yeah, I’m just going to hit it hard. I have about two months to prepare and every day I’m just going to do the best I can. Two months goes by quick, so I’m going to do everything I can to prepare. I’m looking forward to it; it’s going to be fun. We’re doing the same thing and have two new sponsors coming aboard for the team, so I’m happy.