After the end of 2004, I got a call from Bobby, and he was touched. Of course, taking second place after Alesi helped. It kind of prompted me to go to the East Coast. I even went down and stayed with him in Mississippi and did some Rocky-style training. I visited his car showroom when I was there. Everything comes full circle for me. I only completed one year of the 250, and went straight to the 450. I spent the entire season with Eric Vallejo and Tamer. This was probably the best year, 2006. It was so much fun. Of course, I did the MXGP which was a mediocre experience, and I raced in Canada.
You went to a 450 in your sophomore year basically as a pro. What led to that? After 2005, there were not many options on the table. I fit the 450 much better, because my riding style was calculated and smooth. So, I have a lot of horsepower, I can do that. I managed to get into the Tamer Motorsports game. I tore off quite a few holeshots and got 11The tenth In Anaheim 2 or 3 the first year. He was one of the best pirates until the end of the season.
So the 450 was definitely better for you?
Yes she was. Four strokes in general. Back in the amateur days, four-strokes, I jumped on those and with the pressure released and all. But it fits my riding style very well. I didn’t take many chances. Just let me ride a four-stroke, rather than over-riding the two-stroke. I just let the four-stroke work for me.
I didn’t know you went to Europe. Tell me about it.
Dave at Engine Ice has kind of hooked me up with Sterm Racing in Europe. So, I raced the German supercar, ADAC German Nationals, and then I probably did half the MXPG in 2008. This was probably the most humbling experience I’ve ever had in motocross racing.
[Laughs] Everyone I’ve talked to before who’s been to Europe has a story of going on some sandy trails and being like one minute or something crazy. Do you have that story?
I do. I went to Lommel. I grew up training in Croom [sand pit] With the Tichenor, I thought I could ride the sand. I went to Lommel and we did a very poor job. I did it badly! My team was like, “Maybe we haven’t been to Lierop this weekend. Maybe we’re going to Lierop.” Nothing like anything I’ve installed on it. Just sand the bottom. It was a life changing experience. So grateful that I went there and tried it.
Langston has the same story as you. The guys who won world titles got hit on those sandy tracks the first time they went. It is something you must learn. yes. I rode really well through the German national teams, fighting the best guys in the Grand Prix, Nagl and Desalle, I was fighting with them in the German races. But then when I went to MXGP I was like, This is a whole other game. Mentally, it was really hard to ride comfortably when you are in a different world, different country, different language, different passengers that you have never seen before. It was very difficult. I remember the last moto from the last race in MXGP, I finally scored points. So, it was not for nothing.
You can’t take that from you. So, are you back in America for ’09?
Yes, I’m back in ’09. The pig thing did wonders. Yamaha BSY. Did ’09 East Coast. Just like anyone who has come back from Europe, my corner speed was amazing. My fitness was great. I’m back at 250. I’ve run two races on the East Coast. I think I got 11The tenthIt might have been my best. Then after that it just didn’t work, just kind of did the old hacking thing for two or three years. That was all I wrote.