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2021 Washougal Motocross | Post-Race Interviews


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Want to know what riders had to say about the 2021 Washougal 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 seven of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and added some photos of the riders in action.

250 CLASS | 3-1 | 1ST OVERALL

How was that?

Man, I tell you what. To go 1-1 on the home soil was amazing, man. It was the highlight of my year after all the hospital visits, x-rays, all that stuff. And to keep fighting through a broken scaphoid, I still really hurt, a hand that hurts. It’s a really cool feeling to get the 1-1 last weekend, but, man, I’ve been coming here since 2013 and never have I won a Moto, never have I gotten an overall. I’ve always been, I think 4-4 for third or something back in the day in 2014. So, this is sweet man. You can see I’m happy. It was a bummer to see J Cooper go down, that’s how I got it, but that’s racing. I’ve gone down before, too, so, I’m just glad he’s okay.

Hey, you’re putting in some gritty rides. Today, that third place was big, then this first place. You’re not laying up; you’re not letting anything go away. You’re racing out there. Yeah, the hands got to hurt, but you know that you can be out here to do it right now.

Yeah, for sure. You know, sometimes things in life aren’t always fair. You know, other people get better breaks or more luck and everything else like that. And I’m not bitter. I’ve asked that question, “Why?” You can ask why and cry about it, or you have one choice and that’s to move forward, let it build character and push through it. And then one day, hopefully you can become a badass and look back and think about it. So I’m just thankful.

This feels good, doesn’t it?

Yeah, it does feel good.

This is sick. Good job, buddy.

Thank you.

250 CLASS | 6-4 | 5TH OVERALL

How was today?

Good, good. This is my first time here, and it went good. I loved the track all day. Put a good first Moto together, ended up sixth, and had an even better second Moto and I ended up fourth. So I think I came out fifth overall. And yeah, I’m stoked. A big, big building block from where I’ve been the last couple of weeks. So I’m just happy to get a good finish out of the way before the break. I’ll just use the break to keep the momentum going and come back swinging in a couple weeks.

Crazy how much things can change in the matter of seven days, huh?

I know, yeah. A week ago, I was bummed, had a good start and then everyone saw it. I just made a minor mistake, and it ended up being a huge incident. So-

But all good now?

Yeah. I’m all good. I’m feeling better than ever right now.

With everything going on, this is a nice building block, especially that second Moto, when you were in the thick of it there. How is it to run that pace right now?

Well, that pace isn’t anything crazy to me. It’s almost easier to be up there with those guys because that’s my speed. But when I’m stuck in the back, I’m trying so hard just to get by guys, wasting energy. And I’m trying twice as hard, riding twice as bad. So yeah, it was cool just to ride with the guys in the mix and just feel that pace, because it wasn’t anything crazy to me. I just needed to clean up a few things. I made a couple mistakes and let a couple of guys get by me. But yeah, overall I’m stoked.

250 CLASS | 24-5 | 13TH OVERALL

How was today?

That was another tough race. First Moto, I had sixth place gate pick, which was not bad. I thought I choose a good gate, but then when my mechanic was starting to prep, we find some huge rock underneath the dirt, which I couldn’t see. And right away, it threw me off to the right, which made a bad start. And after that, the crash on the first corner was unlucky. I hurt my shoulders in the back a little bit. But second Moto I start from outside. I know people say it’s kind of too far, and I didn’t have a good feeling to cut everybody back in. So, another mid-pack start, but to me, the second Moto was much better because the track was narrow, and you need a lot of focus to finish the Moto today. And I made up to fifth, I think? I think I got fifth. Solid points but we did two good Motos.

That crash in the first one, yeah, you were down in the first turn for a while trying to get the bike going again. But your lap time was right on pace with everybody else. So once you got going again, you were good.

I think someone told me even, I got the best pace of the race. But anyway, when you’re a lap behind, it doesn’t do anything.

250 CLASS | 2-3 | 2ND OVERALL

How was the day?

Man, just, I don’t really know what to say. I mean, we’ve been so up and down, and I’m just in a weird spot in my life and my career. I’ve never been a guy that could go out and win these things, like pretty consistently. And I mean, people don’t realize how much a toll that kind of plays on you. Dude, I was rough there, after Southwick. I deleted everything for a week and just spent time with my family, and just tried to get back to normality. Of course, you’ve seen last weekend, and just took a lot of hits, a lot of punches, but days like these makes it all worth it.

