Motocross Legend Warren Reid
Legendary motocross rider Warren Reid shares his advice for trainers and riders, tells us how he developed the skills to build his bike, and the stories behind it.
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MotoAmerica is the OFFICIAL Sponsor of Pit Pass Moto!
MotoAmerica, home of AMA Superbike and North America’s premier motorcycle road racing series, is thrilled to announce that it will partner with Daytona International Speedway to host one of the world’s most prestigious races – the DAYTONA 200 – during the weekend of March 10-12, 2022, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The 80TH running of the DAYTONA 200 will feature increased competition from more manufacturers and an international contingent of racers coming over to battle with America’s best for the $175,000 in prize money that’s up for grabs. .
In addition to the DAYTONA 200, the MotoAmerica weekend at Daytona International Speedway will be the opening round of the 2022 Mission MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship, marking the first time Baggers will race on the high banks of a Superspeedway with speeds expected to exceed 160 mph, and also the first round of the Twins Cup Championship. Joining the Baggers and Twins Cup will be the ever-popular Roland Sands Super Hooligan national championship. All three classes will run two races during the Daytona 200 weekend.
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Pit Pass Moto is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Producer Leah Longbrake and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow.
[00:00:15.350] - Dave Sulecki
Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm Dave Suleki.
[00:00:24.350] - Dale Spangler
I'm Dale Spangler. And this week our guest is former motocross racer and legend Warren Reid. Moto America is the official sponsor of Pit Pass Moto. Moto America, home of the AMA Superbike in North America's Premier motorcycle road racing series, is thrilled to announce that it will partner with Daytona International Speedway to host one of the world's most prestigious races, the Daytona 200, during the week of March 10 to 12th, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The 80th running of the Daytona 200 will feature increased competition from more manufacturers and an international contingent of racers coming over to battle with America's best for the $175,000 in prize money. That's up for grabs.
[00:01:09.930] - Dave Sulecki
In addition to the Daytona 200, the Moto America weekend at Daytona International Speedway will be the opening round of the 2022 Mission Moto America King of the Baggers Championship parking. The first time Baggers will race on the high banks of a Super Speedway with speeds expected to exceed 160 mph and also the first round of the Twins Cup Championship. Joining the baggers in the Twins Cup will be the ever popular Roland Sands Super Hooligan National Championship. All three classes will run two races during the Daytona 200 weekend. Tickets are on sale now at Daytona Internationalspeedway.com or by calling 1800 Pit Shop. This week's race recap is Anaheim Three, which is round six of 17 took place. And I'll tell you another bar and burner. We had our fifth winter out of six races in the series so far. Jason Anderson takes it home. He qualified first on the night and just looked hot. Really got challenged a little bit by Eli Tomac in the main event, but he wins height, too, and takes the whole shot in the final and looked strong all night. It was great to see him on that Kawasaki out front.
[00:02:24.830] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, whoops. Whoops. That's all I can say, man. Those whoops on that track at Anaheim three were absolutely just taking riders down left and right. And as the night wore on, the track became difficult and slippery. If you couldn't do the Whoops, you were in big trouble at this race. Jason Anderson, Eli Tomac, Justin Barcelona, the top three, those guys all seem like they were rock solid. I did see Anderson struggle a few times in the Whoops. If it wasn't for those whoops, I think they would have been a little tighter racing. But yeah, Anderson holds on, takes the win over Tomac. It seemed like a pretty strong statement for Anderson to challenge Tomac head to head like that and come out as the winner.
[00:03:07.670] - Dave Sulecki
So here we go. We've got all the guys on the new bikes for the year, winning all the races. So it's been epic and it's been fun. And in a 250 class, we just kind of saw the same thing. A lot of action in the Whoops, but Kristen Craig strong again, takes the home. But I thought the news on the night was Vince Freeze with his career best second place finish on that Honda. He got the whole shot in the main. Craig challenged and passed him, but he was able to hold on. So it was great to see he wasn't affected so much by the Whoops, but a lot of guys were, man.
