Travis Preston: Actually, we’re changing my bike around a lot. I kind of came into the beginning of the year and never really knew what kind of motor I wanted, but now somehow I just figured it out. I just woke up one day and decided I wanted a little different motor than what I had at the beginning of the year. It seems to be suiting my style a little bit better. Also, I’m just not caring anymore. I let all this pressure being on Team Honda, and I don’t have a contract next year, and whatever, I let it get to me. Now, I don’t care. I just go out and ride. If I crash, I’m not going to get down on myself. And if I’m 15th fastest, I’m not going to cry. I’m having fun at the race, not stressing out, and not worrying about anything.DR: In your career, you seem to do better when you have fun.
TP: Oh, we had a good time back in those 125 days! Good times. I just went so low and got so depressed, I think I was just at the bottom, and you can’t get lower, so then I realized, ‘Wow, I need to do something different.’ I just want to have fun. Even if I ride bad, I still want to have fun. I’m just trying to keep my bike on the track. You seen what happened at Indy, so I’m just trying to keep it on the track, not showboat or do anything, in between the Tuff Blox.DR: You had a tough start to the series…
TP: It’s just one race. I just did good at one race. So don’t act like everything’s changing. I don’t know, after two races… Talk to me next week. For some reason, I hate Daytona, but I always do good there—I don’t know why.DR: This is a sandy track. You have a lot of sand by your house in the high desert of SoCal. Does it help?
TP: This sand is different, though. This is slippery. It’s really weird. You have to go out and ride a motorcycle to see the difference.DR: They won’t let me. I don’t have a bike, or an AMA Pro license.
TP: Trust me, there’s guys out there that I’m sure you could ride better. I’m sure you can ride with some of the guys out there. (laughs)DR: Where are you in points right now?
TP: I don’t know. That’s another thing, I’m not looking at points. I didn’t know I was in third last weekend. I’m just riding. We don’t put anything on the board. I think last week I probably should’ve known I was in third, because then maybe I would’ve tried to do something.DR: Byrne said…
TP: Oh, I hate Byrner, too. Write that down.DR: Okay, but Byrner said he wore you down last week after Daytona.
TP: He’s getting cocky, that Byrner. Tell Byrner his head is way too big, and he needs to get a different size helmet. Byrner went from like a Medium to like a XXL.DR: Taking the “I don’t care” approach, does that affect your starts, too?
TP: No, my starts are different. That’s the one thing where I really try. You have to work hard at starts. I go into the start really wanting a good start because the start is huge in this class.DR: Did you change anything at home in how you’re approaching training or anything like that?
TP: No, it just depends if my wife’s in a good mood. If she’s not on my case, then I’m happy and my week goes smooth. It brings you down. Things at home are good—I’m building a house, and I’m almost done. I’ve been living at the in-laws’ for almost a year, so that’s been interesting. And her parents are pretty crazy, too. Oops, Stanton’s here. I gotta go.We talked to Larry Brooks about the absence of Josh Hansen from Orlando. He said that Hansen’s out with a back problem that started a couple weeks before the series did. Brooks said he had been pushing him to race, but it’s just getting worse, so he decided to stop pushing him into the hole and allow him to heal up. He will be back, indoors or outdoors, once he’s healthy again.Before the Supercross main went off, something inside the dog house broke, forcing Dirt Wurx to bring out a welder and fix it on the spot while the riders sat in the cold breeze that was swirling through the stadium. It took a few minutes but they got it fixed. Billy Laninovich was doing an aerobics routine behind the gate to stay warm, but most riders just sat with their jackets on and waited.After the gate dropped, James Stewart laid wood to the field. It was reminiscent of the 1990 Anaheim Supercross, where Damon Bradshaw got the holeshot and just left. Stewart got the holeshot, hit a difficult triple-triple right after the start, and was just plain gone. “You saw what’s been happening to me in the first corners lately, so I was just pumped to be out front,” James said. “I kind of laughed when I was in there, because I went in there by myself and I was like, ‘I’m just going to jump this thing right off the bat and try to get a good lead.’”After three laps, Stewart reportedly sported a 7-second lead over Ricky Carmichael. “I don’t know. I felt good,” Stewart said. “I thought the track was pretty good tonight. It was different. So it was something I really wasn’t used to, but I made the best of it. I got two good starts, which helped me out a lot, and I just sprinted for a few laps, got a comfortable gap, and then rode around after that.”He said he helped the venue achieve a mark of 43,081 fans by giving away quite a few tickets. “I probably live about a half an hour away with no traffic, or an