The riding you at right now, like the raw speed, you can’t teach that. So, obviously, the biggest thing is trying to harness it. And there’s a lot of stuff that happens that’s out of your control, so you can’t really be blamed for it. Starts would help, obviously, but you’re fast, there was no denying that.

I try to be the guy that doesn’t bring up excuses or anything that happens to me; I take full responsibility for everything that happens out there. This sounds crazy, but first practice at RedBud, dude, on my roll lap, I looked back and tucked my front, and when I did that I ripped my thumb out. It was bad, and I’m pretty sure I tore that ligament in my thumb. Honestly, I didn’t really think anything of it. Now the front wheel starts washing, if you think about it.

This is what it is?

Yeah, I mean, this is what I’ve come to. It’s the only thing that’s changed, RedBud practice, because I’m struggling with strength in my right hand. And if you watch all my crashes that I’ve had, they’ve all been me not trusting the front, or me not being able to have good strength. And so I didn’t want to say anything, because I go out and win RedBud, so now it’s like, “Alright, this guy’s just BS-ing us right now.”

I thought it was going to get better leading up to Southwick. And dude, it got worse, like a lot worse. I tried wrapping it for Southwick, and, once again, made it worse. So on a sand track, wet sand track, struggling with strength. You’re the fastest guy, you know it, and then you try to slow down and now you’re back. Dude, I was losing my mind at Southwick. Again, in a spot in my career I’ve never been. Like I said, I just kind of had to reset, not second-guessing things I do, cause I bust my butt.

I have the comfort on my bike, like you said. I’m in a good spot. I’m stoked with where I’m at. I’ve worked my ass off for 10 years to get to this, to be in this situation. So, take it as it is. But like you said, I’m stoked on the day. I got two pretty good starts, battled hard that first Moto. And then second Moto, I was ready to battle again and then had that stall; stalled it and kind of took a little bit out of me. Once again, just kind of settled in and I got a treat. I got a treat there for a second overall. Yeah, so that’s about it.

We know it’s contract year and all that stuff, so without going into too much detail if you don’t want to, because I get it, it seems like things are turning in the right way after these last few weeks. Has the raw speed really gotten a lot of people’s attention?

Yeah. And I’ve said from the beginning, I love this team. I want to be here. And I mean, pretty much, I will be back here, just working on small things. But yeah, four weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I was going to have a ride next year. Dude, I was making phone calls, and honestly, no one really returned it. So I was in a situation where is look I was going out there to ride for a contract. But, these guys, the bike’s awesome, the team’s awesome. They came through, like they said they would from the beginning, but, nothing’s final until you have a contract. They never doubted me or said I wasn’t going to, it’s just once it’s finalized, it’s finalized. So, yeah, I’ll be back here next year moving forward. Yeah, I’m in a new part of my career. So, stoked on that. Family’s awesome, home life’s awesome. Get a couple of podiums, and I’ll be pretty happy with the year.

250 CLASS | 1-8 | 3RD OVERALL

How was today?

Ah, good. Qualified first, got first in the first Moto. Rode pretty good and had some good company in the first one. And then second one, got a good battle with J Mart. I was upfront, and he got me probably around 20 minutes in, and from there I just… He was kind of trying to manage the gap and I was really trying to push back up to him. I was right there with him, and then yeah, a lap and a half to go I got a weird kick up the uphill and it spit me off. So, kind of frustrated, but got some time off, will regroup and do the same thing. You know, got to keep it upfront. It sucks to give away a win like that, but you’ve got to take the positives, and we were good today.

You got up quick from that crash. And to crash up Horsepower Hill where you crashed, that’s pretty much as fast as the bike goes here. So yeah, good to see you bounce back up and jump back on it.

It was definitely hard to pick the bike up; it was kind of in the hay and by the fence. I had to turn it around, get back on it and then turn back around. So, definitely it was tough, and I am glad to get back up that quick, like you said. It was a tough spot, and I was pretty tired at that point. I got up and salvaged it on a home for a podium.

250 CLASS | 15-19 | 18TH OVERALL

How was that today?

