Interview: Dan Reardon

Dan Reardon had a mixed opening weekend in the UK Arenacross series in Belfast going 4- 11 in the Superfinals , but it wasn’t due to a lack of speed! Bad starts meant Reardon had to come from behind a lot and getting caught in another rider’s incident ended his chances of a top five of podium result on Saturday night.

But, despite the frustration, Reardon gave us his time to talk about his weekend, supercross in Australia, the potential for world supercross and the latest Aussie sensation, Jett Lawrence.

This is a bit different from Australian supercross! How did you find the opening two nights?

We are ten minutes after the main event and I am super frustrated! The tracks, they just breed a different style of racing. Tonight honestly I feel and I’m not the only one that feels like this, we’re stuck. If you don’t get a good start it’s very, very difficult to come through the pack. There are too many insides are working, it’s quicker to go roll, roll, inside than jump anything – it’s frustrating.

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I didn’t have a good start, I actually started coming through the pack half decent and then a rider was down in the whoops, I knew he was down there but then the next lap, and for safety reasons I totally get, they pushed his bike in front of him to save him. But I came round and saw this green bike in front of me and had to low side to stop from hitting him, so I just lost all those positions back again. It was a frustrating and a frustrating weekend.

You looked quick though!

I’m always going to be quick, it’s just making this style of racing work, you know what I mean?

How do you practice for that, supercross is intense but there are a lot more rhythm sections?

It’s a different intense. This style of racing, it doesn’t have much flow to the track and I get it, you are in small venues and you can only do what you can do. I’m not ripping on the guys building the track or anything like that. I understand the situation but even my practice track is three times the size. For me to practice for the next round, I will just keep doing what I’m doing.

Are you going home in between rounds?

I’m going home tomorrow (Sunday). I’ve only been in the country for three days and I’m only just getting over jet lag now and I jump on a plane tomorrow! It’s been fun, at the end of the day it’s still been fun and that’s what I come for, to enjoy racing dirt bikes. I enjoy being in this part of the world racing and the team is awesome, Fro Systems and offset CBD. It’s been good to meet all these guys and put the pieces together. The bikes look amazing, I think they are the best looking bikes in the pits, we are having a good time.

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The Australian supercross series seems to have really picked up a level going from what I have seen, are you enjoying that? You were going quick there against the Americans!

Yeah, Australia had the biggest turn-out in history, we had nearly 35,000 turn out at the last round in Melbourne, which was amazing. It’s really good for the sport, it’s great the Americans come as well, a lot of them I’ve raced over the last ten years or whatever.

We finished on the box, finished third and was on the box a lot the whole season. It wasn’t the best season for me, I had a couple of big crashes which is a little but unorthodox. I bruised four vertebra at the second round so that was ongoing for the rest of the rounds, I punctured a hole in my hand at round four and then I dislocated my knee and tore my ACL at round five or six or whatever it was so it was a rough season but all in all I think we did pretty good to end up where we did.

I’ve heard Chad Reed talking about it and I think Feld are interested in doing a world supercross series. Australia seem to be positioning themselves well if that ever comes to fruition. Is that something you would like to see?

Totally. It would be nice to see supercross like the GPs are. To have world supercross actually around the world in different places. I know the Australian guys have pushed hard to get one in. I believe Singapore, a venue there or somewhere in Asia just because the population is so big. Japan, that is where the majority of the bikes come from, so it makes sense. I think it would be great.

I’m worried I’m going to miss out on that scenario because I’m a bit of a dinosaur now! I’m not as old as Chad is, I’m 34 and I’m probably the oldest guy here tonight, I think my teammate is 16 or 17 on the 250!

Talking of 16 year olds, Jett Lawrence just went quickest there at A2 in free practice, he won a race in EMX2 at Assen at 14, now he’s as quick as anyone in the 250 supercross class at 16! Do you know him and what are your thoughts on him?

The Lawrence family, they are only about an hour and half from me and we used to see them at the track all the time. I remember those boys when they were on 60s and 80s and so forth. They are an awesome family, they have sacrificed a lot for the boys to go and race in Europe and now America. They are on a great team, the Geico team is really, really good, that was a home for me for a couple of years as well, so they are in good hands. Jett is riding amazing, it would be awesome to see him on the box.

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He is very calm, not much fazes him, a lot of Aussies coming over seemed to have that, Reed, Ferris, Waters. You guys seem to not be intimidated by coming over and racing ‘the stars’ of MXGP or supercross, it’s impressive.

If you are comparing to the world circuit then all those guys don’t really get intimidated by one another. If  you compare them to let’s say there are 100 guys in Australia who race dirt bikes, then there is a probably only a very small percentage that don’t get fazed by that, probably only 5% the rest would be shitting their pants!

But yeah, Jett is doing amazing and I’m a big advocate of the sport and I want it to do really well. I love to see other Australians in America or coming to Europe, there’s a couple of Australians coming over the the GPs now so I think it’s only going to get better. I’m excited to see it develop in the next five years.

What is the secret over there? Is it the supercross you have or good outdoor tracks?

Not really, you would actually be pretty surprised. It’s petty hard to go practicing, you have to drive a fair way for motocross. Supercross, a lot of guys have their own supercross track, I have my own supercross track and they normally share it between a couple of riders. What you find is guys are investing in their career a little bit and from there they sort of blossom and find their niche, whether that is supercross or motocross or whatever it is.

Interview: Jonathan McCready

Images: Nigel McKinstry