By Kris Keefer | Photos By Shan Moore
Earlier this month Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Taylor Robert won the Munich, Germany round of X-Games EnduroX event, scoring his first gold medal in the event on a long, outdoor course that was soft and rutted from rain the previous day. Dirt Rider Associate Editor Kris Keefer got a quick interview with Robert to hear how that day went, and what he has planned for the rest of the year.
Kris Keefer: Now that you’re home from Munich, Germany and some time has passed for it to sink in, how’s it feel to win a Gold Medal at X-Games?
Taylor Robert: It feels amazing! It didn’t really sink in until two laps to go. Going into it there was a little chaos because our event got postponed a day due to heavy rain. All of the riders were dressed waiting to go out to practice and at the last second they called the race off until the following day. It was a good thing they did as it rained all day. The next day when they uncovered the track it was actually great, it was soft but it made for great ruts.
KK: When they finally decided to race how did the day go for you?
TR: In my heat race I was battling with Taddy Blazusiak and Mike Brown. I made a mistake in a rock section and those guys got a little gap on me but I was able to keep pushing and manage a fourth place to go directly into the main. Once the main came I got a pretty good start coming around the first turn in fourth and then past two guys in the first section of the track. I ended passing Brownie in the gnarly, slippery rock section and led all of the 10 laps! I did have a huge mishap going up the same rock section [where] I passed Brownie with two laps to go. I tipped over but held on to the clutch for dear life so it wouldn’t stall but other than that it worked out pretty well.
KK: Has your phone been ringing more than usual now that you won a Gold Medal at X-Games?
TR: It’s funny you say that because I had my phone turned off while I was over there. Once I got home and the plane landed I turned my phone back on and my phone was going off for 15 minutes. I think I had over 60 text messages from family and friends. It was a cool feeling.
KK: What’s your plan for the rest of the year? What other events will you be doing?
TR: After Los Angeles X-Games I really want to do the Tennessee Knockout, Big Sky Enduro and of course we’ve got the ISDE coming up, which I heard will be sandy and rocky, which I really like.
KK: What do you think about the moto guys Zach Osborne and Ryan Sipes racing the ISDE in 2013?
TR: I think its great! I am a good friend of Ryan Sipes so I told Antti Kallonen (KTM’s Off-Road Team Manager) about him and he agreed to get him on the club team but he’s also a back-up rider for the trophy team. Zach will be riding a 250F over there and he’s raced a couple GNCCs this year and did really well. It will be good to have these guys in the special tests because they are good sprinters. Us off-road guys are used to going fast but for two-three hours at a time. That’s what ISDE is; it’s about getting to those special tests and sprinting anywhere from three to fifteen minutes. I think if we can groom some motocross guys to become off-road racers we will have a good shot at winning the ISDE real soon, if not this year.
KK: There seems to be a stigma out there the past few years about off-road riders not being able to ride motocross that well, what do you think about that?
TR: I personally come from a motocross background growing up but we’re not just guys out there with hand guards and big tanks. Yes, we do have that but we can go pretty darn fast with those on our bikes, too! Look at Mike Brown; he’s 41 years old and can still get a top 20 at an AMA national. I haven’t gotten a chance to do an AMA motocross national yet but I think I could do pretty well at one. I think we’re getting more respect over the years and us “off-road” guys are not so one-dimensional.
KK: You mentioned AMA motocross nationals. Is that something you want to try in the future?
TR: I think I would like to try a couple just to expand my horizons. I want to try everything, I look at myself as a pretty versatile rider and I love doing it all. If Kawasaki had a bike all set up for me to go race I would for sure love to try it.
KK: We see that you’ve been racing down in Baja this year, too. Will we see you at the Baja 1000 this year?
TR: We will see. I would like to but I think the Roof of Africa race is that weekend as well and I got invited to go do that this year since Monster is sponsoring that event, so they want a guy to go. On top of that there is an EnduroCross the week before and the week after Baja and I’m in the hunt for the championship, so we will have to see how it all plays out. EnduroCross is my number one priority.