That was good. We’re seven weeks out of surgery from the compound fracture in Colorado, so the goal was just to get two solid Motos in. Obviously at Millville, we had an electrical issue in the first Moto and Second Moto, I got ran over, started dead last. The goal was really just to not crash, stay on two wheels, have two Motos where we build, and that’s exactly what we did today. I think I was running about top-10 in the first Moto for about 20 minutes and I just got a little tired, which is to be expected, and went back to 15th. And then second Moto, I had a really bad start and just managed to get 19th. Obviously not what I’m used to, not what I expect out of myself, but at the same time with all the concussions and the broken bones and everything that’s happened this year, I just wanted to get a couple Motos in solid before this break. And then on the break, go back to Minnesota. Jeremy and I are just going to put some Motos in and get some seat time for me. I’m definitely expecting more out of myself and the team for the last five rounds starting at Unadilla, but it was good today just to get two solid Motos in, no crashes.

Last week was big, to come back and the statement that you made just to try to get there; you wanted to be home for that. Today was a big step in the right direction, and I could just see that you’re riding way more actively. You’re not as hesitant. In the vlog last week, you mentioned that the one-lap hang it out speed, you’ve got to find again.

I was rusty, yeah, and that’ll come back. I already felt better today. I qualified better here at Washougal than I did at Millville. I think a lot of people don’t realize the first Motos at a National, it helps to get the jitters out, I usually pump up. And then the second Moto, everybody’s usually better, because you have the line figured out and that stuff. So today, I was able to get both Motos in, which was good. Millville, I was definitely ready, but just between the mechanical and second Moto getting ran over, it just didn’t go our way.

I’m glad to see you out here. Just like your brother, if you can do it, you need to be out here. You guys have a very hard to keep down spirit. If you can throw a leg over the bike, you’re going to be on it.

Yeah, that was the thing. Obviously we’re not where we want to be, 15-19, but I just can’t sit on the couch. The arm is strong enough. I was launching the big sand roller all day today and it was holding up good. So we just need to get the body back in shape and come out swinging. Yeah, Jeremy and I are in kind of the same boat, but hopefully this break lets us heal up and get some seat time in.

Hey, your hands are like hamburger meat. Damn.

Yeah, you know.

And then the scar, yeah. You’re a warrior.

We love it, just love this sport.


How are you feeling?

All good. Was just seeing stars for a little bit. Unfortunately, with dirt bikes, you can only get away with so much. Today was just not my day, and it is what it is. I feel like I’ve had a really good season leading up to this. I’ve had all the ups and downs, so I’m looking forward to this little two week break, just a little bit of extra motivation to come back and get a good result when we come back. So, all good. We’ll get the head checked out when I get back home, and we’ll go from there.

Do you know what happened or was it just chaos?

Okay, so I want to say I was maybe around fourth or fifth, me and RJ just happened to meet at the same spot at the same time, and yeah, I just… My jersey hooked onto his throttle hand or something like that, which it just ripped me. I literally just took the front-end out from under me and yeah, just really went straight to my head. And then I got ran over by either Shimoda or Forkner.  I know he went over the bars and then everybody else just got tangled into it. But yeah, I mean it sucks. I felt good. It, honestly, felt like a High Point day. I felt like the track was starting to come to me easy and yeah, unfortunately, we won’t be able to see what the results would have been today, but it’s just the way life goes.

You’re on two feet, though, and that’s what’s most important.

Yup, most important. And fortunately, I’m only leaving with some stars, but all good. It could have been way worse, and we all know motorcycles are not forgiving, so we’ll take it.

250 CLASS | 11-11 | 11TH OVERALL

How was it?

I honestly, to be straight up, I hate this place. I never won here as an amateur and, not to sound cocky, but I normally I won most places I went, especially if I went there multiple times. I normally got it done. Here, I struggled. I’d be leading a Moto, got a flat, just like weird stuff happened. I didn’t really gel with the track that much. So, I tried to come in with a positive attitude, but struggled in practice, even though I felt pretty good. It was just really slick and shadowy, and it was whatever. I think I qualified 19th. Like it was pretty terrible.

But yeah, picked a pretty good gate and got my first ever holeshot, which was sick. Then, yeah, I got passed up the uphill, passed J Coop back for the lead, and then led five laps. That was cool. Big check mark there, for me to lead laps and pull a holeshot. I just forgot to breathe and it kind of all hit me at once. My arms got so tight, and everybody knows how it is trying to ride with arm pump. It’s impossible. So just threw the anchor and came in with 11th.

