DR: The start of your season was a little rough – Now you are back in the game one hundred percent. Tell us about your season and how you got back to this position.
JG: Well, I didn’t really do any Supercross. I didn’t even really get to ride the first round. Even before that we didn’t get any practice back in North Carolina because we were dealing with weather issues and snow and really had not been able to ride there. The only time I got to ride Supercross was two weeks before Anaheim when we were out in California then I got hurt right before Anaheim. So I really missed the whole Supercross season and the last time I raced Supercross was here at X Games last year and I got hurt there too. But I’ve been riding myself into shape.
So in a sense your 2010 season started in May or when the Nationals started.
Yes, for me it started in Hangtown. I had the whole Supercross season to heal and just kind of hang out and try to get ready. I got to ride about 3 weeks before Hangtown and really this whole season has been about trying to get my speed back, trying to get in good finishes. We’ve won a moto this year. We’re right there. So I’m just out there having fun. I’m going to use this as a little experience and hang out.
Did getting hurt right before the SX season mess with your mental game for the year? You knew you had the speed to run up front possibly win a Supercross championship, then rug kind of got pulled out from under you?
Yeah, it feels like that. I was riding really well before Anaheim and was really stoked and thought that we were going to be able to do well. So it was a bummer deal that ended up happening and really, I’ve just go to deal with it. But that’s why I did the X Games-just to go out and have fun, show that I have speed still in Supercross and hang out.
There was a little bit of a scare when you experienced heat exhaustion during one of the back east nationals, What really went on there?
Millville didn’t really go so well. The first moto went good but just dealing with the weather and stuff I ended up getting heat exhaustion in the second moto. I’d never really had that so it was something new to me. I was having spasms and all kinds of crazy stuff in the Asterisk medical unit and that was a hard one to recover from. It has taken weeks to feel totally 100% just because my body’s been drained and then I had to race at Washougal the next weekend so I’ve just been going like a roller coaster.
How does a rider gauge just how far to push it without going too far. Take Chad Reed, he contracted a virus that is often contracted from pushing ones body too far week in and week out. Is this a balancing act that is often overlooked?
I’m not sure. I haven’t been in that situation before but I know it’s tough and I know that from what happened to me at Millville. It’s hard to come back from stuff like that. You’ve just got to do the best you can to really try to fight through it. As you can see he missed races trying to get healthy.
In the Nationals it looks like you’re often one of the fastest rider on the track yet stringing moto wins and overalls together like Dungey has evaded you. It seems like you are forced to work twice as hard early in the motos due to poor starts. Is that the only factor that has kept you from challenging up front more often?
Really the only thing we’ve been struggling with this year is starts. If I can get out of the gate and be in the top 10 I usually can catch up and be up there with those guys but we’ve struggled so bad that I can’t really get off the gate and it’s been hard to come back from last or having just stupid little crashes or something like that. I feel like there’s a black cloud over me somehow and it’s been hard to shake it off. But I’m still going to keep pushing and try to do everything I can to do well and try to start up front. If I do that I know I can hang with those guys and really do good.
You’re still right in the thicket of the Nationals, are you already thinking about 2011 and your program and everything that’s going on?
Right now that’s really the big focus. Dungey’s got a huge points lead so for a championship that’s kind of out of reach right now. He’s had a really good streak going and he’s riding really well. For me I just want to get some good finishes, try to get on the podium, stay safe and being healthy for next year is most for me. I want to come into the Supercross season strong and ready to go. Even the X Games was not a race that I planned to push myself or take any unneeded risks. It really doesn’t mean anything for what we do. Although the outcome was what I wanted
Why does a rider come and do X Games or do off-season events like the former US Open? Is it just the publicity, a team commitment or is it something else?
I think it’s a little bit of everything. Of course sponsors want you to do it. It’s a lot of coverage for them and stuff like that. Even the team as well. For me I wanted to do it just to come out and have fun and do it. I wasn’t forced to do X. It was a last minute decision that I decided two days before the event and I thought, “I think I’m going to go race and just do it”.
Does it kind of bum you out a little bit that more “A” level riders like yourself didn’t race the X Games to kind of test gage each others skills to get ready for 2011?
You can only go so fast on a Supercross track I think a lot of the guys don’t want to get hurt and that’s a good reason not to race. Yet at the same time these events are cool to come to. There are totally different from what we do. It’s totally different from motocross, supercross, any of it. It’s a lot of fun to hang out in this atmosphere and be here with these kinds of people.
For next year do you have job security with the JGR Team?