Today Travis Pastrana introduced his new AGV AX-8 helmet (www.agv.com) to the press. Right after I grabbed a few minutes to interview him about… Well, what do you interview him about? He does everything, and he’s great at getting press so he’s talked about everything… He even said to me, “Honestly, I go on the internet to see what I’m going to be doing that week. The press knows more about my life than I do.”So I asked him to tell me some things he’s never spoken in press about before. Turns out Travis still has a few fun, new stories to tell.I put it into Q&A format so those of you who are extremely immature can giggle at our initials -Pete Peterson: How about Supercross opening ceremonies? Any stories about that you haven’t talked about in interviews before?
Travis Pastrana: At my first pro race, I guess only inside guys would know this, but I was real nervous. I was 16, had a lot of hype, I was the only guy on a 125 on a factory team. I had broken my thumb the week before so I had a cast on. I went to do a Superman seat grab, just warming up on the parade lap. And just before taking off I saw Jeff Stanton just sitting there, one of my idols, and he was just looking at me like, ‘What are you doing?’ I’d already done a heel clicker that lap, the crowd’s on its feet… And I hesitated. I grabbed it with my cast, and I missed the grab and bellyflopped the landing. I crashed, launched the bike and took out a camera guy. The bars were bent, the lever was actually broken off at the end, and I pull around to the start lane and we didn’t have time to change anything. My mechanic’s like, ‘What the helllllll!’ I said, ‘Uh, it’s perfect! Nothing’s bent!’ He’s like like, ‘It’s broken and the handlebars are bent!’ I said, ‘no problem,’ and I got the best start I got that whole night. I couldn’t get off the gate (before), but I got a great start… Then I crashed again.PP: Anything about Roger DeCoster?TP: Roger’s like my dad, it was cool training a little bit with him. I shouldn’t say old, but as old as he was we’d go run all the time and go mountain bike all the time. He was still a really fit guy. Like Jeff Stanton, I expect to be fit, but Roger – I never saw him ride a motorcycle, it was just a little a bit before my time, but he’s still a super fit man.PP: Anything about Nitro Circus that hasn’t been covered in the press before?TP: Nitro Circus is press.PP: Any supercross or motocross payback still due? Like, anyone you’re waiting to come out to the rally racing or NASCAR ranks?TP: No. I raced people how they raced me. I liked the guys that were aggressive, like Mike Brown, like Tallon Vohland. I hit Tallon so hard I broke his foot. He hit me back so hard he broke my (front) brake disc, so the whole rotor actually broke off the bike. I had to take my goggles off, came back, no front brake, slammed him in the last corner, and we came across laughing and saying that was the best race ever. I liked guys that could take racing and separate that from off the track. It’s cool because Brian Degan and Ricky Carmichael are both really starting their NASCAR deal, so to race those guys again will be exciting.PP: Any stunts you may have backed out of, some things you realized were getting way out of control?
TP: Never got anything to that point, but there’s a lot of stuff with Nitro Circus that looks good on paper, ‘this is what we want to do, this is going to be awesome, this is going to be so much fun…’ And you get there and you’re sitting there… Once you’ve committed and once they’ve taken the time… For instance the monster truck (flip). I built this huge take off and the monster truck got there and the truck was so much bigger than I’d anticipated. It was an 18 foot tall take off, the top of the truck was fifteen foot high. I was like, proportionally, that’s not going to be big enough to flip this truck around. But everything was already there, we don’t have time to rebuild it, so it’s like, ‘alright, lets give ‘er hell, and we’ll make some adjustments and see what works.’ So I think anything that you’re not prepared for, or if a variable changes but you’re already committed to it… That sucks.PP: How about your No Limits New Years Eve rally car jump. Anything that was going on behind the scenes that maybe you weren’t showing you hand about?TP: The No Limits thing was probably the most well-planned. It’s down to a science. What’s really interesting is for my first test we went out to Lake Elsinore (dry lake). They were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll figure out everything mathematically, blah blah blah, no problem, we’re going to start at 150 feet.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, the word record’s 172, but great, let’s start at 150, someone’s gone further, fine.’ And I got there and I’m like, ‘What’s the math?’ They said, ‘Oh, our math guy’s not going to be here until the second test.’ I say, ‘You guys are going to start me out at 150 feet and there’s no math done?’ They’re like, ‘We figure someone’s jumped 170 so you’ll be fine.’ So we jumped it on a motorcycle first, and it was pretty good.PP: How about any bad misquotes in the press?TP: There are so many quotes that are taken out of context. You want to believe it, but you have to take it all with a grain of salt, because I just know how inaccurate my comments are. And most of it is just to make you sound arrogant. Like [my joke] at the Race of Champions, they introduced the American team, then they introduced Sebastian Vettle and Michael Schumacher, and those guys came up. We’re in Germany, Schumacher’s a legend, he’s probably the greatest driver that ever lived and Vettle just won the [F1] championship, and [the press] asked me, ‘So, how do you feel about these guys?’ And I said, ‘Oh, is that that Formula Un? I think I’ve heard something about that.’ And all the press was like, ‘Wow, freakin’ Americans are so stupid.’ I tried, but I couldn’t come back from that. [His quotes were printed out of context, completely missing the sarcasm]PP: Got any stories on sponsors, sponsor obligations, anything about that?TP: The owner of Red Bull, Dietrich, for his F1 team they spend, I think it was over 28 million Euros, and some of the money goes for their hospitality center. They go to every modeling agency that does the F1 races and they get 100 of the top models, and they bring ‘em out to a go cart race. And the top 20 finishers of the go cart race come to model and wear the Red Bull stuff. It’s just a company that works outside the bounds of convention.Want to hear more from Travis? Check out www.travispastrana.com.