[00:03:39.240] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, it was. Crashes galore. It seemed like in the 250 class with some pretty big names getting taken out. Joe Shimoda crashed his heat race and was out for the night. In the main event, Nate Thrasher, Juliet's Wall and Hunter Lawrence all had crashes in the wood section. And again, I think it would have been a little bit of different top three had some of these racers not gone down. But as you mentioned, Dave Craig is just rock solid. Ends up putting his name into the record books as only the I believe it was the third or fourth time someone has swept all three of the Anaheim 250 Supercross main events. He now puts his name in a group of riders with the likes of Ryan Villa, Poto, Ivan Tedesco and Ernesto Fonseca. So some pretty big name company there. This week's Industry Spotlight focuses on the progressive international motorcycle Shows Outdoors Tour. As the nation's leading motorcycle tour connecting enthusiasts with a wide array of power sports brands, IMS Outdoors recently announced the dates and locations of its 2022 tour. The experience focused events will bring back popular two wheel and four wheel demo programs, ebikes shopping, custom and vintage bikes and music, while also offering more chances for enthusiasts to engage with brands and their riding community.
[00:05:09.790] - Dale Spangler
Ims Outdoors 2022 will span eight cities across the US, bringing more opportunities for attendees to engage with power sports culture. The series will revisit free markets that hosted the indoor version of the international motorcycle shows Colorado, Arizona and New York and returned to five markets that IMS Outdoors visited last year Chicago, Pennsylvania, Atlanta and Northern and Southern California. Tickets go on sale March 24, and for more information, go to motorcycle shows.com.
[00:05:57.830] - Dave Sulecki
We'd like to welcome to Pitpass Moto, former professional motocross racer. A lot of us consider a legend in motocross. Warren Reed. Welcome to the show, Warren.
[00:06:08.390] - Warren Reid
Hey, how are you doing, Dave? Thanks to beer.
[00:06:10.650] - Dave Sulecki
Awesome. We appreciate you taking the time. As you can imagine, I'm a gentleman from your era, let's say, of motocross. So I've probably got a billion questions I could ask you, but I wanted to start with first, Where's Homebase now? And what are you currently doing?
[00:06:25.700] - Warren Reid
I was born and raised in Southern California and grew up in Orange County, but I lived when I was 31, I stopped doing all my own independent stuff. I was racing, and then I had a cabinet Melbourne contracting business. And then I went to work for Honda 32 years ago and moved to Pennsylvania in 1990. I lived there for 17 years, and then I moved to Georgia in 2007, and I've been down here ever since. And this is pretty much where I'm going to stay. So looking through a lot of the interviews that you guys have done, I'd say we probably have a lot of connections on the road race side. Surprisingly, that I'm a motor crosser, but you'd be surprised.
[00:07:09.850] - Dave Sulecki
As you mentioned, you grew up in Southern California, which was kind of the center of the universe for motorcycling, and you've touched so many names in the industry and in the sport by being around so many of the brands and so many of the people. I mean, what was that like for you as a young man growing up?
[00:07:26.250] - Warren Reid
I think the biggest part of it was Motocross was new. When I was, you know, I turned ten and 68, and then it had only just gotten to America. All the other kinds of racing were very popular. Of course, dirt track was huge in Southern California, especially at that time. So we all knew going to ask dirt tracks on Friday nights and the Saturday night TTS every so often. And of course, then when Motocross happened, it exploded everywhere, along with all the dirt track races that were all over California, too. A lot of people don't realize how many National Champions in dirt track came out of the California area through the 50s and 60s. So Motocross was growing there. The weather made it happen. I think the Stingray bicycles really propelled motorcycle riding, especially. And then once kids saw that, you could get them with an engine that was the iPhone of the 60s and 70s with the dirt bike. I'm so glad I grew up then. And I got to know so many people just in racing because we all kind of hung and everybody did a little bit of everything early on. And it was only till about the mid 70s when people started specializing.
[00:08:44.710] - Dave Sulecki
I specifically liked the mention of the Stingray bicycle. And I just think back to you on any Sunday, that opening scene and seeing those kids on those bikes. But I think riders from that era and yourself included, were deeply involved with their motorcycles and developing the bike, the bikes they raced. I mean, you yourself have been a guy who has done a lot of hands on modifying and making bikes work better. What was that like and how did you develop those skills?
[00:09:11.530] - Warren Reid
Well, I think I was really of the same mindset that so many of the hop up, I'll call them hop up people, performance people in California, whether they're dirt track guys or motor cross guys, two stroke, four stroke, it doesn't matter. They were all guys. A lot of the younger guys watched a lot of people that fix stuff for themselves figured out how to make stuff faster. A lot of these guys came out of the military. World War II, Korean War. There was many, many more people that fixed stuff in the military than there was the people that fought. So these guys all, no matter what their jobs were, they could take motorcycles and figure out how to make them work, how to make them better. Try this, try that. They could work in a machine shop. They would do things from making pipes to doing frames and suspension and designing different seats and tanks and handlebars. And it was like kind of apps are for smartphones, all these people developing that. But it was grassroots. Nobody had to go to College to learn it. They just did it because they loved it. People are naturally inquisitive and very ingenious at coming up with new ways to do things better.
