The 450 Main Event at the 2018 Las Vegas Supercross will be one of, if not the, most important races of the entire 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Series. Two riders come into the weekend with a chance at claiming the first 450 Supercross championship of their careers, an accomplishment that they have dreamed of and chased since their days as amateur prodigies. When the checkered flag flies tomorrow night, the number one plate and trophy will be awarded to either Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson or Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, two riders with very different styles and personalities. What is it like to be hours away from possibly attaining a lifelong dream? During the press day session on Friday, we grabbed a moment with each rider and asked about their thoughts ahead of the title fight. Although something major is on the line, neither seemed nervous or on edge about the coming moto, an attitude that we doubt most would be able to manage in the same situation.
You’re twenty-four hours from potentially attaining a lifelong goal…
Well, thirty hours, actually [Laughs].
How does this feel? It has to be a surreal experience.
It’s surreal but at the same time, the biggest thing is when you’re younger, you look up to these Chad Reed-Ricky Carmichael battles for the championship. Now I’m the guy in that battle. I’m going to try my butt off and I really want to win that championship. I just am going to put everything that I can into the race tomorrow night. I think it’s going to happen and it’s a good feeling.
There are seventeen races run in eighteen weekends and so much happens at every single race. On any given weekend, did you lose sight of the championship because of all that happens or were you able to maintain a focus on working towards the bigger goal?
For me, sometimes the routine is gnarly and I think that racing every weekend is gnarly, so sometimes when you have a free moment you just want to live a normal life at some point. And it’s hard to do that. In those times, I think you lose sight of what the main goal is, but we’re humans and trying to live a normal life. It’s a hard deal but it’s something that we all have to deal with and I think I’ve done a good job at getting better at it over the years.
With the exception of last weekend, you’ve been solid. Yeah, Daytona was rough but you managed to put in a good result. How do you keep rough moments from rattling your confidence?
I don’t feel like I’m not confident. Last week I got up and was two laps down, but I was still going as fast as the leaders. It’s not like I’m not confident, but our sport is unpredictable and crazy things can happen. I’m just looking forward to doing the same things that I have all year, push through everything, and fight all the way to the end.
As a guy that has raced for your entire life, the dream was to come to the United States and race Supercross, and now you’re in contention for the championship. Twenty-fours from the race, how does it feel?
It’s kind of a dream come true to be able to fight for the championship. This is my third year on the 450 and I have never been able to fight for it, even when I won races last year. To be honest, with an injury at the beginning of the season, I didn’t think about the championship but now we are in. It’s something unique. I wish we would have been tied in points, that would have been an awesome battle, but the gap is still pretty big. A lot of luck has to be on my side.
For you it’s been about consistency, there was never a huge surge in speed or unnecessary risks to get to this point. Even if you don’t win the championship, would you consider this to be a successful season?
I think so. Coming out of Anaheim One with the win and red plate, that was only the first round. Other than that, to be able to fight for the win, you see that last year and this year at times my speed wasn’t there, but there was consistency and I was able to battle at tracks like Salt Lake City, which was slick and dry and not my favorite.
There are seventeen races run in eighteen weekends and so much happens at every single race. Did you ever lose sight of the big goal or was it always in mind?
You are so focused on the weekend and I think it’s better that way, to forget about the big picture and just focus on every single lap and race. You just focus on what you have to do best. It’s definitely a long season and I’m still learning.