Next Moto was like sixth or so on the start, I think. I got passed by a few guys up uphill and some weird things happened in the first lap. I came into a tight turn and ran in the back of someone while someone went around me. It was kind of chaos. I started getting in a groove, was in a yo-yo battle with Hunter Lawrence, cause he fell at one point and came back there. Same with Forkner; kept yo-yoing with them. I just rode as hard as I could and got a little bit tired towards the end. It was a little bit hot, but finished 11th. So 11-11 for 11th is a pretty solid day.

You led a lot of laps as an amateur, but it’s been a while since you led laps.

Yeah, and I felt right at home, honestly. It was coming really natural to me. It’s not like I was struggling, and I wasn’t trying to block; they weren’t trying to pass me every corner. I kind of had a few bike lengths and was riding smooth. But yeah, I just don’t know if I was breathing or the adrenaline just all got me, this combination of things, because yeah, all of a sudden, I had freaking the gnarliest arm pump ever. I had veins popping out. It was a bit rough.

Negative aside, not breathing and getting passed and all that, how did that feel?

Felt great.

That was something that we’ve been waiting years for with you, me and Jordan and Donn, and all these people. To see you do that, I was like, “Hell yeah, that was good.”

I think everybody’s been waiting for that since I went pro. Even fading or whatever, it’s still cool to see, to still show speed, just kind of back to my old ways. I straight up was smiling in my helmet for like five laps. It was just like it was coming so effortless to me. It was just like, “Wow, this is sick.”

450 CLASS | 11-11 | 12TH OVERALL

How was today?

Four races in a row took a toll on me, and I’m just so exhausted physically, mentally. Just kind of running on fumes right now. I went 11-11. First Moto I sucked, but second Moto I actually was in the mix, me and Joey, we’re running a good pace, and Max was in there too. At the end I almost had Roczen, he was having a bad moment or whatever, but I almost had him at the end. I had a good push, was on Joey, and was running the pace of the guys, so that was good, just wish I had a bit more energy and wasn’t dealing with this crap. But it is what it is, I’m here, I’m leaving safe. A big thank you to my team and everyone supporting me. Cheers.

I’ve been watching a lot lately, the vlogs and all that, and you really appreciating the opportunity that you have right now. We all know you’re sick, that you’re really flying a flag for the 450 team. I’ve got to give you credit, dude, it would be easy to pull the plug on this, but you know that you’ve got to represent for Husky and Rockstar and all your sponsors.

Yeah, I mean pulling the plug would be the best thing for me so I could just get my body right, but I’m just trying to manage the season right now. And, yeah, I have an opportunity with the team, and I only have a couple years left in the sport. I just want to be here and get races under my belt, because unfortunately, throughout a lot of my career I’ve fricking missed so many races from injuries. I just wanted to be here, be at the race season, get the laps in. and unfortunately, like I said, we’re not feeling the best, but we’ll keep plugging away.

450 CLASS | 13-15 | 13TH OVERALL

How was the day?

I ended up 13th overall, which is good. I rode well all day. First Moto I started about… I mean there ain’t even 48 guys, and I think I started 48th, came back to 13th, which is a really good ride. Moto Two had a better start, and there was a pretty good back in front of me. I caught up to them, which was like 10th-11th-12th-13th-14th-15th. I caught up to them, and I just hit a wall. It’s been a while since I hit a wall. Been struggling to sleep since round two, the night before the race. I don’t think I’ve slept an actual hour since round one on Friday night. I think these last four weeks of racing have really took a toll. I’ve been trying to figure it out, but other than, that I’m down riding. Thirteenth overall is not bad, I want to be better, but like I said, a lot of positives, and my riding is very good. All I can do is go home and rest and regroup. So, I’ll just sleep I guess [Laughs].

Is it just nerves or is it excitement or what?

I’ve been having the most fun I’ve had in awhile. And I just sit there, and my eyes close. I have not been nervous. I don’t even get nervous at all on race day. Like I said, I’m having fun, I don’t know, so. Got to figure that out, I guess.

Like you said, that first Moto was just a freight train. There was just dude after dude after dude. You ate a lot of roost, but it probably felt pretty good to see where you were at and who was in front of you.

