Even with all of JGR / Suzuki’s Chad Reed‘s podiums, wins, championships and all-time SX records—some that will likely last a long time—here he is again in 2019 with his now patented expectations-be-damned confidence and doing exactly what he’s done for a couple of decades: racing at the front against the best SX riders in the world and continuing to pad his “Hall of Fame” stats in the process.
The 36-year-old is now up to a record 246 career 450SX main event starts with a record 132 450SX career podium finishes after his 3rd place overall finish at the Detroit SX “Triple Crown”. The record Chad really wants, though: his 45th main event win and the title “The oldest rider to win a 450SX main event” that comes with it. I quit betting against Reedy a long time ago, and from the sounds of his answers on Saturday night, he’d like to be around through 2020 to do it.
After Chad increased his all-time 450SX podium record to 132, he answered some questions from the press about his latest podium finish, battling with the best “kids” of this era and how and why he continues to want more.
Congratulations on the podium. Physically, how are you feeling?
Physically, I feel fine. It was a fun day. Right from the beginning, I felt okay. For me, it’s not always about where you’re at [in qualifying]. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like to see myself up there in the top ten in practice, but I don’t ever get too stressed on being 14th. It definitely gets old, but… (laughs) I definitely felt racey. I felt with a good start I could go. It was fun. The track was challenging tonight; fast-paced, whoops were tough. Yeah, it suited me tonight.
How’d it feel to pass Eli Tomac back?
It’s always good to pass the kids. (laughs) It doesn’t matter which one but like Cooper said [in the press conference], it was the guy that was on fire tonight, so it was nice. It was good, actually. I tried to latch on to the back of him, and I found a few good lines from him.
Can you talk a little about getting JGR their first 450 podium finish this year? Not only getting the podium, but doing it for the JGR guys?
At this point of my career, I’m the fill-in guy. I’m the ambassador of the sport. It always feels good to get up here and do your job. Make no mistake about it, I do this because I believe I can be here. I don’t work my ass off during the week to get the positions that I have. It’s been extremely frustrating week in and week out for the last few years, so to have a night where you go out and you’re fighting for those top positions, it’s fun. That’s something I’ve been used to. You get in the back and you fight with guys that just… Their rhythm is completely different. The more forward you go, they just race forward. They race you a little bit more fair. They don’t jump from one side of the track to the other. It’s enjoyable. For me, it’s an honor to be a part of JGR. Coy [Gibbs – Owner] and J-Bone [Jeremy Albrecht – Team Manager] believed in me and gave me a position this year. I moved to North Carolina, and I’m having fun there. We changed the bike a lot this week and for me, it’s always nice to have [their] trust in me and give them a result like this.
How did you feel about that crowd today? I think a lot of it was for you.
It was fun! They’re consuming a lot of CBD these days. (laughs)
As your career has advanced, how has your training changed? Do you have any tips? There’s a lot of riders at your age that race at the amateur level.
Just working hard. It doesn’t change—like the grid. Everyone always asks me: “What keeps you coming back?” For me, it’s the everyday grind and the traveling. I wish we were like MOTO GP and I got to pack a passport every weekend and we got to travel the world. I’ve been traveling the world since I was 11 years old and I just love it. The thought of not doing it freaks me out. This is possibly my last year, but it scares me saying that. It really does. We’ll see. I’d like to come back one more year, and get that opportunity to say bye and thank you. Kind of like tonight.
Being on the podium, what’s your first initial feeling right now? Is it a feeling of relief knowing you can do this or a motivating feeling that makes you want to do it again?
I mean, it’s a combination of both. The one that is probably really frustrating is, you’re wired one way and that never changes. The last few years and even now, I’m already thinking of what we can do better, the areas I feel that I struggle and how can we implement that into bike settings and directions so that I can be the best that I can be. Like I said, I think that’s how it is. For me, it’s always been that way. I’m a thinker and I love testing, unfortunately. (laughs) It’s a relief for sure. A massive relief! Just for me to finally be up on the podium. JB [Justin Brayton] has the record that I really want [oldest rider to win 450 SX main event]. (laughs) We kind of had a vet national in the first race this weekend. That was fun. I got some steps to go.