In Reed’s own words, 2017 has been “the worst year ever in [his] career”. After his amazing ride to finish 2nd place at round 4 in Phoenix, Reed has struggled to get back on the podium, often times finishing outside the top 10. To make matters worse, Reed got caught up in some drama at the St. Louis race a couple of weekends ago after refusing to move over for Ryan Dungey when being lapped; he held off the reigning champ for 3 laps, a situation which ended up costing him 5 points and a $5000 fine as a penalty.
We were able to catch up with Reed after the race in Seattle, where we got his opinion about that race, his season so far, and of course, the Dungey drama.
Moto Now: Firstly, take us through your night in Seattle.
Chad Reed: Long night, but I think we can draw some positives from it. Unfortunately, it was consistent and frustrating as the rest of the series has been. Rode really tight in my heat race, [so] I think it was a positive thing for me to go the semi. I think that I found my rhythm in the semi, and I knew that I could triple up onto that table. The same lap [Eli Tomac] did, I did it also. I’m disappointed, because I was trying to go to the front with him. I was just trying to jump in behind him and go, but unfortuantely I got a rock in behind my rear brake and had to pull into the pits. When I pulled back onto the track I was outside the top 10. After that, I just put my head down, and tried to get up as far as I could.
What’s your goal for the rest of the season?
The goal is consistent with what it was at Anaheim 1. Obviously, if and when I can win, it’s a big win. It puts me as the oldest winner, and for me that’s something that I have a goal for. I really want to be that guy, so we’ll see. I really want to be back on the podium, and I really want to try and get a win.
Take us through last week. Is it hard to rebound after that? What’s your mentality with the Dungey/fine situation?
I think that everyone else made a bigger deal about it than it really was. I don’t go on websites, and since Phoenix haven’t been on my social media accounts. I was pretty oblivious about it to be honest. But yeah, I got a phone call on Monday [about the fine], but other than that, I didn’t really see or hear things. I was on my own all week in Florida, so it was business as usual. I was concerned more about my lack of performance in being a 16th place guy. That’s not the goal, that’s not why I work hard, I was disappointed. So I was working hard to not let that happen again.
What’s your thought on the penalty?
The penalty is something that I definitely don’t accept. [Bad calls from the officials] are going to be ongoing I think. As a rider, and as an older guy, out of all of these kids somebody needs to take a stance. If it has to be me, it has to be me. I just think that the particular individual involved has made bizarre calls before. It’s a very, totally actually, unsustainable penalty that he can’t hand out week after week. I have 200+ main events. Out of those 200+ main events, I’ve dealt with lappers; the Good, the bad, sometimes they work for you, sometimes they work against you. This sport is decades old, and [if] you go back to the videotapes, it’s decades old of people talking about how ‘this lapper did this’ or ‘held him up here’. [The penalty is] unacceptable.
Take us through those laps when you’re seeing the blue flag. What’s going on in your mind?
Yeah, I’m not going to comment on the race to be honest with you; it’s come and gone. There was of course blue flags, but I was in my own battle and trying to go forward.
So you expect Ryan Dungey to make the move instead of you moving over for him?
For me, it’s like you’ve been in that position. I was in 16th place, and I didn’t want to be in 16th place. I wanted to at least try and make my progress forward. It was a tough track, it was really one-lined, and the bigger issue is that. If they gave us race tracks, where you could continue to race at a decent pace and allow the leaders by, then maybe then the commentators and everything wouldn’t have to make a big deal about it.
We all saw Ryan go up and talk to you earlier in the day in the pits. What was that conversation about?
Just the obvious. It was good, it was positive. No yelling and screaming, it was all good. If I was in his shoes, I would have done the same thing.
No hard feelings between the two of you?
Not at all.
Thinking about your season so far, you had the great race in Phoenix, but then maybe a disappointing season results-wise so far for you. What’s your thought on the season?
It’s been the worst year ever in my career. It’s been frustrating, it’s been pathetic to say the least. I had a great offseason, and I expected to be a podium contender week in and week out. I expected multiple wins, but its been everything but that. It’s pretty hard to swallow after such a positive offseason. I’ve hit the ground a lot, I’m beat up from the feet up, and there has been a lot of Sundays and Mondays where it hasn’t been fun. But you keep your head down, and keep believing, and try to make it happen.
So what do you do to turn it around? I know people throw in the age question. If you can’t turn it around, is retirement in your future?
I think that for me I have a pretty good understanding, a feel for what’s real, and what’s not. I’ve been around a long time like you said, and I believe that there’s some real reasons why it’s going this way. For me it’s just knowing that, understanding that, and trying to weather the storm and be in a better place next year.
Cover photo from Racer X Online