I think what’s hurting me, though, is starting far back in just the first fifteen minutes. I’m just pegged, getting pelted. And that probably doesn’t help. I need I guess need better starts and do my homework when I get home.

450 CLASS | 12-4 | 7TH OVERALL

How was today?

First Moto, obviously not very great. Went down on the first lap, came around 40th, and yeah, worked my way back up to 12th. It was an okay ride but obviously not where I want to be. The second Moto I rebounded; it was a great start and made some good passes, worked my way up. I was in third at one point and then finished fourth. Obviously not the overall I wanted to get, I think I ended up 7th, so I need to make up those points to get back up and get in the mix. Seventh ain’t going to cut it, but that was definitely a bounce back ride from breaking down at Southwick and then last week not really going my way. I’m going to keep working, keep plugging away.

And I think we all assume too that this isn’t your style of track. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, definitely. This style of track, I’ve never even won a Moto here. I won an overall with a 3-4 in 2018, but that was pretty lucky. I think 1-11 or 1-12 got third or something like that. It’s always a crazy mix up here, and yeah, not really my cup of tea. The next few tracks are really what I’m looking for, Budds Creek, Unadilla, Ironman, but first we got two weekends off, so I’m going to take her easy, have some fun, and recuperate.

450 CLASS | 1-3 | 1ST OVERALL

How was it today?

First win of the year for me, it was awesome. The first Moto I got a holeshot, finally, and kind of rode my own race the whole race. I pulled a really good gap and felt like I was riding really well, so I kind of managed that first race and saved some energy. The second Moto, I got another pretty good start, put my head now, and got to the back of Dylan. I wasn’t able to get by him, and then Eli was coming up behind me, and I knew he was going to have some speed. I was just trying to put up a battle and keep him behind me as long as possible. It was a good day and for me, being my first win of the year, was awesome. It’s been an up and down year, especially outdoors, it wasn’t going the right direction. And then last week, finally, I feel like I was riding better and then this week finally getting a win. Excited for the last five races and going into this break with a little momentum.

How did it feel to run at the front of the pack? You had that first one won, and the second race you really had to earn it because that was a dog fight all the way to the end there. To be involved in that.. it’s one thing to do in the 250 Class, but this is a totally different deal.

First Moto, like you said, it wasn’t easy, but it was not a big battle. I was able to relax and ride how I ride at a practice track. And then second Moto, to be able to fight and then have some energy, because these guys never seem to get tired… To have some energy in the second Moto and be able to push and get to the back of Dylan was good for me, just to be in the battle and fighting with the guys that are going fast. Dylan and Eli have been riding really good, especially the second Motos this year. I still need to get better, and we’re happy now, but it won’t be enough until we can go 1-1. So yeah, looking forward to this break, getting a little better, and coming out swinging for Unadilla.

450 CLASS | 2-2 | 2ND OVERALL

How was it?

Left it all on the track. The second Moto was a massive push, we were all sending it, sending it off the wall jump, sending it up to the finish line. Me and Chase were really pushing the pace there, and then obviously, Dylan was riding really good in front. I was just trying to find lines to get by Chase; we were kind of yo-yoing each other. And then finally I opened up some lines at the bottom of the track, then did a good square up move off some outsides, and ended up getting him. And I’m like, “All right, I think this is going to work with Dylan.” I tried it in the last lap, and it was so close, but he hit the left hander better than Chase did, with more speed. I couldn’t quite get the slingshot on him, so it’s like, “Darn it.” But left everything out there. It was awesome. For sure one of the most painful seconds for me, though, because the way that I felt and the way that I was riding, normally that would result in a win, but not today.

Chase has been very complimentary and said it’s been cool to race with you. I think it’s cool to see all these guys that have grown up watching you ride, because there’s a lot of them, finally come battle with you. Do you see a lot of differences in talent now? Because now you’re racing guys that are way younger than you, and you’ve were racing guys like Dungey.

Yeah, I guess. Everyone has different styles, right, but it doesn’t feel way different. Other than they’re solid, surprisingly strong at the end of the days. But the good thing is I feel like most guys in the 450 class are pretty seasoned, and no one’s really squirrely, so it’s been good racing.

These races have been just excellent, and to see the intensity that you have late in the Moto, people blow up. I was standing right before the whoops, there’s a nice pocket of people there, and everybody’s eyes are on you. People are really, really excited to see what you’re doing right now, and it seems like you’re really feeding off of that too.

