The last two years have seen big changes for the sometimes fiery and controversial rider, with the formation of his own team, TwoTwo Motorsports, and the recent birth of his second child. During this period, Reed seems to have tempered his rage a bit and become more approachable.
Like a few others this year, Reed is making his return to the series after a season-ending knee injury at last year’s Dallas round cut his 2012 season short. According to the multiple AMA/World Supercross Champion, all that time off gave him a chance to reflect on his career and energize his batteries for a renewed assault on this year’s schedule.
Q: You’ve been doing this a long time; do you still get excited about it?
A: I still get excited, that’s why I’m here. The day I stop getting excited in this the day you won’t see me on the track.
Q: You had six months off for your injury; was that a difficult period for you?
A: It was difficult in that I missed racing; I wanted to be racing. But as far as a difficult time in my life, no, it actually was a great time in my life. I welcomed my second baby, I got to spend a hell of a lot of time with my two-year-old that normally I wouldn’t have gotten to spend a lot of time with. We worked really hard on the race team, we got some new sponsors, and because of that we’re a lot better than we were at this time a year ago, and a lot stronger. Our foundation is getting better, I think.
Q: Has your attitude about racing changed now that you’ve been a team owner for a year?
A: I think my attitude towards racing is changed more from age rather than being a team owner. Being a team owner doesn’t really change anything for me as far as being a racer, it just means that as the team owner I can choose who’s around me. And that’s a positive not a negative. I get to work with whoever I want, and not some snotty guy on my team that drives me crazy or someone that would rather not have to work with.
Q: How difficult is it being both a racer and a team owner?
A: It has its pluses and it’s minuses. There are days that are difficult; you see an industry from a different view and sometimes I don’t like that view, as a guy who loves the sport and has so much passion for it. Like seeing the direction the sport is going, and how it has worked. But other than that it’s all good. For me the positives outweigh the negatives.
Q: Last year you said that you were working on a deal that if you got it you might be bringing on another rider and rumors were that you were talking to Villopoto or Dean Wilson. What can you tell us about that?
A: Yeah, we talked to Ryan for quite a bit, and unfortunately we just weren’t in the right place at that time to capitalize on that deal. Along with that, we also talk to Wilson; we actually talk to Wilson twice – pre-JWR and post-JWR. It was a little disappointing, and I was bummed that we missed out on Dean twice. He’s a great young talent and has a good future and I think for our brand and for our sponsors it would have been smart. But there were some roadblocks we couldn’t get past.
Q: Your first race back was at the Monster Energy Cup; what did you think of the split start?
A: The split start was one of those things where you either love it or hate it. For me, that particular one was kind of scary and a little bit on the dangerous side. About a week ago I was sitting up with my son, he couldn’t sleep, and I watch that race on TV and I saw that in the amateur race a guy came from like totally the left side to the right side and it could’ve really injured himself and some other guys. I would say I’m probably more against the split start than I am for it.
Q: We’ve had so many injuries to the top guys lately, do you think that it’s just racing or do we need changes to the sport?
A: We’re evolving as athletes, and we’re pushing the limits. We’re going faster and the bikes are getting better. Everything is evolving except for the racetracks. I say it year after year; I don’t think the racetracks are being built for how fast and how good we are as athletes and how good the four strokes are. Everybody hates the four-strokes and thinks they ruined everything, but you know what, they’re not going anywhere, so the fix would be to accommodate the four stroke. And I don’t think in my personal opinion that we’re doing that. There are ways to do it and one way is we need to slow the track down. I commend them, and I know they are trying, but they haven’t necessarily come across anything that works or is the fix at this point.
Q: At some point you obviously have to think about retirement, and when you do retire will you continue to run the race team or be the team manager?
A: I’ll never be the team manager (laughs), but I’ll always be a team owner, obviously. I love it, and the goal was always to be for the team to be successful. Build a foundation while I’m racing, and then when my days are up try to step in solely as a team owner; a role where I could bring something to the riders, up-and-coming riders. For sure, I have huge goals and aspirations of making the team bigger than what it currently is.