[00:10:26.940] - Warren Reid
And that's what all of us kids as we came up, it just continued on. And if you think of how many, especially in California, how many farm kids from around the country served in the military and then ended up staying in California. And it was a lot of manufacturing in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and these guys grew up fixing tractors. You had to they had to figure out how to make things work. All those type of personalities just found motorcycles, and it was so fun and you could ride so many places and so many clubs. It really was an amazing time. What I just described is why Americans came to dominate the worldwide racing. Motocross came to America in the late 60s. By the early 80s, we'd won two of the three world Championships and the motocross and trophy nations, which we did for the next 14 years or something. Road racing. We went from no American ever won a world Championship. And then all of a sudden Kenny Roberts and Freddie Spencer and Rainey and Lawson and Schwarz, the list just keeps going. That all grew from the American ingenuity, not College people, but just people that love doing stuff and were ingenious with figuring out how to A, go faster.
[00:11:58.510] - Warren Reid
And there was lots of other guys to race with and B, how to make stuff better. And everything worked along together. And it was uniquely American, it really was. And you can see the rest of the world followed and tried to mimic that ingenuity and fun. And everybody's kind of equalized now to a certain extent. But that mentality is especially, I think, with a lot of guys that are my age, really loved, and it is a huge part of our life. And no matter what we ever did after that, that's still our connection together and to a sport into a time and a culture.
[00:12:40.580] - Dale Spangler
So, Warren, I've read descriptions speaking of the 70s and the kind of that golden age of motocross that everybody calls it. I've read descriptions of how that the Trans Am and the Trans USA series back then were just huge events with riders like Roger DeCoster, Hikey, Macola, Graham, Noise, all coming to California and offseason the race. Tell us about that period from your perspective, and do you think it may be I know the answer to this already, but do you think it helped American riders elevate their racecraft, being able to compete against the best riders from Europe?
[00:13:12.550] - Warren Reid
Absolutely. Because in two things with Motocross, there was so much local competition, of course, in California, but everywhere else in the country. And I got to be the fastest in his county and the fastest in the state. And then he'd go ride nationals. And then if he got really good, the best riders in the world will come over for the Trans Am and the Interims every year, and they get to race against Tecoster and Belky and Wheel and Aki Johnson and Sylvania Bowers and Torson Hallman. So they got to gauge themselves against the absolute very best. And if you think about that, the fact that those went over a series of races, too. So it wasn't just a one time deal. They could see how these guys trained. They could see how they practiced, what kind of lines they took, how they interacted with their mechanics, with the engineers, and all of it worked. And then again, for America, the competition was so much. That's why it was such an exponential leap in capabilities, whether it's engineering capabilities, riding capabilities. For example, myself and my friends, we would go to Saddleback during the week while the transaction series was going on, and you'd see the Europeans out there practicing, especially the Aster he was out there practicing the most to watch the absolute most precise rider in the history of the sport on hard packed, slippery dirt, take an open two stroke around dirt like that and not be sliding out, not being able to just go so fast and he looks so smooth.
[00:14:52.270] - Warren Reid
And we got to watch this. That's like going to Los Alamos and watching Edward Teller develop nuclear theory and stuff like that and just be able to watch every day, every day, every day, and realize how their brain works, how they think, how they do everything we have year round, whether we had all this time to go practice and practice against each other and compare our notes and talk about things, it was so cool.
[00:15:19.590] - Dale Spangler
I think I saw, too, where at one point in your career, somewhere around 85, you raised the Ascot Flat Track National. And then in that same year, you raised the Austrian 500 Grand Prix on an ATK. And then I think further on that year, you raised the BMW in the Baja 1000. Seems like you've raised about every facet of off road motorcycles. So how did those experiences come about? Kind of almost seems like you're like the Ryan sites of the 80s. You just go race all these different types of events.
