The last time we had the chance to talk to Trey Canard, he had just stepped away from racing and wasn’t sure of his plans moving forward. A few months later, Canard started posting on his Instagram account, hinting at some involvement with the building of the 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm track. As it turns out, Trey is working on something called Racing Standard, which provides advocacy to riders and helps to improve the safety of racetracks and events. Canard himself had suffered some tough injuries in his career, including a broken back in 2012 after being landed on. During the morning hours of the 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm, we chatted with the former factory racer to find out more about Racing Standard and what he’s doing to improve the safety of the sport.
It’s been roughly three months now since you’ve retired.
Yeah the end of July, so almost four! It’s gone quick.
In that time, what have you been up to? What has life been like since then?
It’s weird, it stopped. You go so fast for so long and then it’s like I hit the brakes. It was really fun at first, we did some really fun things and it’s still good being at home with my family. We’ve gone to some cool places. It’s been interesting and it’s been a lot more difficult then I thought it would be to stop riding. It’s been good overall and I’ve been trying to figure out what my new normal is.
You’ve been out at the 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm working on rider safety and track design. Talk to me more about what it is you’re up to and where you want to take this as well.
I think that the best way to put it is rider advocacy. My biggest goal is to increase the communication between the promoter and the track builder, and adding a riders perspective to things. I want to be the place where riders go to give their feedback to the track builders or whoever needs that information and to have some oversight as the track is being built to incorporate the riders opinion. That’s kind of what I did here at Red Bull Straight Rhythm and it’s a good test run for me. That’s the goal. We want to get the best people in the sport involved in it. Everyone has a lot of different opinions so we want to gather those the best we can and try to come up with the best outcome possible.
In order to accomplish that goal, what do you have to do on your end? What is the process like?
It’s been a really big learning process. It’s not black and white. One obstacle doesn’t work for one guy, but maybe it does for another. Everyone has different opinions and for me, I just have to be there to ask the questions so that I can get the information and siphon through it to figure out what needs to change. I’m hoping to make that process simpler. Right now, I don’t feel like everyone has one guy they can go to with their input and hopefully I can fill that role and make things a little smoother.
On that same note, a lot of guys have talked about starting something along these lines or they’ve voiced a need for it. For you, what did it take to actually pull the trigger and go for it?
There’s been a lot talk for a long time, at least as long as I can remember being a professional. There’s been talk about a riders union or an association, and I don’t know that something like that is the route I’m looking to pursue. For me, I’ve had a lot of injuries and I want to do anything I can to help limit those. In any sport, athletes are going to have injuries because we’re pushing ourselves to the limit. There are going to be crashes and accidents, but if we can limit that in any way or make riders feel more comfortable, that’s my goal.
At what point did this idea come to you, and when did you ultimately make the decision to pursue it?
I think one moment that stands out was at a race that had a 90-degree righthand turn into a rhythm lane at a Supercross. It was a really short start, you almost couldn’t grab third, and we all looked at it and thought it was going to be sketchy. I ended up having my hand landed on and I crashed in the heat race. I was just thinking after that night, “Why don’t we have someone that can look at that before we even get there and realize that the design might not work?” That was the first moment that I realized we need someone to be in this role. After retiring, I was thinking of what I can do next and obviously, I’m passionate about trying to help guys stay healthy, so I thought I’d give it a crack.
Looking at 2018, do you see your involvement coming in during the track design process or when the track is built and you can physically see and test the track?
I think they probably have most of the mapping done at this point, but I’d love to give my feedback if possible. There’s only so much you can see on a piece of paper though. Getting out here to look at the dirt and how things are formed is the key part. That’s probably the best route to go about it. You could look at a map and it can be all sorts of different ways on paper, but until you see how things are built you don’t really know.