By Donn Maeda
Photos courtesy Fox Racing
Chad Reed is one of those guys whom you can never count out of any race, even now when he is one of the elder statesmen of the sport. When he’s feeling it, Reed can tap into his bank of speed and style and put on a racing clinic, much like he did this Fall at the Aus-X Open in his home country of Australia. When the gate drops at Anaheim 1 in a couple weeks, it will mark Reed’s second season on the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Service/Yamaha squad, and we’re betting that he returns to the top of the podium at least once…
So Chad we are entering the 2017 and you don’t show any signs of letting up; you just went down to Australia and spanked everyone at the Aus-X Open…
Yeah, I don’t know if I would claim to have spanked them, but it was a nice weekend. Did a lot more winning than I did losing. The goal is to keep at it; I want to be better and find ways to still be competitive. At the end of the day, I feel that’s why I still do it. Every day I go to sleep thinking about how and which way I think I can be better then I wake up ready to achieve it. Why put an end to that just because it’s not normal that somebody my age is competitive. I love it and I’m willing to do all those things so I’m having a good time.
How old are you right now?
Do you remember looking at John Dowd wondering how he did it? And now you’re 34 and as quick as you’ve ever been. Mentally, do you still feel like you’re in your 20s?
Nothing feels different, I don’t feel less committed in any way. There are some good days and bad days, but that still happened in my teen years and 20s. There’s nothing that really restricts me. I feel mentally stronger than I’ve ever been, I feel physically in the best shape I’ve ever in. The feeling with the bike is there too. In my mind it’s all lining up for a good season.
The years of experience, it’s more than just a saying; you really have more knowledge and you know what’s gonna happen when you do things on your motorcycle…
My whole life, I’ve been hearing about the experience that some of the old riders did. It’s something you can’t buy. I’ve lost races early in my career and my rookie season, probably lost a championship because of things I didn’t do because of what you know now. I would never go back, through the ups and downs, it’s been fun and makes you appreciative of who you are. I’m really happy with what I’ve done, achieved, and plan to still do.
I enjoy watching your social media and your interactions with the kids. Are you all in on being a motocross dad?
Tate likes it, I wouldn’t say he loves it. My little guy, my two-year-old, loves it. He loves getting on a bike and as soon as you get him off, he’s kicking and screaming, turns into a real two-year-old and acts out. I posted a video on my Instagram once of him crying. That to me right there wakes you up and brings back memories of things you used to do! Man, I remember that no matter who was around, that nobody has been able to ride as much as I wanted to ride. Ever since my very early age of three, four, or five years old, I’ve been able to go through tanks and tanks of gas more than anybody. To see your kids act like you when you act when you take something away from them..it makes me appreciate of what I get to do at this age.
When you posted that you loved being part of Shift, I saw that and wondered what that meant. And then, the next day it was announced you had switched to Fox…
It was a change that I wanted to make, and I’m excited about it. I think I fit the Fox brand more at this point in my life and career. With the kids, I enjoy a lot of things away from the bike as well. If I’m out surfing or wakeboarding, I’m always in Fox products and it was really difficult for that crossover with Shift. I think that the family and I embrace and fit the Fox brand a little better.
It’s funny because, off the record, other racers talk about how they want to ride for Fox someday…
You always look at people that you’ve looked up to like Rick Johnson to Jeremy McGrath. All my heroes have been Fox guys and I think it’s the elite and always will be. My Shift relationship actually started out with me wearing Fox. I feel proud and honored to be a Fox guy with all the history.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this already, but how much longer?
If the results are there that I feel I am capable of, my goal and my plan is to push and negotiate a two-year extension so that would take me through 2019, I would be 37. Then reevaluate. That’s the goal, but the results have to be there, I don’t want to go out there and make up the numbers, I want to work hard.
It’s pretty awesome how you can just buckle down, cut weight, and get into great race shape, but then when you don’t have to train you really enjoy yourself.
Yeah! (Laughs) It gets harder to be honest with you. I’m forever trying and feeling out new diets and new ways to train. I’m a fat kid at heart: May through September is my happy place. The September through May is rough, it feels like you’re living on rations while working hard. It is what it is, by choice. Right now, I’m quite a bit lighter than I was last year, but nothing before. It’s not like I’m crazy light.
There have been years where you come into Anaheim a bit heavier, then cut weight as the season goes on right?
Yeah, it seems like weight has always been a weird thing for me. Some years I’m a bit thicker and some I’m thinner for no reason. I don’t know that I feel comfortable saying it’s one thing or another. There was a year where I felt I had an awesome off-season and worked really hard, and I felt I wasn’t as thin for as hard as I worked. Like shit, I’ve won championships on the thicker side. I don’t look at an individual myself and go, “Wow I need to be 155 pounds.” I feel great and we’ll see if it works out.
You’re coming into ’17 feeling good, any big changes or is it just business as usual?
I would say there’s been big changes, but there’s not. In some way I would say we’ve made progress, but when you look at what we’ve changed and how we achieved it. It’s nothing crazy. No one goes and makes a huge gain by a huge change. They come from such small little tweaks here and there. In my opinion, I’m happy with the bike, it’s come a long way. We’re at a point where we need to go racing. I think that Monster Cup was a roll out on some new parts, I felt that we left Monster Cup feeling like the direction we were heading was right. I went to Australia and was able to do a lot of winning over there and the feeling that I needed was good. Some of the things we needed to work on in Australia, I was finally able to go to California this past week and to some testing. I think we have made the next step and are ready to go to Anaheim among the elite, the best of the best. I feel like right now I’ve ticked all the boxes and now we just need to go racing and adapt from there.