Like I said, I was trying to feed off of them, I wanted to win so bad, I know. Fans were great here, it was almost RedBud style over there. Another awesome turn out, and good fans here.

450 CLASS | 17-14 | 15TH OVERALL

How was today?

A huge step in the right direction, we finished both Moto’s today. That’s been a thing lately, more so today, that we finished both Motos. First one, I was doing okay and had a crash and another little tip over, ended up getting 17th or something like that. And second Moto, I got a 7th place start, ran inside the top-10 for, I think, ten minutes. Barcia ended up getting me, and then I kind of just fell back a little bit. I threw up in between Moto’s and I knew immediately that hydration was gone. It’s not an excuse but I was dehydrated second Moto and the last ten minutes really got me. Bogle ended up getting me, so I ended up getting 14th, but I can’t be mad about that, the first privateer to be up there. So, 15th overall in the day, will just keep building. This is not easy, and I’ll just take this two-week break and find what we need and get back to it at Unadilla.

I talked to Tony Archer, your mechanic, yesterday about the bike over the last few weeks. You guys don’t have answers for all of the problems, like the chain thing at Spring Creek, but he explained that you guys are riding a bike that’s probably the most production 450 of anybody out there.


Yeah, you guys do have some parts and stuff like that, but you’re racing a baseline CRF450R that somebody could go buy from the dealership.

We have an ECU and piston and all that type of stuff, but I want to say 70-percent of the bike is stock, like OEM internals. We’re pushing this OEM bike to that limit right now, and you never know with stuff because it’s a brand-new bike and nobody really has answers for why things happen. Honestly, though, it is what it is. You win some, you lose some, and you just have to keep building. We feel like we’ve had a cloud over our head, and in the second Moto we kind of put it behind us, so now we just continue to build and get back to where we were and yeah, just keep fighting.

450 CLASS | 4-7 | 5TH OVERALL

How was today?

Definitely wasn’t as cool as the last weekend. Lot of fighting today, got fourth in the first Moto and worked hard in second Moto. Good Qualifying today, though, that was cool. I felt really good, ended up P5, and got 5th overall. Man I feel-

You can cuss.

I feel shit. It felt shit, but 5th, if that’s our worst race right now I’ll take that and… Shut up. My vloggers are… Wait, do I call you a vlogger? BAM TV. They’re like, “Pump BAM TV in your interviews.” I’m pumping it.

I was going to ask about this.

No, it’s all right, I’m just kidding. But yeah, we had, to me, not an awesome day, but 5th, we’ll take it and move on. Take a break, regroup, and really hammer the last five.

Today seemed like a start was a critical, probably more than anywhere this season.

Very important. Yeah, could have used some of my starts today and I definitely left those back in Spring Creek. Bummer, but, yeah.

These last ten minutes I’ve been standing over here, a lot of little kids come up.


You have really done a great job.

I feel like I’ve turned a corner.

I think you have.

I don’t know how, though, because I really, to be honest I just feel like I haven’t changed much, but with doing the… Look at that, people are stoked.

Dude, this is what I’m saying, people are so pumped on you.

I’m in a really good spot right now, man. I’m super happy. Me and my friend Jack have been talking about doing this little BAM TV thing forever, but it was never the right time it felt like. I was just not in the right place. And finally he’s like, “Let’s do it.” And I’m like, “It’s time.” And now people are seeing how I am a little bit and not so much of a dick.

But don’t beat yourself up, because you grow up under a lot of pressure and a lot of attention, people lash out at you, whatever. So understanding that you guys act a certain way…

Yeah, I’ve had some moments that I regret doing but, I don’t take anything back. You learn from it, and that’s kind of how I’m shaped now, and yeah, fans have been awesome. And yeah, it’s been great this year.

I think going forward, kind of a career rejuvenator.

Absolutely. I’m so happy. This is a good place for me, the GASGAS team and TLD. Everyone’s awesome, and I’m happy to kind hammer down these next few years, go out strong and the best I can. I really want it, so I’m going to give it my all.

Being at this place in your career right now, you have nothing left to prove.

I think so.

I mean, you might think so, but at the same time, you’ve already established the Barcia legacy. We already know what we’re going to remember you for and all that.

