After a year he'd rather forget, it took a lot of effort, and a deep dip into his own pockets, for former Supercross champion Chad Reed to put the pieces back together. After not scoring any wins in 2010, the Aussie was nearly written off, but in San Diego he reminded everyone why he can never be counted out.
Reed got out to a great start on the soggy San Diego track, and though he momentarily gave up the lead to fellow Honda rider Trey Canard, he remained collected and resumed the lead after Canard crashed, and carried it to the finish, marking his first Supercross win since 2009.
It was a important victory for Reed and his Two Two Motorsports Bel-Ray Honda team - one that gives them all validation that will no doubt help fuel the fires as the championship heads east.
We haven't seen you celebrate a win like that in a long time.
Because it's been a long time! It's been, what, two years since I won in Supercross? I've managed to win a race every year except last year. It was a long year and being hurt and being in that position that I've never been in was hard. To come back and to go through the craziness and the ups and downs with racing, I thought, 'Wow, if I can win a race with my name on my chest and on my bike and me funding my own program... It'd be really cool.' It's hard to put into words how gratifying it is to somewhat defy the odds. I think in the real world you really define [your own] odds, but in my world I felt that I could do this.
Would you call this one of the most significant wins of your career?
I would say it is. The first one's always the sweetest. But this has a different feeling to it; it has a special meaning. The amount of effort and work that we put into this in such a small amount of time, this is really cool. For me, I've been through this. I've won 39 of these now, but I'm more proud for the team and all the sponsors.
It looks like Bel-Ray has been a big part of this for you.
For sure. Bel-Ray is re-launching their marketing campaign and getting back into the sport and becoming the elite oil of motocross and Supercross. Really without them I wouldn't be here. I'd be in the stands or in some box drinking beer and enjoying the show. But they made this possible. Yesterday I was just at Indianapolis at the Dealer Show [with Bel-Ray] signing autographs and I flew in here last night for the race. So it's a great, great feeling because I know they're going to be excited about our win tonight.
It really looked like you stayed smart and that's what brought you the win.
I felt like I put myself in a position, too. You can be as smart as you want or as fast as you want but at the end of the day you still gotta do those twenty laps and you gotta be fast, you gotta be smooth and you gotta be smart. Overall I'm just happy to be first and my competitors that are all in front of me in points have all had nights that allowed me to make some good points up on them. Overall it's a really positive weekend.
Were you keeping an eye on that gap you had over James Stewart for a while there?
I was gauging myself after James and keeping that gap the same. Then I don't know what happened; I guess he stalled. But it was just a great feeling to be able to ride strong and be able to gauge off those guys. I felt like I was in complete control. I honestly didn't feel any point where I was in a sort of fluster like, 'Oh man, I gotta go,' or like, 'I suck here or there,' I felt really calm; I had some great lines and just made it happen.
We've seen you making steady improvement, but did you see yourself getting on top so quickly this season?
Yes and no. You always kind of expect it. As a rider and athlete you put the effort in to achieve this goal. But in a sense, I think it's also very early when you step back and understand what we've come back from and see how far we've come in that time. It's very soon for us to win this race.
We've traditionally seen that you get your traction out west and really gain momentum back east, so are you feeling in a good position right now that the championship is leaving California?
Yeah. We're going east now, but this is not a win where you think, 'Okay I've made it; I'm where I need to be.' No, I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement. I need to be faster, I still need to get up the speed earlier and quicker in practices so there are weaknesses that we are working on. I need to put myself in these positions where you get starts and you ride out front and you can capitalize on being out front and having the advantage of nobody around you.