Stoppin-In: Chad Reed
Reed after his first win of 2012
Chad Reed: Words from LA
Type-Os and Photos: Scott Hoffman
Reed was in the zone and on a mission in Los Angeles. He came out of the gate charging and put his head down (literally) and charged forward until the track was clear and there were no riders to pass until he hit lappers. When we say he put his head down – we meant it. Reed saw green in front of him and while he was racing side by side with Jake Weimer, the entire time he thought it was Ryan Villopoto. His goal was to win and he just wanted to pass the green bike for the lead and never really paid attention to what number was on the bike.
Motocross.com: Not the best gate pick for the main on the outside but you made it work?
Reed: Yeah, it was a good ride. It wasn’t like I just holeshotted and led 20 laps. I want to say that both wins previous to this have kind of been holeshots and I led for 20 laps. It was good, I had front-end feel. We kind of gambled a little bit in the main. I’ve just been crashing way too much in the front. It’s just so different to ride during the week and be comfortable and then come to the races and kind of ask for that same comfort but go that extra 2, 3, 4, 5% faster. I just kind of resorted back to a tire from last year and it gave me the feeling that I needed in the main. I just tried to go to the front and tried to make it happen.
I don’t even know where it happened. Did I pass him in the whoops maybe? No, I didn’t actually. I kind of set him up in the whoops but I think two laps in a row I went by him in the whoops and then he just squared it back up. It was kind of one of those things where he was sticking to his line. I knew he was going to turn back up the inside but that was kind of my line through the whoops. I wasn’t going to try to get in there and rough him up or anything like that and I think he was comfortable that I wasn’t going to do that either. So did that and then I was doing a little different section here by the start where I was kind of going 1, 3, 3 and he wasn’t. It was allowing me to carry momentum around the first turn there and into the second turn. We were just kind of playing cat and mouse. The first time I tried to turn up the inside he tried to brake check. The second time he jumped on the brakes more and I turned faster. It was good to get a little bit of a comfort zone out front and it fired old James up I think when I was out front and then he started riding back to the front. I was just monitoring the race, just trying to ride smooth laps, trying to keep to my lines, watching where those guys were and one by one they seemed like they made mistakes. It was kind of left to me and “Dunge,” the consistent two, to just grind it out for 20 laps.
Did you go down in the heat race?
Yeah, I went down right here by the start. Way too many front-end washes this year for me. That was kind of where the gamble came from to go back to a tire that we were racing with last year.
Do you feel you were a little timid due to the conditions and the fact you lost the front in the heat race?
No, I felt great. I felt like I could push really, really hard. I had the feeling that I needed. As slick as it looked like for most people around me, I didn’t necessarily have that same feeling. I had a pretty good comfort zone and grip was telling me everything that I wanted to know so I could just keep pushing and pushing. Traditionally I’m a guy that likes front-end feel and whenever I get that, good things happen. We’ve been chasing that for the first two weeks and finally we got it in the main event.
We’re three races in and I’ve won a race. I think it took maybe five or six rounds last year. Honestly, you want to be there week in and week out and the ultimate goal is the title, but I just want to win races. The two times that I’ve been champ I’ve won, I think, 10 races the one year and 8 the other. So winning one race or two races never gets it done. It always makes me fall anywhere from 2 to 4-5 points short. So winning races is the goal.
You looked pretty aggressive and you seemed really comfortable with that pace.
Yeah I felt like I just rode kind of like how the first two guys who won races rode. You’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve go to be smooth, you’ve got to click off 20 laps and clearly not crash. I felt like I was able to achieve that from watching Villopoto at the first one on TV and watching Dunge on TV in Phoenix. I just felt like I kind of had that spark that they had—just aggressive but smooth and consistent for 20 laps.
What is it like having to go flat right next to guys going off a jump? You were going back and forth a couple of times and you had to flip your bike almost sideways to keep your trajectory straight without colliding in mid air.
Yeah, that was pretty cool. I’m actually excited to watch that on TV. Races are always good to watch the next day when you win. For the most part, I had to regroup on the start. I saw that crash. Being the old dog (almost 30) it’s not a nice feeling to see those guys get hurt like that. It makes the wheels turn a little bit, so I just kind of sat there and tried to regroup and think positive and just focus on that start. It’s unbelievably scary out there. The last two weeks I’ve been in the back and they’re just nuts. They all try to t-bone each other. They all cross jump each other. It’s not a fun experience at all, so starts are so important and you are going to hear that all year long because it’s a gnarly field. I wish they would think a little more.
I was really worried. I mean the first start did not work out and the second one I just tried to get up over that gate real aggressively and then just push super hard into the first turn. Once I got into the first turn I just tried to stay away from everyone and then try to get back to the inside on turn two so that I would leave myself an opportunity to get to the front. I was able to make passes quickly, which is something that I wasn’t able to do last week. You have to be mean out here. That’s what sucks. You always want to be the nice guy and try not be too rough but week in and week out you are going to have to be rough like Villopoto last week. Watching it on TV I saw that was the one thing that got him to a podium position. He didn’t ride dirty, he just rode rough. He just made his way to the front where he wanted to go.
Was there a split second there between you and James where you thought, “Oh no, here we go again?”
It didn’t cross my mind. Villopoto was out front and I wanted to get to him. I tried to just make a pass on James, make it clean.
Weimer was out front at that time.
Well, there you go. The whole time I thought it was Villopoto. I didn’t even know that. I thought it was Villopoto out front and I was just trying to get to him. I guess it was Weimer.
Villopoto was behind you the whole time.
Yeah? Perfect, then I guess that sucks for him. Sorry to Jake I guess because I didn’t even realize who it was. They wear the same gear, ride the same bike and everything like that so I guess that kind shows you how focused I was to get to the front. I just saw a green bike and just assumed it was Ryan.
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