2021 Ironman Motocross | Post-Race Interviews
Want to know what riders had to say about the 2021 Ironman Motocross without watching a “How Was Your Weekend” video? We’ve transcribed our post-race chats with riders in the 250 and 450 Class after round ten of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and added some photos of the riders in action.
250 CLASS | 3-6 | 4TH OVERALL
How was that today?
How was that? That was brutal. Golly. It was such a… It was awesome, is what it was. It was awesome but it was also so brutal. I’ve ridden three times in the last four weeks and yeah, it’s been a rough go at it. So, to come out here, straight off the couch… the longest Moto I did was a 25 and they’re like, “Yeah, we think you’re ready to race.” And I was like, “All right.” But then I bought in and I think you see the results today. So, capable of a lot even off the couch. But my heart rate was so high. I got up to 202 or something because my heart’s so rested and it’s not used to this. It was a tough day.
After that much time off, was it hard to get your head around things?
It’s hard a race pace.
Yeah. I just had to believe in myself really because I’m capable. I’m very capable and a lot of times at race space, if I just relax, it comes to me naturally. If I try and just try, try, try, I usually mess it up and I’m really slow. Just settling into it and letting the race come to me was important. And believing in myself, believing that that’s where I belong and even further forward, I think that was what pulled me through today.
The one thing I’ll say about your season is you’ve had a lot of good flashes of brilliance. We know it’s there.
I think even the times where you need to show it the most, you do. Like, “You know what, I can go fast, I can have pace in the front.” Is that what it feels like for you or is it all just coincidence?
Right now, I’m learning to just believe in myself because everyone else believes in me. I’m really dang good on a dirt bike and my skill and technique is kind of epic. So, for me to actually just come to believe that and trust, rather than just keep trying, it’s been a journey. I learned a lot in this off time and it’s probably one of the best things to happen to me this season, some injuries and some time off, and mentally getting off track so I can learn how to mentally get back on track. And I think that today shows. I shouldn’t be here today. I don’t have fitness to do what I did today and I had great composure. I made great passes and moved through the field and was one of the strongest, most consistent down the stretch, which is kind of crazy considering my circumstances. So, yeah, I think just believing in myself has been huge and I think it’s going to carry into 2022.
250 CLASS | 2-3 | 2ND OVERALL
How was your day?
To me, today was a solid day. I was not the fastest, I was not maybe the toughest, but everything was going the right direction. I was P2 in Q1 and P4 in Q2, which put me into fourth place to the Main Event. And I had a good gate pick. First Moto I had a okay start like seventh or eighth and made some good passes. The guys in front made a mistake and I was able to finish P2, which was best result in outdoors. So, it was good for me. And second Moto, I finally pulled the holeshot and it felt weird actually, nobody was in front of me. But just need to pick up 1.5 to two seconds every single lap and I could fight for the win. Just have to work on that a little bit. But overall wise, it was a good day.
The last few weeks in qualifying you’ve done good. You’ve shown some one lap speed, been in the top three, top five of the board. Has that been something that you’ve had to work on, or is it just now that you’ve been riding more and more, you see how to do it?
When I see the result, I’m better in qualifying one because I think I raced some of the track last year, so I have some knowledge. I’m kind of used to the track, I don’t have to learn it as much. So, I just go for it and have a good time. But in the qualifying two, everybody starts to pick up the speed. That’s why qualifying two is usually faster, so that’s when you have to grab some speed. But I’m getting better at it.
You say you have to find two seconds a lap to be race-ready guy. How hard is that? Is that impossible? Is that something that you can work on in a short amount of time or is it something that you’ll have to wait until next year?
1.5 to two seconds, not every lap, just overall. If I can have one more second in me, 1.5 more seconds in me, it’ll be awesome. Because my fitness is okay for my pace, but I feel like I can push a little more and that’s going to be key to fight for the front. Because if I’m one second slower every lap, obviously if there’s a guy behind me that’s faster than you they’re just going to pass you. So, yeah, just 1.5.