[00:15:49.190] - Warren Reid
Yeah, I did. I had a factory ride for all four Japanese brands and then plus the ATK and then the BMW. But because I talked about the going to watch Ascot dirt tracks before I ever really started racing, it was something that we did and get to see that. And then my first motocross races were at Ascot Park on Wednesday nights and night racing. When it came time to put a full time into my motocross career, I didn't want to stop riding and racing. And I still felt like I was as fast as I could be competitive in any kind of racing. And I knew I could endure track and road race, although I didn't road race because of the super bikers events that I did. And I'd never been on pavement on a motorcycle in my life until super bikers. And I was getting on the front brake so hard going into corners that I'm riding the front wheel going into corners the first time. So I figured out I could probably be pretty good at road racing her track with just 20 minutes of practice. And I think I approved it. But I did go out and I wanted to raise her track because I called it the Steve Wise rule.
[00:17:07.190] - Warren Reid
They allowed any rider, there was an expert, a full expert in any type of professional racing could automatically get an expert racing, dirt track, motocross, road race. So I was expert in all three. And then plus Speedway. I had a Speedway license. So I think I was the first guy that had and maybe the only at one time I had all four professional license on my card. And one of my biggest regrets, I don't have that AMA card anymore. But I did ride the Ascot TG. The White brothers, Dan and Tom, were both friends of mine since before I ever raised a motorcycle because they worked at the Yamaha shops near where I lived. And so they supported me when I went to track. And then the first dirt track I rode in 85 was on Saturday night in April. And my brother Wayne and I were very close and he's a good mechanic. So after the Ascot TT on Saturday night, we drove all night to Hang Town and then got there about 3 hours before the gate open and slept in the van till the gate open. And then I went in and rode the 500 national on ATK on the very next day.
[00:18:21.730] - Warren Reid
So less than 15 hours from one dirt track national to a motocross national, that was pretty cool. That was pretty cool. And two weeks later, I wrote a Grand Prix in Austria. I'm pretty sure I win that competition the most buried within a short period of time.
[00:18:46.700] - Dave Sulecki
I guess kind of like what Tony Stewart's done is he's traveled across the country to raise two events. And what people should remember about that is you are one of the first guys to do it on a four stroke in the 500 MX class. So that's going way back to Hang Town when you did that, I thought that was pretty fascinating.
[00:19:04.750] - Warren Reid
Yeah, it was very good. The HK was very good at horse. Leitner, the engineer owner that developed it, was the guys super smart and as funny as I was, remodeling his house through my cabinet contracting business and racing for him on the weekends. And I needed the racing to support my cabinet shop until I got up to full speeds. So it was a pretty good match.
[00:19:33.250] - Dave Sulecki
So when I think back, looking at your career, what I've read and seen and some of the things you've told them, all of that talent kind of coalesced at one point. And there was a happenstance at the Pittsburgh Supercross in I don't think you've publicly gotten full credit for this, but skimming the Whoops, which is something that nobody prior to that had really tried, maybe not intentionally anyway, but you had gone out there and done it intentionally and kind of developed, I think, a new skill for Supercross. It's still being used today.
[00:20:07.370] - Warren Reid
I always knew I did it. And what was funny was I had gotten acknowledgement of it. I went to Texas to watch the Supercross. This was in the 2000s, I think, right. David Bailey was announcing after the races, we're out near the pitch and hanging out, and David was wheeling through and hey, we started talking and he said, what do you think about all those guys using your technique? And I'm still kind of cocky. I said, well, which one? And he said, going across the top of the Hoops, I go, oh, yeah, I go, that's pretty cool. I need credit for it, though. And actually he did an article in Racer X. He used to have a monthly column and he wrote about myself doing it because 83 was the year he won the super cross title and the Grand National title. And I beat him in the semi back then. You wrote a semi in a main. Not like now where you go right to the main. I would cap in every lap on that section and on some of the other jumps. So I was a jumper. I'm not a jumper anymore, but I was a pretty good jumper back then.
[00:21:17.970] - Warren Reid
And I think we had to be a lot more precise with jumping back then because of the jumps were peakier and including the landing jumps. So there was no margin for error. Your front wheel could never hit the top of the landing jump back then. Never. If it did, you're done, you're going to crash. There's no way around it. It's going to be a bad crash. That is one of the things that they've done with the tracks to make them a little safer. Now they've added so many jumps that I think now that the biggest risk to the riders is that if they get out of rhythm, where they're going through the Hoops, coming across off the tops or on rhythm sections with multiple jumps and multiple patterns to do it. If they get out of rhythm, it gets really ugly, really fast. And I think and I really feel strongly that the injuries that we see so it seems like more of is because when you crash now, you're not landing on flat ground and rolling or skidding. You're hitting into the face of a bump or a jump and you don't roll, you don't skid, you don't anything.