hour and a half the other day coming here,” Stewart said. “We got a lot of tickets. I want to thank Live Nation for that. Thank you, guys. We did get a lot of family and friends tickets, and we left a lot of people out, too, so… When you live this close, everybody seems to come out of the woodwork to try to get tickets. I’m like the Ticket Master over here… I’m only a half an hour down the road, so this definitely feels like the home track. If not, maybe I’ve got to have one in Haines City the next time. I think half the crowd was probably all of the people that I gave tickets to, so they’re basically thanking me up there (in the stands). It was good. It definitely feels good to get a win.”He said when he was in the lappers, he slowed up a bit. “When I got up to Ryan Clark,” he said of when he slowed down. “I mean, he kind of cut me off going through the whoops, and I almost fell right before the mechanics’ area on the step-up, and right then I knew I had a comfortable lead and I just had to ride it out.”About his record of winning every Supercross main he has raced where he didn’t fall, he said, “It’s good to know that you can win races. It’s tough to know you’re never going to win one. I go home and I kind of get a little bummed, but I walk off the track every weekend, win or lose, knowing that I put everything into it. I know I bust my butt during the week, and it’s not like I’m eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers and coming out and getting beat. I bust my behind during the week and I do the same during the weekend, so I can walk off with my head up high.”The title is a bit out of reach at the moment, but Stewart just wants to do what he can do. “Anything can happen. All I can do is try to win races,” Stewart said. “I definitely don’t wish any bad luck on Ricky or anything. I mean, you go back to St. Louis, with that big ol’ swing we had there. Both of us did bad that race. Anything can happen. I think I’m only like 6 back for the World rounds, so I’ll just try to do my best.”Carmichael isn’t concerned with protecting his points lead. He just got beat, according to him. “I don’t even know what my points lead is. Really, I gave it my all tonight, and I didn’t have nothing for James,” Carmichael said. “I was trying, and boy he was clicking ‘em off there. At the end, I just kind of settled into a pace. It was just frustrating. I was riding as hard as I could, and it was pretty uneventful for me tonight. It’s too bad that I couldn’t get up there and give a better race for the crowd, but that’s the way it goes. Shoot, I tried, but for sure, I’m not backing down. I need to pounce on every opportunity I get to make some points up on the number-22, and tonight wasn’t good for that. But it is what it is, and I have to go home and try to work a little bit harder and keep it going.”When asked where Stewart was making up time, RC responded: “The whole track. The time was being made up on the whole track. It seemed like he could go wherever he wanted, and he felt really comfortable, and unfortunately that wasn’t the case for me. I tried to make things happen, and it seemed a little worse. Life goes on, and I look forward to going to a new venue next week and trying to get back up and have some more good battles like we’ve been having.”RC doesn’t make excuses when he loses, because: “There is no excuse. I got my ass kicked. That’s why when I’m sitting here and you guys are asking me what happened, I got beat. The only thing I know what to do is go back, and I know where I struggled at, and I need to improve. I’m not going to lay down like I have in the past. My points lead is small, and James is mathematically still in it. I just want to race James, and I think if I do that and we work together, the rest will fall into place. But I at least want to get up there and challenge, like I was. I don’t know what the problem was. Did I have an off night? Maybe. At the same time, maybe I just wasn’t on his pace… I was going for it the whole time, but I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t react. He was just whipping my butt. That’s the bottom line. It’s hard to sit here and talk about it when I did all I could do (laughs).”Carmichael said the track got tough near the end. “It broke down a lot. It got really, really rough, really technical, and it was a tough course,” RC said. “At the end there, the last five or six laps, I was struggling just to stay up, and at the same time, trying to put in hard laps. I was kind of out there in no-man’s land.”He said that the recent injury of Ernesto Fonseca is a consideration when he decides what he’s doing next year. “I mean, definitely, for me and where I’m at, yeah, I definitely think about it,” RC said. “I want to enjoy what I’ve made and be able to live a healthy life. It definitely makes you think a little bit. You have to be smart and not take any unnecessary risks. I don’t think he was, it was just an unfortunate deal, but it just shows you how fast things can turn. I think everyone’s goal here is to make the tracks safer and make for better racing, and we’re making a lot of progress. I think it’s more comforting for us up here when things are a bit