250 CLASS | 1-1 | 1ST OVERALL
How was the day?
It was a good day. Woke up like any other day, really, and I guess I woke up on the right side of the bed. Going into qualifying I had heaps of fun actually. I went out and just felt good on the bike. I did a few laps and end up putting down a really fast time. I didn’t even know. So, I came around, I’m like, “So, what did I get?” And Christien was like, “Oh, you went P1.” I’m like, “Oh, sweet. What’s the order?” He’s like, “Yeah, second place is 2:03 and then third place…” I’m like, “Sorry, what, 2:03?” What did I do?” He’s like, “Yeah, you did two-minute flat.” I’m like, “Huh, okay.” It’s nice but surely someone’s going to get me in the next one. Going into the next one I end up bettering my time again and had a second lead in that one. So, I’m like, “Well, I guess that’s cool.” I didn’t really want to be P1. I wanted to be P2 or three. Know where the Star guys are going and calculate what I do from there, they’re probably my biggest competitors right now if you look at it.
So, yeah, I’m like, “Well, here we go. Hopefully I pick a good gate and get a really good start.” And I did. First Moto was P2 and was able to get around… Vohland actually got me on the first lap. He was hooking that first lap and surprised me. I’m like, “Damn, see an orange fender come out of nowhere.” I had to get back past him, got around him, and then I put on a bit of charge for Justin and I ended up getting around him a few laps later. And then J Mart came out of nowhere. He was putting some real pressure on me and was railing some different outsides that were gaining time. Once I figured it out, “Okay, it’s there that he’s doing there, there, there,” I was able to take those lines and get a bit of a gap. And sadly, he ended up going down, so that sucked. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery. But was able to ride that one home. Was pretty done after that one, to be honest. Pretty sure me and J Mart were pushing the limits, so I think we’re doing faster times there than the qualifying.
And then second Moto, same thing. Really good start behind Joseph, my mate. We had a little bit of a battle going back and forwards, just trying to find out a way where I could get around. End up getting around and then putting on a few lap charge. Because when you get around Jo, if he sees you, he’s actually really good at catching onto that speed and running that speed behind you. I knew if I could just break him a bit, I might be able to start pulling away. And thankfully I did and then the rest was history. Got a 1-1, first Pro Motocross 1-1 that I got and it’s a great feeling.
You and I talked about this before, about when you enter that flow and it just comes super easy. Was that what happened today or was today like dog fight the whole way?
I think in the first Moto it was more of a dog fight. I didn’t really have many good lines. Like I said, J Mart had some better lines, and I was able to catch him. But that second one I found a lot better flow because I felt like I wasn’t so erratic. That first one, I was like I was there, and I wanted to get on Cooper before he could go, because he’s very good in those first few laps of just putting down those heaters. And then that second one I was just able to get a really good flow and was just kind of in the zone. I wasn’t as tired as I was in the first Moto in the second one.
Championship weeks, two races left. Does it feel any different? Have you had time to think about it or is it just that you’ve got to finish this thing out?
I don’t really want to think about it, to be honest, because that’s when things can go bad, mentally. Right now I’m just going to take the positives and move on to the next races like I was today. Just go in with an open mind, just try and give it my best and see where we end up.
450 CLASS | 6-36 | 13TH OVERALL
How did today go?
Yeah, it was rough. Qualifying went good and I qualified, I think, seventh. And then I went out for the first Moto, felt pretty good. I got a really, really bad start. Started off in 26th and then worked my way up to sixth by the end of the Moto. I think it really took it out of me. I think my back and ribs and all that are still feeling the trauma and I think it was a little worse than I thought. But when you’re riding that good and you take a spill like that, it’s hard to just say, “I’m not going to race.” It sucks but it is what it is. We’ll go back this week and I’ll do some rehab and we’ll see how I feel for Pala. Right now I’m 50/50. I don’t want to go out there and just keep prolonging this injury but I don’t want to just give up. I’ll see about it this week and yeah. We made at least one Moto this weekend and I got sixth. I’m going to take the positives away from it and move on.