Well that’s cool. Yeah, I haven’t really heard anyone say that, so that’s cool, I appreciate it. I always give it my all, no matter what. And yeah, I’ve got a lot more I want to achieve and am thinking I’ve still got a lot more in the tank. I put a good group behind me right now, so we’re going to send it.

It seems like it’s more fun to race for you to be in these battles. You’re not a kid with a chip on your shoulder anymore.

No. Like today, Chase won that first Moto, and I saw him on the gate. I haven’t talked to Chase in like, ever probably. And I was like, “Dude, sick race.” Give credit where it’s due. I respect everyone out there, I’ve changed a lot for sure. Maybe I don’t love everybody, but I don’t have really an issue, I feel like, with anybody. Maybe, who knows. But for me, I’m cool, I like to have fun, I like to race hard, and I give it everything I’ve got every time I’m on the track. I’ve been in a good spot, enjoying racing and life.

450 CLASS | 14-20 | 17TH OVERALL

We always talk about how fast the pack is, and then you jump in here for one 450 Moto for the first time in a few years, and you’re right in the thick of it. You were a bad dude Sipes.

Well, thanks. Didn’t feel that bad out there. I felt bad like, blah. Just that pace is gnarly, and to be where I was at, I was happy when they said I was 14th when I came off the track because I felt like I was about 22nd place speed. It’s hard, it’s been three years since I raced a National and haven’t done that many. I do such different kinds of things now that you can only ride so much. And to do one Motocross, I haven’t done Motocross in forever, I haven’t done that much prep for it, and I didn’t respect it enough. I should have done a lot more prep coming into this, and I think I could have done a lot better. Still had fun and got out of here in one piece.

Racing as much as you do in other kinds of things, the flat track, off-road, all that, it plays a part in how you’re riding right now, right?

Yeah, I think I take things from all of it. But this is what I grew up doing. I mean, I did this for almost 30 years before I did any of the other stuff, so this is the easiest one. Not the easiest one to do well at, but this comes natural more than the others. The others, I really have to think about and have to change techniques and stuff, but I think I do take certain things from each of those, and it helps me to be just a better all-around rider. Everybody is complaining about how slick it was, and it was slick, but I’ve done a lot of slick stuff with Hard Enduro, Flat Track, so, it was pretty comfortable for me.

At this point in your life right now, you’re good, and I think it’s really cool what Jeremy at Red Bull and everybody are doing for you. You just get to enjoy whatever is going on right now and we, as people watching, can see the passion you put into it. You go out there and you don’t half ass it; you really, really try. How fun is it for you to be at this point in your life right now, established, living back home in Kentucky, but living the dream?

It’s cool. I mean, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a lot of work. I don’t have just a race bike, practice bike. I’ve got six different motorcycles that we have to prep depending on what I want to ride that day, so it’s a lot of work. But it’s been awesome with Red Bull. Anything I need to make all this happen, they’ll help me out with it. With TLD and GASGAS, it’s been cool switching over to this team. And then being able to come into these races, just hang out with the boys, hopefully get in there and mix it up a little bit. Yeah, I’m having a good time, no doubt. It’s better for my family too, I’m able to be home a little bit more. And like you said, based in Kentucky rather than when I was still doing this full time, I’d be in California. And nothing against California, but I don’t like it.

The other thing I like about the TLD guys is that you’re part of it. It’s not like, “Yeah, we threw you an EZ-Up, go over here and deal with all that.” You got the gear, you have everything. You’re part of the team, it’s not like you’re the side project that they’ve got to babysit. They want you to be a part of it all.

Yeah, that’s what I mean, they’ve been great. When I come to do these, I’m up there, they video me, I’m watching video, we’ve got split times, and they’re really trying to help me be the best I can be. Because I think I’m hopefully going to represent the team well out there. The better I do, the better it looks for them. And it’s fun for me to try to come in and just do my best and try to run with the guys who do it full-time when I do it part-time.

What’s next on the schedule?

I fly to California tomorrow to go learn Quarter Pipe. Yeah, I’m a little terrified of it. But if they can do it, I can do it, right? It’s possible. So go learn Quarter Pipe, next weekend is a hill climb, after that is Hard Enduro in Tennessee, and then I have a flat track in Illinois. Then I fly to Italy for ISDE.

Okay, is it a mile flat track?

It’s a TT.

