Travis Pastrana’s Big Return

Shan Moore | March 18, 2009

It was big news yesterday when Feld Motor Sports announced that Travis Pastrana would be racing the St. Louis Supercross this weekend. Pastrana has spent most of his time the past few years racing Rally cars and working on his latest project, Nitro Circus. In fact, the last race the former Eastern regional AMA Supercross Lites class champion and multi-time X-Games Gold Medal winner competed in was at Daytona in 2006 when he did a back-flip over the finish line jump.

What made you decide to race the Supercross in St. Louis?

I just wanted an excuse to get back out there for a bit, so I just decided to go out there and see of I could get back in shape and qualify. But it’s the same old deal, I’m under prepared and over enthusiastic, but it’s going to be a good time.

I’ve probably ridden more laps in the past two weeks than I’ve been able to ride in a very long time. I’ve kind of let up on riding with the last few years of Rallying, so that’s why I have decided now is a good time.

I started about three weeks ago with some base training, just trying to get out of “bad car conditioning” and back to resembling more of an athlete. And then I got back on the motorcycle a little over two weeks ago – I went down to Chad Reed’s house and he basically showed me how slow I was. I was about five seconds off the pace when I first started. This past week I was probably about two seconds off his pace, so it’s not great but I feel pretty good.

What are your goals this weekend?

My biggest goal is to just get out there and qualify. I’m not sure what my pace is going to be but I would definitely like to run a strong 20 laps and hopefully be in the top 10 at the end of it.

I believe the last Supercross you raced was at Daytona when you did the back-flip over the jump. Is that correct?

Yes, (laughs) that’s correct. That was a fun race and I led a few laps, but I don’t think I’ve actually finished a main event in AMA Supercross since ’04. But I’m excited and I’m ready to go racing again. It’s been awesome to go riding with all my friends again and it’s fun to get back into the swing of things and get back on a schedule…. and, heck, I haven’t been on a schedule in probably two or three years, I’ve just been traveling from one place to the next. So I’ve been training the best I can for this and I took the last month and spent the time in the middle of nowhere riding dirt bikes and it’s been great.

Have you had a chance to keep up with the series this year?

Yeah, for sure. Supercross is where my passion has always been. I think the race between Reed and James [Stewart] is exciting and I see it coming down to the wire.

You mentioned you have been riding with Reed. Do you see any big differences from when you raced full time?

The pace is actually ridiculous. I actually got out of this sport right as the Scrub was coming along and they’re so much lower over the jumps and the aggression that used to be for the first few laps, after Carmichael took over, now you have to run that pace for the entire race. So the pace is ridiculous and the biggest thing is how aggressive they are hitting the jumps. It’s not just jumping from point A to point B. I was doing all the jumps on the track and I was seven seconds slower, but on a Supercross track you’re in the air 90% of the time. It was cool because [Tim] Ferry and [Michael] Byrne were trying to teach me to Scrub a jump.

Tell us about Nitro Circus and what is going on with that right now.

Nitro Circus has really taken off, it got picked up by MTV and it’s been neat that all my friends that have enjoyed coming on all the trips are now getting full medical benefits and traveling all over the world with me. We are definitely pumped that the ratings are still high and that everyone is still enjoying what we do for fun.

Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.