If the year was to end, like you can’t come back and do the last two because you’re so beat up, is it a success? Do you think it, as a whole, was a good year? Because looking from our side of things it definitely was, but I know you as a racer have goals and agendas that you want to definitely achieve.
Yeah, it was definitely better, obviously. But to be battling for the lead and then go out like that and not be able to recover just sucks. I would be disappointed, but I would look back and definitely say it was way, way better. But as a racer, my competitive side, just to look at it and almost be passing for the lead and then go out like it did at Unadilla… It would suck for sure. But, it is what it is and if it is the end of the season, so be it. It was a hell of a ride. But I think I got a little bit more in me.
450 CLASS | 9-9 | 9TH OVERALL
How was your day?
Solid day, much better. I really like this place.I’ve had good history here, last year got on the podium. Just from pretty much the time I put the tires on the track I felt at home today. First session qualified 10th, the next session dropped my time by a second, I think I was ninth. First Moto didn’t ride that well, had a pretty good start but faded back to the ninth. Then in Moto Two tried to hang in with the guys from sixth to me, which was ninth. We had a pretty good battle. They kind of broke away and then towards the end, I don’t know if Savatgy was overheating, but the whole time I could see him. Literally at the finish we finished like milliseconds apart. So, overall it’s a pretty good day, but it was hot.
It was hot. Is it more physically taxing riding a 450 in this heat than it is a 250?
This class is just harder. Yeah, you got a faster bike, but then you’ve got to go twice as fast, the track’s even gnarlier. Obviously, there were a few guys missing this weekend, everybody got COVID for some reason. It’s different. Like I said, the track’s rougher and the competition, you’re racing a bunch of champs. There’s no slouches.
Two to go. How do you feel?
I want to keep this momentum. I got ninth overall today and obviously a lot of us ride Fox Raceway, but the track’s way different for the race. You remember round one? Round one was honestly kind of dangerous, but hopefully it’s better this time. Hangtown’s a good track as well. But yeah, it’s nice to be home, I guess, because I’m based out of Corona, California. It’s nice to not fly and it makes life a little easier on us.
450 CLASS | 10-7 | 8TH OVERALL
What’d you think of today?
Today was better. I was joking all day that my practice was a little rough because I forgot to set an alarm and I didn’t wake up super in time. I made it down to the gate when they were taking off. But it’s all good. I got a bunch of Instagram content, threw a bunch of tricks and whips and stuff. Moto wise, man, my starts have been so damn terrible. And it’s not even the point where I’m pissed– I’m just annoyed. It’s so annoying to just get roosted all Moto. And I’ve been getting so tired at halfway that all my good laps are spent trying to pass people. It’s been rough, but I think I got 10th the first Moto.
Second Moto, not a great start again, but I actually rode pretty good. I rode better than I had been. Speed’s coming around andI felt pretty good in the mid-part of the race. I passed some good guys and had a lot of fun. I think I ended up seventh second Moto, best Moto of the year for me. I know a lot of people are out, I get it guys. But I rode better and that’s all I can do.
I almost passed out after the race. It’s hot today, man. I told myself at three to go, I said, “All right, if I just finish this race out and I don’t let anyone catch me, I can go to the medic rig after.” I was shot. But held it together, pulled through, had a good Moto. It’s all good, man. I’m having fun.
I’m trying to enjoy these last few, because I don’t have a job for next year. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Hopefully somebody will throw me a bone and I can keep doing this stuff because I’ve been saying it lately but in the last year, man, I’ve really realized how much I love this stuff. This is the only thing that makes me want to wake up in the morning. I’ve got friends in every truck out here. I love being here, man. So, hopefully I get it figured out. Everything works out. It always does. So, I’ll just keep doing my thing and stuff will get sorted.
