Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott recently finished second overall in the AMA National Hare and Hound series after riding through a season of ups and downs. Abbott talks about the race, his passion for desert racing, and his next big challenge-the Baja 1000.2008 Champ
Q: You came back from the ISDE in Portugal and less than a week later you had the final Hare and Hound. Did that affect you at all since it was a long, physically demanding trip?
Destry Abbott: I’d like to say no, but it was definitely a huge part of the race. I came back mentally beat from the whole month of racing before ISDE and then the ISDE. The ISDE is pretty tough and I had a few get offs. I messed up my finger and didn’t feel as confident as I should have going into that final round. I felt good, but I just wasn’t able to pull off the win in Lucerne.Q: Tell me about that race at Lucerne.
Destry: It was actually a really good race. They had four loops, which was pretty good. The third and fourth loops were pretty tough and I usually like that challenge. I didn’t feel physically tired, but I wasn’t able to be there mentally the whole race to keep up with the race pace. I felt like I was running more of a trail riding pace, if anything. It seemed like when I tried to go faster I ended up scaring myself and I knew I had to have some luck on my side in order to win the championship. I didn’t want to over do it and get hurt so I stuck it out with the pace I had going.Destry On The Move
Q: What has been the most fun you have had this season?
Destry: Winning always makes things fun and this year I always seemed to have bad luck with flat tires or losing the course arrows when I was leading. Just dumb little things that held me back. I actually felt really good this year, really strong. It was fun going to the races and knowing I could win. I know that my luck will turn around and I’ll be back to try for my sixth championship.Q: You seem to be very passionate for desert racing, what is it about it that attract you to it?
Destry: It’s what I grew up doing. It’s what my dad did. I used to go to the races with my dad when I was young and when I was 11, I started with riding my first desert races. When I was about 17 or 18, I started riding a little motocross, but my passion was always desert racing. The motocross helped me when I’ve tried some four-stroke nationals and motocross nationals, but the desert was what I loved doing and still love doing. It takes a different kind of person to do desert racing because I think it’s more methodical and you have to be patient to know when to push and when not to. It’s different than going to a track and throwing down laps. I really enjoy that.Destry and Kawasaki
Q: You have been with Kawasaki for 13 years now. That is quite the relationship. What keeps you wanting to be a part of the team?
Destry: It’s a family here. It was definitely the best decision I’ve ever made. A lot of people don’t remember, but I rode for KTM for 10 years before I came over. When I made the switch, it was a pay cut, but it was the team I wanted to race for. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in racing. As long as I’m able to and healthy, I want to race with this family. I feel like I have a couple good years left in me and then maybe venture off into something else. We aren’t there yet so I’m just concentrating on racing.Baja
Q: You are about to tackle the Baja 1000 in less than a month.
Destry: The Baja 1000 is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’m really excited that I get the opportunity to do this. A Baja win would be a cool thing to have accomplished in my career. I know it’s going to be tough, but we have a good team and I think we all really want to win.Q: Have you been doing anything different to train?
Destry: Not yet. I took some time off after the last national to try and let my finger heal up. Now we are gearing up and I’ll be leaving to go down there next week to do some pre-running. I’ll be riding all next week so I’ll have plenty of seat time down there for that. I grew up in the desert so I’m pretty comfortable going fast across the desert. It’s just a matter of learning how to be safe down there with all the booby traps and stuff we will come across. The team is experienced and I will be feeding off the knowledge they have from racing Baja.