Chad Reed Interview Post San Diego Supercross

We dropped in on Supercross star Chad Reed after Saturday night’s podium to talk about his finish and his preparation for the weekend.

Chad Reed on Supercross podium
Chad Reed happy to be back on the podium at San Diego, Round 2 of the 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series.Photo by Shan Moore

Chad Reed grabbed the 128th podium finish of his career and his first since rejoining the Factory Yamaha effort for the 2016 season with a well-deserved runner-up finish this weekend in San Diego. The Monster Energy/360fly/Chaparral/Yamaha rider moved into the runner-up slot on lap three of the main event and pushed eventual winner Ryan Dungey for the remainder of the race before crossing the finish line in second.

The finish was Reed’s best since winning the Atlanta round last year. Dirt Rider spoke with the Aussie Supercross star after Saturday night’s podium about his finish and his preparation for the weekend.

Q: You have to feel good about that race.

A: When you make a career out of being on the podium more times than not, it's been a long time since I've been on the podium and we're used to being here. I'm just happy because we put in a lot of work. We believe that we can be here and that's why we work hard and that's why we show up. To achieve what you believe and kind of go against the odds, it's rewarding. When you haven't been here a lot lately I guess you're more grateful. Early in my career I remember being mad as hell at second and getting beat by a couple seconds. I'm just thankful. I learned a lot tonight. We'll put that in the memory bank and try to be better next week.

Q: What was it that you learned?

A: Turns. I struggled all day long. I would say Ryan was clearly fast today, fastest in qualifying, won the heat, won the main event. So I got a look at him for six laps in the heat. So 26 laps I got to follow him and I'm giving up just a little bit in the turns.

Q: What was the problem?

A: He's just strong. Whether it's setup, whether it's his style… I think it's a combination of them all. But we never lost our way. We chipped away and we worked on the little things. A little change here, a little change there. We never really tried to reinvent the wheel today and I think it kept me comfortable. And though I was 13th fastest, the feeling was there. So when I got a good start in the heat and then was able to lay that down, learn a little bit and make a little change for the main event - be a little better there, that's, as a team, real rewarding to know that you're not far off but you still can be better. So I guess to see him for 26 laps as close as I did is priceless at this point. We'll take that to the test track this week and just work on it.

Q: What about the early laps? There was chaos.

A: Yeah, it's going to be like that all year. We have so many fast guys. Starts are going to be so key. It's why we worked on them so hard this week. I was really good. I was second and then I got ate up. I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time in a couple turns. I think I got shuffled back to about fourth or fifth. Then I just had to be patient. A couple of the guys that came through - no disrespect to them - but they weren't guys that I was seriously concerned about. So you kind of had to take a deep breath and you're almost frustrated more than anything. And then I just tried to get back in a position; to make clean passes and latch onto Dungey.

Q: Was there a part of the track where you felt like you had the advantage on Ryan and maybe a part where he had the advantage?

A: I mean, the whoops, that's always my strength. Being back on the Yamaha brings back a lot of good memories of how good I was in the whoops in the early days of my career. I think if we can have some track with two sets of really good, challenging whoops, and then I do my part and work on the turns, I think we got a damn good shot at these things. Whoops were my strength. A couple turns I felt a little better than him. But then where I was giving it up it was too big of a gap. I had to put myself at the max and on the limit. I knew third was a ways behind but as a racer you want to get after it and challenge for the wins. But I tried to push the limit but not get greedy and give away a podium.

Q: You said you don't regret being a team owner, but now being just a rider focusing just on racing do you think that that has helped you get back to the podium this season?

A: I believe life is about timing. If I rewind the clock five years and I go back to Yamaha, I don't think the feeling is like this. I don't think the bike was as good as it is now. There's just many things. I still don't regret it. I learned a lot. I put myself in a position where I was just able to kind of have fun and be myself and lose a little bit of money… A lot of money. But for all the good things I think it was just something that I would never give up. Being back here I think it's perfect timing. Their reintroduction into racing, their bike, the staff… I just think me and where I'm at in my career it's just good timing and you got to take advantage of that.

Q: Was tonight a first sort of step in validation? It seems to be like it pops up now and again.

A: Validation for myself. I hear everybody but at some point you almost doubt yourself a little bit. You're kind of thinking, man, am I crazy? And the wife says yes, and my agent says yes. But the feeling's there and you can't walk away from that feeling. I see Kevin, I see Ricky, all these guys that have stepped away and I'm just not ready. I'm not ready to be a TV announcer. I'm not ready to be a team manager. I want to be a racer.

Q: I've heard people say when you get on the line and you don't have the nerves and everything else, it's time to kind of give it up.

A: Yeah. I've seen a lot of friends retire, and you see it. I feel like at a point it's going to be clear that it's time to walk away, and right now it's not clear. It's not there. I contemplated it many, many times in this off-season. The Yamaha thing taking so long to come together, I started thinking is this a sign? Is it just meant to be? And when it all came together I knew it was the right time. The feeling at the house and the feeling training, it was all good feelings. So I just put my head down and worked hard and I think I'm in good shape. Got a good bike. As you see I think I'm a podium guy.