Thank you for being a man of your word. A couple weeks ago I was like, “I would love to see some can-cans.” And the boy came through today, so thank you.
No problem, man. I need to put some work in and get the trick bag opened up a little bit because I don’t have much at the moment. It’s been a little rough because out at 83 Compound we don’t have any big jumps so I’m struggling. I’m waiting to get the superman seat grabs back, man. Don’t quote me on that but I might be bringing them back soon. So, we’ll see.
We need to see you and Colt link up like Kenny Bartram and Travis Pastrana, touch feet like back in the day.
We can do that. Speaking of Kenny, me and K-Roc, I keep finding him in practice and we’ll look at each other at be like, “All right, it’s go time,” and throw something over like the big jump. It’s fun, man. I’m having fun. I know a lot of people have been giving me some shit because I’ve been posting a lot of that kind of stuff. But it’s like man, this point of where I’m at… Usually throughout my career, and I’m 10 years deep right now, I’d be having nervous breakdowns at home trying to figure out what to do because this is my livelihood, dude. This is all I have.
I don’t have a job for next year so I’m trying to figure it out. It’s been a while since I’ve made good money. This is how I pay my bills, man. So, for me, the way for me to deal with it is to just have fun and try to enjoy it. I’m obviously trying as hard as I can but this stuff is really cool, man. It’s really cool. And the fans have been responding well, everybody loves to see cool stuff. I’m just trying to enjoy it and have some fun and finish out the season on a positive note and try to keep finishing up there in the top 10 and just giving it what I got. Physically I don’t have a lot right now but give it what I got and can’t be mad at myself if I suffer all Moto. So, it’s all good.
450 CLASS | 7-8 | 7TH OVERALL
How was that?
It was a hot one. I’m not feeling very good, to be honest. Not sickness or nothing. Just feel like if I was a balloon you just took a nail and just popped all the air out of me. I struggled today, man, honestly. Second half of the first Moto, really struggled, and then second Moto, pretty much the whole thing, just flat. It’s frustrating but looking at the positives. We qualified good, led a lap, got the holeshot and was up there for halfway or so. Trying to stay positive, just look at the positives from today. Our speed is there and we’re getting closer to being towards the front, which is… You can work with speed. I’ve been working on that at home and just trying to get that raw speed back that I feel like I used to have. And obviously it’s working. Our starts are getting better and that’s huge. In this class right now starts to go a long way.
Are you okay with giving it everything and running the tank out for the first Moto you had?
Yeah. That’s the only way you can shock yourself, is to just put yourself in that environment and force yourself to be there. I don’t want to say that I used all my energy but I don’t know. It’s weird. I felt good, felt good and then all of a sudden it was gone. That’s all there is to it, man. It’s like I said, at the end of the day, I need to be better and if I want to do better it’s up to me.
You’ve done this forever, so you know that whole hot 30-minute Motos, all the practice stuff. To be a guy at your level and still have that, “Whoa, dude there’s a whole other expectation to this and I could push it a whole other step,” how is that for you to realize and is it shocking?
Yes and no. Honestly, I feel like the difference between where I am, and that next level, is just comfortability. These guys at the front are so comfortable with just their motorcycle, their suspension, just honestly comfortable with sending it. And I’m not to that level yet. I’m just not to that level of comfortability. I’m not gelling with my motorcycle as well and when you fight the motorcycle just a little bit, it adds up. You’re doing that for an hour, two 30 plus twos, it beats you up. Honestly, I don’t feel like the difference between– not the top two or so because those guys are just on a different level, but I feel like that third-fourth-fifth, I feel like it’s not that far out of reach for me. It’s just trying to gel a little bit better with my motorcycle. I just need to be more comfortable and that’s the bottom line.
450 CLASS | 8-6 | 6TH OVERALL
How was today?