Oh, it’s Peoria.

Peoria. A big TT, super fast.

What’s gnarlier, when you go into that first turn and you’re wide open or when you’re first turn wide open with 40 guys here? Because it’s a lot different.

Yeah, this is way scarier because the one thing that I take from Moto, that’s a positive for me in anything else I race, is first turn guts. First turn, I’m not scared to send her in there, because in off-road and flat track they’re scared. Everyone kind of let’s off early, and I’m like, “Sweet.” And I just leave it on a little bit longer, and even if I don’t get the best jump, I usually get a good start. This is way scarier because these guys are not scared to let off, and none of us are, so we’re all sending her in there pretty hard. But man, fifth gear wide open into, not first lap, but all the other laps… Fifth gear wide open down the Peoria straightaway, and you just toss it, it’s scary, it’s really scary.

450 CLASS | 5-1 | 3RD OVERALL

How was it?

Tough day. We bring some small evolution on the shock that we have been working on the last two weeks. We tried to ride with it at Millville, it wasn’t that great, so we went back to the base. And this week we improved at the practice track, and we give it a shot today. Practice went good, but we kind of tried to improve again for Moto One and we went the wrong direction and really felt not comfortable on the bike. The setup of the bike was off, I couldn’t really push as hard as I want in Moto One and got some arm pump and was struggling. And then we went to the other direction in Moto Two and the bike was so much better, and yeah, the holeshot was a big help. But just my feeling on the bike was great, and I could ride the way I want, and yeah it was a good Moto.

As long as Chase was behind me, I was kind of, not cruising, but kind of managing my energy. Because I knew Eli, he came pretty strong at the end. And when I see Eli was second, I was like, “Okay, now all the energy I have left, I need to use it.” And yeah, I really tried to keep him away from me and this last lap was crazy. But yeah, I was managing my energy a little bit deep inside me to protect my position and yeah that was good. Because I mean, before every race, I watched the past years video of racing at every track, and I mean, Eli was on fire every year, and I think he won so many times with 1-1, and every time from the back, came back sometime in last lap. I was like, “Okay, now it’s me to prove that I can fight Eli.” And yeah, that was a good moment. I was really proud to win this Moto against him.

From where I was standing in the middle of the track, the crowd was just so into it. To see both of you and how hard you guys were charging, it’s awesome to see it. The performances that you guys are putting on are unbelievable.

Yeah, I mean, I’m tired right now [Laughs]. I really left everything on the track, and like I said, all the one Moto I wasn’t pushing 100%, only the last two laps I really gave everything I had. For sure the crowd went crazy, more cheering for Eli than me, but I mean, I get it. And that was cool to have such a loud crowd and yeah, just have a big battle with a legend of the sport. Because yeah, Eli is a really a role model, he was a role model for many years, and he was the guy I was looking to. To fight against him today and beat him is really awesome.

I’ve noticed you guys have a lot of respect for each other. I know you respect people, you really appreciate when people put in the work, he seems to have that same thing. When you guys are by the podium, obviously it’s competitive, but it seems like, “Hey, this guy is giving 100%.”

Yeah, I mean, as long as there is no bad move on the track, I think we have to enjoy the sport. Because if you’re mad every time you lose a race, you’re going to be mad all your life. Because it’s hard, you cannot win every race. But I mean, Eli is different. Eli never talks, I always try to get some word from him, he’s not really a talkative guy [Laughs]. I mean his personality. I have big respect for everyone, and I hope that everybody is the same, but when the race is over there’s no more… I mean, the race is over. You have nothing else to prove or to show.

Okay, last question, and I kind of already know your answer because of your mindset on everything, but this is a very big lead going into this last portion of the season. You’re not thinking about “it,” but obviously, these next two weeks, you know what you’re working for every single day.

I’m going to take one week off because it’s been a long season. Many, many races since the Supercross and the motocross, so right now I’m really tired. Last week already I felt I was tired and today I was off again for the morning, so next week is going to be relax., probably on the beach somewhere. But yeah, after we had this change, the team and I, we wanted to do on the bike. We showed today that it works, so now it’s about to make sure we know why it works here and make sure it works in training, and just keep doing what we did since the beginning of the season. Working on the basics and don’t do too much of stuff before the race to show up at the race fresh and ready.

Michael Antonovich

Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.

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