[00:22:30.390] - Warren Reid
You just stop organs. Our bones hold all of our organs in. And when all your organs keep moving and the bones stopped and it causes big problems. But the skimming across the top thing, I originally started doing, it like a lot of people on sand Hoops. And as long as your front wheel hits the top of the very first bump in any series of bumps, if your front wheel, you put it down right on top of the first one, then what happens is with a throttle on the bike will stay level and just keep continuing level. If your front wheel hits the face of the first bump or any bump thereafter, then the energy of the front absorbs so much that all your weight and the rest of the weight of the bike come forward, too. And it compresses more than normal. And then everything. Then the only place for all that energy to go is up. It can't go forward. The bumps in the way or the jumps in the way, it has to go up. And that's when you see the guys get out of rhythm. All of a sudden they start going bucking Bronco, because the front wheel dropped in between them and hit the face of one of the bumps or the face of a jump.
[00:23:42.230] - Warren Reid
And that's when the thing launches and starts launching. If you're on a rhythm section or it starts bucking Bronco.
[00:23:48.890] - Dave Sulecki
If you're in the Hoops section and it seems like we saw a lot of that. I don't know if you're following the current state of motocross and Supercross, but in this last round at Anaheim, we saw a lot of everything you just described, Warren, where if things get out of rhythm, it's pretty much over and there was just a lot of carnage because they had a tough set of wheels this last weekend.
[00:24:08.920] - Warren Reid
That's one of the things that if I was a trainer for the riders, like a riding trainer, not just a physical activity trainer, but I would have them practice getting out of rhythm, whether it's the jumps or the Hoops, because very often, especially late in the main, the track starts deteriorating and you start getting ruts and kicker bumps as you leave a jump or going through the bumps or you start getting down past attraction. Now you're the harder pack dirt and the wheel spins off. It spins off sideways and especially going through the Hoops. If your wheels aren't perfectly lined up, it starts getting ugly. What I would like to see on the hoop sections is that they vary. They eliminate the consistent pattern. In other words, make them so that all of them aren't the same. They all aren't exactly parallel to the direction of the travel. They're at different angles to the direction of travel. Make some higher than others. Make some with a little bit steeper face than others. Make a little bit different distance between each one. Put a big one right in the middle that there's no way to skim across.
[00:25:24.270] - Warren Reid
You have to set up for it. One thing it will do is the speed that they're going by the time they get to the end, because you notice they almost keep accelerating as they go through. That's the only way to keep it going. And if they're not pulling hard, straight back on the bars and with the throttle on, it actually makes the rear end stiffer and it'll stay level. But as soon as you have to back off a touch and then that front wheel drops, it starts getting ugly. When you saw the fastest guys, what did they start doing at the end? They started just doing Hops, Anderson and Tomac. At that last race, they started going instead of just blitzing across tops. And they saw that maybe it wasn't the fastest, but it was the easiest to control. Like a quarterback, you eliminate the chance of an interception, right? Well, a Supercross got going through the Hoops. You eliminate the chance of a huge mistake. You have to sometimes you have to take the risk to win and it bites you, no question.
[00:26:33.480] - Dave Sulecki
Definitely the subject of many of the message boards lately is the quality of tracks and protecting the riders. And it's something in your career. We know you've seen a lot of and help develop and set the tone for the future. And Warren, we could honestly talk for hours. We've got so many things we could ask you, but unfortunately, our time is running short. So as a close out, is there any way for fans to check in on you, whether it's Facebook or any of the social media platforms?
[00:27:05.260] - Warren Reid
Yes, Facebook media or Getter, I still keep involved. I'm retired from Honda after 30 years and I'll do occasional schools and I'll do various promotions and things like that and looking forward to doing a little bit more of that type of thing in my retirement and still do a little bit of cabinet work here and there. I enjoy creating awesome.
[00:27:27.750] - Dave Sulecki
Warren, we really appreciate you taking time to spend with us on Pitpass Motoman. Thanks for spending time today, man.
[00:27:33.340] - Warren Reid
Thank you so much.
[00:27:47.150] - Dale Spangler
Thanks again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment please rate and review our show we'd really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pitpassmoto.com where you can check out our latest blog in our brand new store where you can get your very own hit pass Moto swag this has been a production of evergreen podcasts A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson producer Leah Longbrake and audio engineer Eric Koltnow I'm Dave Sulecki and I'm Dale Spangler see you next week on Pitpass moto.