The Yamaha of Troy team will have an nearly all-new look for 2003, with three of the four spots on the roster being inhabited by new faces. One of their new recruits is Brock Sellards, who’s making his jump over to a Yamaha YZ250F from a KTM 125.
Of course, four-strokes aren’t an entirely new experience for the Ohio native, since he’d ridden a big thumper at this year’s four-stroke event at the U.S. Open, where he bagged second overall.
TransWorld Motocross: How’s the transition to the 250F going for you?
Brock Sellards: “It’s really good. I absolutely love riding four-strokes. My bike produces so much torque off the bottom. It works exceptionally well in the whoops. Actually, my weedeaters are four-strokes, so I like anything that’s a four-stroke. I like the way they run.
“The KTM 125 had really fast motors, but there were a lot of other areas that I struggled with. I haven’t hardly found a flaw in the four-stroke other than getting used to the engine braking. I like to go into my turns real hard. When I downshift, the engine brake kicks in, and I hit the rear brake and always slide. So right now it’s a transition that’s hard for me to get used to. I didn’t notice it as much on the 520 because it’s so fast…you’re wanting it to slow down.
“I’m getting dialed. As soon as I got on the bike, it wasn’t like I needed to get used to the way it ran or anything. They’re real good because you never have any problems with the motor.”
TWMX: What are your plans for this year?
BS: “I’ll be riding East Coast, and I’m thinking riding the 250F is for sure the best shot for me winning the title. I’ve come within three points of winning the title before, and led the whole series, so I know what it feels like to be in the lead. I’ve been there, done that. I know what it feels like to lose, too. Everything’s so good right now, I’m just really…you know, overexcited for things to happen.
“I’m working with Jeff Spencer this year. He works with Reed, Ferry, Danny Smith, and Lance Armstrong. He’s unbelievable. It’s great that I’m working with him, I’m on a new team, I’ve got a new attitude, and him to take care of me. So I’m not looking for any excuses this year. I’m not getting some freaky sickness that no one ever gets, or mono, or whatever. No arm pump surgeries, or stuff like that. I just want to get everything clean and go out there and have the best year of my life.”
TWMX: Last year you had to deal with the Epstein Barr virus during the outdoor season. What was the deal there?
BS: “It was from doing a little bit of overtraining, and a trip I did to France. When I was there we were racing every night and I kind of wore myself out. We raced three motos three nights in a row. I never let my body recover and you can pick up the virus real easy. They say 90% of people get it in their lifetime, mostly when you’re a baby.
“It taught me how to train right, ’cause when you have it and you’re recovering from it, you have to be really smart about how you train. You can’t just go, ‘I feel like running 20 miles today, ‘ and go bust your butt, ’cause you’re destroying yourself if you even try to do something like that.”
TWMX: So who will you have to contend with this year?
BS: “Michael Byrne. He’ll be super-fast. You’ve got Mike Brown, Branden Jesseman. Also Ivan Tedesco. He’s going extremely well right now, and he’s really fast through the whoops, so he’s going to be tough…there’s a lot of guys who will be fast.”
TWMX: And no Bubba to deal with this year.
BS: “You know what? Most people don’t look at things realistically, but if you want to win a championship, you caan’t go win one when you’re just looking at, ‘Oh, I’m going to beat Bubba Stewart. I’m gonna show that I can’t stand him winning, and I want to beat him,’ because you’re not just racing one guy. You’ve still got Preston, Gosselaar, you’ve Danny Smith, Eric Sorby…it’s ridiculous. You’ve got all these guys, and you’re just worried about one guy. You might be one of those guys thinking this, but you’ve got all those other guys that you’re lucky if you can beat…none of them are going to be a standout from the other. It’s who gets a holeshot. But Stewart’s a standout. Realistically, can you beat him? It’s not realistic. Not many people can admit to it.
“He’ll be smart this year, and he can run paces that Carmichael can do. How do you compete with that? You can ride, you can train, you can do whatever, but how do you go that much faster? I’m not saying that I don’t think he’s beatable, and that he’ll win the championship hands-down, but I’d much rather take my chances not racing him.”
TWMX: Do you think he’s forced everyone in the 125 class to focus on riding and training the way that Ricky’s done it to the 250 class?
BS: “I think he just makes everybody focus on beating him, instead of making themselves better. You can’t just train with a Bubba Stewart picture hanging off your visor. You’ve got to go out there and have the confidence that you can win, no matter who’s in your class. But obviously, if he’s in your mind already, you’re not convinced that you’re going to win. You’re thinking that it’d be the greatest thing in the world if I beat him, you know?
“I remember last year I battled with him, and everybody was flipping out, just because I was battling with him. He ended up taking me out in Phoenix, and then we ended up having a battle at the next Anaheim in the qualifier pretty big. That was just a battle, and he still came out on top.”
TWMX: What do you think of the Supercross series going international?
BS: “I think it’s good for the sport any time you add more money or exposure. I actually tried to get in on that, but it was just at the beginning of this week and the team couldn’t organize it in time.
“It really isn’t a whole ‘nuther series other than two rounds, and it brings in twice the amount of money. There’s a $250,000 purse with that. Plus, now it’s not just American Supercross. It’s World Supercross. I mean, look at the gate. There are French guys, there’s South Africa, there’s Australian guys…so it is World Supercross. They’re coming from all over the world. Yeah, they’re doing it in America, but having two rounds over there? Yeah, it’s cool.”