Today was awesome. Definitely felt, I don’t know, like the past two weekends never really sunk in and then today, after the second Moto that kind of sunk in. Like, “Wow, I straight up got sixth.” And then we came back to the semi and looked at the results and I got sixth overall. I was like, “What? That’s cool.” This year I missed two races and technically four Motos in a row, so I’ve been trying to catch up on making up points. And today was awesome to get those amount of points in each Moto. I was like, “This is what we needed.” So, it’s cool.
The track was great, a great race track. I feel like we had a lot of good battles out there with everyone. I know Hartranft and I, we were duking it out the first Moto. And then the second Moto, I just got a bit of a better start, just found my place in sixth, and just stayed there the whole Moto. It was fun. It was cool to throw some whips for the fans over the table in the middle during practice and even in the Motos. It was just a good day.
When we were typing the entry list for this weekend, there were already a lot of names gone. And then the last 12 hours a lot of names were gone. Do you come in for the day knowing, “Hey X guy is out, X guy’s out, X guy’s out, I’m going to advance?” Or is it a clean slate just like any other day?
I just treated it like every other day, because when you start thinking about who’s out and you start thinking about what you can do, I feel like that adds pressure. And I’m not one to want to add pressure. I try to keep my mood light, just do what we do, and that’s just having fun on a motorcycle. Some critics will say, “Oh, he only got this because these people were out.” In a way, I respect that. I respect that but at the same time you’ve got to be in it to win it and I beat guys today that I’ve never beat. And I feel like that’s huge for me. We’ll take what we can get and just keep building. I’m excited to go back to Fox because that’s home.
What are the thoughts going into these last two, especially one track you know really well, and one track you might kind of know a little bit, but not all that great?
Nothing’s going to change, just keep doing what we’re doing. Like I said, keep it light, have fun. I feel like the less I think about the better I do. Even on the line I know that I’ve prepared myself all week and there’s no reason to change on race day. I’m excited to go back to Fox, that is a home track for us. Hangtown I’ve never been to, so I’m really excited for that one. Every year I’ve watched that on TV and I’m like, “Man, one day, one day.” This year that one day is happening.
450 CLASS | 2-1 | 1ST OVERALL
Got the win today. How was it?
We got one, got the overall. I just point the finger to the first Moto, getting a good score in that, a score I can work with in Moto Two for an overall. It was just a good track for me the whole day. I don’t really know why but it was fitting for me. I had really good speed in Moto Two and good energy. It was one of our first hot ones, really the only really hot one that we’ve had this year, where I felt like it was going to affect guys for Moto Two. That was a good test there. And like I said, going back to Moto one, that’s where I’ve left it in other races, left things on the table, in Moto One for getting myself a good shot at overalls for the day.
How fun is it to just rip outside lines as fast as you can go? Because watching you and a couple other guys today I’m like, “I think that’s as fast as a motorcycle can go around here.”
Yeah, it’s been good. They’ve been taking, I feel like, rider’s input pretty well this year. You’ll tell them something and they’ve been doing things to the track to open up them up. I think it’s been helping. In some years it’s been different mentality where they just leave it the whole day. But today, they put some dozer berms out there, opened up an outside of the track and like you said, we were ripping them for a while. Yeah, there were cool corners out there today.
Two to go. Does anything change going into these? Is it just send it? Is there a strategy?
Yeah, it’s send it. It’s send it. There’s not much on the table for me. I’m way outside of points so I’m just going for another overall.
Clearly, you want to be in the championship and all that. But the fact that you’re in basically a no pressure situation right now, and you haven’t really had that in a long time, is that fun? Does is it allow you to be free or is it on your mind a little bit?
Yeah, it allows you to not really worry about anything. But at the same time, I’m not there and I haven’t won an overall so maybe I actually perform when I’m in that situation. Yeah, it’s a different situation but I’ll take the other one over this one.