Interview with Jeff Emig 3 time National Champ and Supercross Champion

DR: What do you think of the new Kawasaki KX250F?JE: I think the 250F is next in the evolution. I think we are in the middle of a transition, and it will be interesting to see if production four strokes can become better than their two-stroke counterparts. It's exciting to have another bike to ride. I personally think that a four-stroke, for the average rider, is more fun to ride. Maybe because it doesn't require such maintenance, the power delivery is smoother and you don't have to mix the gas. But I don't think that anyone, including myself, is ready to give up on two-strokes any time soon. It's just nice to have a choice.DR: Have you ridden any of the bigger bore four-strokes?JE: I got a chance to ride the top four-strokes. I'm really excited to have Kawasaki come out with a 450 four-stroke next year. There will be certain tracks that I would choose to ride a two-stroke, and other tracks that I think the 450 would be better.DR: Being a past Supercross champion, how long do you think it will be before we see top Supercross riders choosing four-strokes. As it is right now, most top riders prefer to ride two-strokes indoors. It really seems like that is still THE bike.JE: Not a lot of people out there get the chance to ride in a stadium Supercross track and to understand what sort of power delivery the bike needs, and what sort of actions the bike goes through. A two-stroke is a match made in heaven for that. I think Kevin Windham will have an impact on four-strokes in Supercross. I saw Ricky recently on Speed Channel, and he said that he might consider riding the 450 for the outdoor Nationals, but he will definitely choose a two-stroke for Supercross next year.DR: Tell us about your own racing plans?JE: I'm going to come back and race the Kawasaki Race of Champions, in Englishtown, New Jersey. That's the first weekend in October. It's been a while since I've been back there. I'm going to ride the Plus 30 classes; you might even see me in the 125 Expert.DR: How did everything at Loretta Lynn's go for you? You ended up winning two championships?JE: The Amateur National wins went really well this year. I think that I was prepared, you know, mentally and physically. There was less pressure on me this year. I've raced some big time pressure races, whether it is a local race, or going back to the Amateur Nationals for the first time. When you have that pressure to win, you can't get second or third, this year I didn't put that pressure on myself. I just had a really great time doing my job for SHIFT, and scouting for younger riders and developing relationships throughout the amateur program and that whole family. It's just a really good time. It's like being a kid again.DR: Whom do you see rising up in the Amateur ranks? Right now, outside of Stewart, there really hasn't been a lot of guys coming into the 125 class and making a really big impact. Do you feel like there's going to be a gap with guys like Larry Ward still doing top tens?JE: The gap is because Stewart, in my mind, is the fastest there's ever been. The next guy I would compare him to is Bradshaw - I mean the ability to just go out there and go FASTER than everybody. Ricky is great but in a different way. The ass whoopin' that Stewart is putting on everybody is just amazing. There are a few good amateur kids on the way. The Alessi brothers have been really awesome. I am really impressed with Mike Alessi's style and focus when he's on the bike, especially riding technique. Ryan Villoputo matches him in speed, but he has some learning to do. I think the future Villoputo will be someone to look for. And I was really impressed with Josh Hill from Washington. There are some kids in the 9-11 class coming up. Of course there is Adam Inserello in the Peewee class. This kid is quite a ways from riding Supercross, but he is awesome.DR: Now that Stewart is riding in the 250 class next year, and Chad Reed won the last 6 Supercross, do you think Carmichael is the underdog?JE: No, Ricky is not the underdog, Ricky is the champ. If you want to get the 250 crown, you will have to go through him. At the end of the series, you want to be the champion. It's not who won the most races, or who went the fastest on any one night. You could compare this to this year's 125 Championship. Grant Langston won it, but won only one moto, and got no overalls. But he's the champion; he gets the bonus and the number one plate. I think Reed was awesome this year. All the props in the world to him. Between Reed, Windham, Vuillemin, Carmichael, and Stewart next year, we are going to see an explosive beginning of the series. I think that, and you can quote me on this, Bubba's got Reed beat.DR: So you don't think that Bubba will have any difficulty adapting to the 250?JE: No. Remember when Bradshaw came out in 1990? He was so friggin' fast! I think that it's going to have that kind of explosiveness. Now, you put all that together, and add that Carmichael is smarter and stronger, and has such a thick base of training and knowledge. Look at Bradshaw who came out super fast and never one the championship. It's going to be real exciting. I can't tell you who's going to win, or even win the first race. I do think that there are only four guys that are able to win - Windham, Carmichael, Reed, or Stewart. I also think that we are going to see Michael Byrne just throw down and go to the end of the series. DR: It looks like you and Dubach having some fun at the World Cup of Motocross at Glen Helen. Do you hope to do more races like that?JE: Yeah, he came up and grabbed my break. I was hoping that they would do something like that again. That World Cup has to be one of the top most fun races of my entire career. That's what it is all about at this point.