Team Yamaha Crew Members 2009 Interview

This is my final blog to come out of the Yamaha Media Day of Nov 14. I've already told you about the race team riders I spoke with, but I also managed to get a few questions in with motocross and Supermoto hero Doug Henry, who suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury in March of 2007, and I also asked some tough questions to Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty, who's been at this game a long time and offered some advice and perspective on a 2008 Yamaha rider who's no longer on the race roster.

DOUG HENRY

PP: How are you involved right now with the Supermoto team?

DH: I try to work with the riders and just kinda see how they're feeling for the day, for the weekend, give 'em advice, tell 'em how I'd deal with it. If they come into a situation at a race where they're uncomfortable I try to talk to 'em about it. That's if I'm at home. If I'm at the race I'm constantly talking to 'em on and off the track about how the bike's working, where they're having trouble and where it feels good. It's more support, just being there, trying to help 'em, you know, just to have another resource for them.

PP: Any involvement with the motocross and supercross team?

DH: No, I haven't worked with them at all. I'd like to, but the travel, for me, I'm not really keen on doing a lot of traveling and their season's so long… It's something I may consider if I don't find something to do here pretty soon.

PP: You've got so many fans out there who will hear you in an interview and want to do something to help you out, what's the one thing you'd ask your fans to do to show support for you?

DH: You know, honestly, this may sound cliché but I tell you Yamaha's helped me out so much. Yamaha could have let me go when I got my injury, and they stuck with me, and you know, supporting Yamaha is just like supporting me. I mean, they're still supporting me and just… Yamaha's a different company and I'm just so glad to be a part of them.

PP: Can they send fan mail through Yamaha?

DH: Yes they can, absolutely.

NOTE: Fan mail can be sent to Doug at:

Yamaha Motor Corp., USA
6555 Katella Ave
Cypress, Ca 90630
Attn: Doug Henry

(be sure to remember to add 'Attn: Doug Henry' on the envelope)

KEITH MCCARTY

PP: I notice someone's missing today and that's Jason Lawrence, can you tell me your involvement with him and when we're going to see him on an American track next? (Lawrence competed in the Genoa Supercross in November where he rode well but his night was ruined by a mechanical failure)

KM: Obviously we've been involved with him the last few years, and we're proud of what he's accomplished, I think he's a very talented rider. There were just some things going on that didn't really work out between us so… it's probably a little deeper than that I guess, but we wish him the best and we hope to see him out on the track in 2009.

PP: He's not going to be on a Yamaha?

KM: I don't know. I think that he'd like to be on a Yamaha, I think he, because of the effort that everyone put behind him, I think that's what he'd like to do. In the end I don't know. We don't have an agreement with him at this point so if somebody else stepped up and wanted to work with him or put an agreement where he's got an income or whatever, then he may change his mind. As far as I know right now, I'm not really sure what he's got going.

PP: Are you talking to the AMA about reinstating him? In any way are you involved in that?

KM: That was a temporary thing and I'm guessing by the time they had him sit out for the nationals, that that would be behind him. I'm not really sure, because I wasn't directly involved with it but I would expect that's all behind him now and he can compete in 2009.

PP: If you had a chance to give some advice to amateur racers coming up, what advice would you give with regards to how you manage your lifestyle, how you present yourself, and how they can learn from this.

KM: I'm a little hesitant to give advice to people only because we were all young and we've all made mistakes in our life and we all learn from those mistakes and move forward. So I think if I'm going to give advice it's 'Never is an awful long time. People may make mistakes and you can recover and you can change, so as long as you try learn from it then I think you're okay.'

Keith McCarty