Photo credit: @keirbeck
The Aussie comeback king of Supercross – Dan Reardon, is ready to take on the world’s best athletes at this year’s Monster Energy AUS-X Open Sydney, saying he “expects to beat them all,” ahead of this year’s event in November.
The 31-year-old from the Gold Coast, Queensland, says he’s excited to be back as a contender again for the national title back on Australian soil ahead of the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship.
We sat down with the legend and got him to answer the hard-hitting questions all AUS-X fans were keen to know….
You’ve had quite a bit of time off the past few months in the lead up to Australian Supercross Championship. What have you been doing during this time? Have you enjoyed the time off or has it been tough not being busy racing?
DAN – I’ve actually really enjoyed my time off. I didn’t have the usual ‘off season’ break at the end of last year because I went straight to the states to race there in January. Over the 10 week break I did a bunch of driving (drifting to be specific), scuba diving, abseiling, and we are in the process of building a house so it’s been good to have the time to work on that.
This year you’re managing a lot of your own stuff including your gear, can you tell us about your set up?
DAN – It’s something that I’ve been passionate about over the last few years, getting the Australian Motocross/Supercross industry to change their way they support top athletes. You should be able to go after and be a part of the brands and companies that you like and/or would like to work for. This goes the same for the brand itself, I know there are plenty of brands out there that would love to work with certain athletes because of their talent, speed, social profile, career accomplishments, marketability, confidence, specific look… the list can go on and on.
You recently signed with the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, what does it mean to be back with Kawasaki and also aligned with such a globally innovative and edgy brand like Monster Energy?
DAN – The history I have had with Kawasaki says it all, the bike itself is amazing, it’s light, fast, and nimble. As for Monster Energy they have such a big presence in sport worldwide, I like everything about the brand, and what they do. Creating new content of just rad stuff all the time is something I love being a part of. They’re always pushing the envelope and has a great family of amazing athletes, some of the best in the world, and I’d like to think I fit in there.
Heading into the Monster Energy AUS-X Open, what’s your attitude towards the main guys? Do you expect to beat any of them?
DAN – I expect to beat all of them, I’m confident in my process and will work hard to do exactly that.
Next to Chad Reed, some say you’re the best performing Australian rider that’s recently competed in the US – does that give you any confidence as a rider competing on the world stage?
DAN – It does, spending time back in America racing some of the fastest guys will help in this series.
That said, are you happy to be the underdog against Chad Reed? Would you say that you are? What are your plans to take him down at AUS-X?
DAN – Being an underdog in any sport is a very comfortable place to be, you can work in silence, with little expectation. I think the industry here in Australia would expect me to be one of the guys to hand it to Chad though, so yeah maybe an underdog, but not as much as someone else could be.
Riders like Chad or even Jay Marmont are paving the way to prove that age isn’t a limit in getting on the podium at Supercross. Would you say that maturity and experience is just as useful and important as youth?
DAN – 100%. I’m 31 and feel great on a bike. Mindset is huge in all sports, I think at an older age you are able to control emotions a lot easier, and deal with pressure in situations.
Can you comment on the state of Australian Supercross? How does it compare to overseas and do you think Australian riders are underrated on the world stage?
DAN – No, I don’t think Australian riders are underrated on the world Supercross scene. Our Supercross talent here in Australia drops off very quickly, something needs to be done to help these younger riders feel confident and require the skills to race Supercross in America at a younger age. If you can’t ride Supercross then the majority of American teams won’t look at you.
In light of the success of AUS-X over the last few years, what does it say about the future of Supercross in Australia? Has AUS-X affected this do you think?
DAN – It has helped our sport in many of ways, one being expanding the audience to millions and to those that have never seen or know very little about this great sport. This exposure also allows guys like myself to take advantage of meeting and getting the chance to get in front of bigger companies. These companies are numbers driven, if you can provide your reach then your marketing value will go up.
You had almost three years off competing and went through some major life changes during this time, how do you feel this changed you as an athlete?
DAN – It definitely helped me to look at my riding from a different perspective, I really enjoy riding my dirt bike, something I lost years ago when I retired.
What is your take on Australian riders and their understanding of the business side of competing as a professional Supercross rider? Do you think others have as good a grasp as you on the realities and responsibilities of being pro?
DAN – Some do, there isn’t a perfect way to grow ‘your brand.’ For the riders reading this, if you don’t yet understand that you are a brand then now would be a great time to start. Being an athlete is so much more than how you perform on the weekend.
What would be your advice be to young riders looking to turn pro, as it can be difficult to get paid to ride. What do you think is the key?
DAN – Results will still drive that train, but teams are more likely to hire someone based on potential. For example. If you are a solid 4th place guy vs a guy the has potential to win or get a podium but just haven’t quite figured it out, then a team would love to see if they can ‘fix you’ then will multiple championships.
When competing against the world’s best riders with thousands of people with all eyes on you, how do you manage to keep a cool head and not let the pressure get to you?
DAN – I just remind myself that this is what I want, to enjoy the process, and to make it work.
Lastly, are you able to share five things about yourself that most people wouldn’t know about you?
1. I drink way too much coffee
2. Every Italian restaurant I go to I always order a Tiramisu, as this is how I rate the restaurant
3. I dive head first into everything I do, mostly fades but before I know whats going on I’ve already ordered and purchased everything needed then I’m stuck with all this gear forever, e.g. Scuba diving
4. I enjoy going for a road ride with my dad in the hinterland Gold Coast
5. I love drifting my ute