safer because our goal was to have a good time, have some good racing, make some good money—a good living—and be able to enjoy what you’ve sacrificed for. It makes you think, for sure.”Nick Wey came through the field for his second podium of the year. He’s now the top Honda in the series. “Well, mostly, it just feels really good that last year when everyone was getting signed up, nobody wanted to know me,” Wey said. “We’re getting some bikes and parts from Honda, and I’m really thankful for that because last year, frankly, MDK was buying my bikes and parts. No one wanted to give me bikes and parts. So I’m stoked to be getting free bikes at this point, and it feels really good to have people talk about being on a factory team, but really I just want to race for the podium. I don’t really care what team I’m on, if it’s a Hodaka or whatever, I just want to put the mat to it and get to the front.”No, he has never seen a Hodaka in real life. “I got some pictures of me standing beside a Maico, so I’m sure I’ve seen something,” he said when asked if he had seen a Hodaka. “I don’t know. Probably not. I’d much rather stick to the Honda, though.”He said he was surprised by the sand. “I was caught a little bit off guard with the track,” Wey said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I mean, watching on TV I remember watching like, shoot, when I was 8 years old or something, the ’89 Miami Supercross or something and seeing my guy Stanton whip it on the finish and end up in the barriers, so I joked around with him about it when I walked out here. But it was really fun. The berms were really soft, and I had a good time out there.”He says that he thinks the more technical tracks favor him. “Shoot, when we did the hot lap, I was like, ‘Man, there’s some gnarly ruts out here!’” Wey said. “It was a tough track, for sure, but the whoops stayed alright, and that was a pretty determining factor as far as me being able to catch up because lately the whoops haven’t been so big or technical, so I’ve been having a hard time catching up and I’ve been really frustrated because I’ve been getting like 4ths and 5ths and I feel like I can get up there on the podium, but I haven’t been able to get the starts I need. Luckily, today the track was a little tougher and my MDK/Motosport.com/MSR Honda worked great out there, so I’m stoked.”Wey just wants to beat the factory guys and get on the podium more often. “Yeah, you know, I’ve been riding with Byrner and Ivan a lot lately, and those guys don’t want me to beat them as much as I want to beat them, and it seems like a lot of times I have a little bit more speed than them, and we just get into a huge battle, and that’s what happened with Byrne and I,” Nyk said. “He made a couple mistakes, and I made them right behind him and that let Ivan get away, but I was able to get around Byrner and I was surprised with how quick I was able to catch Ivan, actually. I think the whoops were getting really chewed up, and I was able to make up some time there and I was able to make the pass, so I was stoked.”Wey was making time in the whoops. “I felt pretty good on the whole track, but I felt like I needed to really put a big effort in through the whoops,” he said. “I knew I could make up the most time there, and I looked up at the Amp’d Mobile board coming through there, and I saw that there was like three or four laps left, and I knew I needed to pick it up in the whoops, and I was able to. I just told myself that, you know, I didn’t really want to get fourth, so I was going to crash or gas it through the whoops. Luckily I was able to get up to Ivan and get him.”Josh Grant is on fire right now. After DNFing his first SX of the year, he has been on the podium every race in the last four races, and won two of them. He feels he would’ve won Indy, too. “Indy, for sure, I knew I had that race,” he said. “It just fired me up for the rest of the rounds. I came into tonight really strong and I had a lot of confidence, and my laptimes showed.”When asked of his strengths and weaknesses, he said his strengths were corners. “Mine are the corners, for sure. I work on those a lot. Ryno and I have been working really hard on stuff like that. I’ve just got to get the whoops down, and we’ll be good from there.”Millsaps cut in at that point: “For once, come on, Josh passed me in the whoops tonight.”To which Grant responded: “That was sick.” “I think he whiskey-throttled through ‘em, but…” Millsaps said.”I couldn’t stop!” Grant responded. “Well, he’s the best through the whoops, so I just kind of closed my eyes and hoped for the best. So, after I passed him, I was good from there.”He knows he would’ve been in the title chase if not for the St. Louis fall. “Yeah, it’s frustrating,” Grant said. “I look at the points every weekend, and the St. Louis race messed me up. I would be up there if I didn’t have a bad race. But stuff happens, so I’m just going to play it by ear and do what I can do. That race would change a lot of things, and I’m kind of disappointed that it happened, but I’m really consistent—I’ve had top-three finishes every weekend from there—so I’m going to keep doing the same thing and hope for the best.”
