Photos by: Yamaha
In a sport dominated by youth, the former two-time 450SX Supercross Champion Chad Reed arrives at his fifteenth Anaheim 1 Supercross opener still believing he can pad his Hall of Fame stats with more podiums, wins and even possibly one more championship. At 34 years-young—he will be 35 in March—Chad has accomplished more than most could ever hold a candle to, but talking to the Australian, it becomes obvious that, in his mind, he’s far from satisfied with resting on his past accomplishments.
The Monster Energy / Yamalube / Chaparral / Yamaha Financial Services / Yamaha rider has built a legendary resume since landing in America from Australia and some sixteen years later he is still battling with the best riders in the world while keeping Father Time at bay. Still, though, the #22 wants more and he wouldn’t mind starting 2017 off with a record fourth Anaheim 1 win, a record ninth all-time win inside Anaheim Stadium and, with that, the title of the oldest man to ever win an SX. All three of those records could be rewritten on Saturday night with a Reed win. It may seem unlikely, but we learned long ago that doubting Chad Reed is never a good play.
After the press conference today in Anaheim, I caught up with Chad for a quick interview. Hear what Chad has to say about getting older, leaving records behind when he leaves and the prospect of winning one more championship before he checks out.
Chad, another Anaheim 1 for you. How are you feeling?
I feel good!
Feeling old at all? (laughs)
No, I don’t feel old to be honest. I think that’s a good thing. (laughs) I’m excited, actually. I’m happy to be here, I don’t feel old (laughs) and I’m ready to try to get the job done. I feel like I’m in a better place than previous years, but it’s the same old saying—only time will tell whether that’s true or not.
You have three Anaheim 1 wins—tied atop the record books with James Stewart—and eight overall Anaheim wins, tied with Ricky Carmichael and Stewart. How important are getting records like those to you as you wind down your career?
You know, early on in my career, the record books honestly didn’t mean anything. I don’t know if I can honestly say they mean a lot now, but for sure as I get older and we start talking about the numbers in the all time lists, it means something. To be on the list of the people that get talked about and on the list that is so high up, it means something in my honest opinion. Early on it didn’t. You just wanted to win. Nowadays you’re appreciative of the eras, the time and the competitors you raced. To be within the top three or four in most every supercross record, it’s pretty nice.
It has to feel good to leave your mark.
Yeah, the excitement of that and the feelings of wanting to add to that. Being just four short of Ricky [Carmichael], who’s third on the all time list, six short of James [Stewart]—you want to beat those guys. It’s right there. If you were to ask any individual that was on the stage today and say, “hey, I guarantee you six wins this season.” Anyone of them would take that. That’s a lot of wins in a season, especially in this era. It’s not going to be easy to achieve, but I’m going to try.
This is your fifteenth Anaheim 1. You have prepared for this race many times and you know better than anyone how to equate how you feel on the test track to how you will do at A1. So if anyone knows where they’re at today, you do. How do you feel going into Saturday?
I honestly feel good, I really do standing here today, but I need to go racing to get any better or to work on any area that I may need to work on. I feel like I can tick the box on everything I wanted to be better at. There are some things you can over achieve and some things you may fall short on, but for the most part every individual does that. You have a feeling with the bike. Sometimes you achieve it, sometimes you don’t and sometimes you get close. I think we’re close. We needed to go racing to see where that next step will come from.
There are very few in this sport that can transcend the sport, but you’ve always been one of those guys. Times like your comeback win in 2011 was a tear jerk moment for fans that have followed your career. A comeback championship this late in your career could really push this sport to another level. What are your thoughts on that?
I think if I won a championship, I could move the needle outside of our sport, more than anybody in here. I’m not trying to be cocky, but I think it’s something I could do because of my age, my experience and I think I have a little different reach at this point of my career. Selfishly, I would love that. More importantly, I think as a champion in 2017, I would be more proud than when I won my last championship in ’08. I think in ’08 I wasn’t a great human being and I don’t think I did things right. I think I’ve come a long way and I would like that opportunity to be a champion again, to be a better champion.
In your mind, what would be a good start to the season for you on Saturday night and what kind of result would have you leaving bummed on yourself?
I think you always want to be on the podium. A win at the opener always seems to end well for me towards the championship. I know the stats, so that would be nice. A podium or a top five would be good. A top five is not a disaster. I would be disappointed, but it’s not a disaster. It’s something we can work with, but I want to win. I want to be on the podium at the very least.
Well, thanks for talking with me, Chad, and good luck on the season.