He has some outside influences, training with Ryno, and he stayed with Windham between Daytona and Orlando. “Working with Ryno is really good. The guy’s gnarly. He trains the hardest of anyone I know,” Grant said. “His program is completely different from what I’ve done, and it’s helped me out a lot. Going to Kevin’s has helped me out tremendously. He taught me about whoops this week, and a lot of different things, and it’s paying off. Those guys, I look up to Kevin, so I’d just like to thank them.”
Millsaps was upbeat about his second, as he sits 25 points in front now. “You know, a championship is what everyone wants,” Millsaps said. “I’ve wanted it for the last two years, and last year, I thought I had it, and then at Daytona it kind of screwed me over. I’m just playing it by ear right now. I’ve got two races left, and I’m going in with the same attitude, just trying to focus on doing good. If I can finish up front, I’ll be happy. He [Grant] was riding good all day. In the first practice, I felt really good, then in second practice, I don’t know, everyone kept coming up to me like, ‘Man, the championship! The championship!’ It just got to my head. I don’t know, I just kind of fell apart from there. I mean, I came into this race hoping that I would be able to race from race to race, but realistically, if something happens, shoot, I’m done. So I’m just trying to take it easy.”Not that he could’ve necessarily beat Grant otherwise. “I tried to run his pace. It was hard,” Millsaps said. “He had that stupid triple before the finish line, and I was just a girl and wouldn’t do it. I tried doing it from the inside a couple times—tried wheel-tapping over it—but that didn’t really work very well. He had me there for sure. I don’t know, he had it.”Millsaps says his weaknesses are Grant’s strength. “Corners, for sure,” he said. “I think I have the fastest bike out there, but with the power-to-weight ratio, I don’t know I don’t know how to say it. I come into corners and try to go as fast as I can through them, it feels like they yank me out of them. I feel like I have to work 10 times harder to get what I want. I’m not making excuses, that’s just the way I feel.”Chris Gosselaar got paid again in Orlando, grabbing his fourth podium in five races. “I think I’m just a lot smarter now,” he said of his new lease on life with Pro Circuit. “Starts help, too. My bike is really fast, so I get out to good starts. I think I’m a lot smarter this year—I don’t take chances I don’t need to, so it helps not to be on the ground, that’s for sure.”Gosselaar had the early lead, but couldn’t hold on. “I was bummed out, I’ll tell you that right now,” Lil’ Goose said. “I was out front, and I was holding on for my life in the whoops. I really sucked there tonight, so Josh rode really good tonight all night—heat race and main event. I just got tight. No excuses. I fell apart right away. I was tight right away from the second lap on or something. My hand blew off a couple times in the whoops. My arms were so pumped. I was devastated for a minute. But I knew I had to finish on the box, so I just stuck it out, and Jesseman was behind me, and he wasn’t really gaining on me, but I knew I had to finish on the box, so that was the plan.”Regarding his pay, he said: “Dude, you guys ask me that every week. I only get paid if I get top three, or a heat-race win, so I’ve got to do one or the other. It’s always nice to be on the podium, though, so I try to do that every weekend. Mitch told me that was our goal at the beginning of the year, so I’m trying to do that.”He says he owes Pro Circuit big for the chance they gave him. “I mean, I couldn’t thank Mitch enough for giving me this opportunity,” Chris said. “It’s changed my life. I’m up here just trying my hardest, and I want to win one, so I thank him and everyone on the team. They really gave it 110% for me, so I just want to thank them.”