Even though his 2019 Monster Energy Supercross series ended due to an injury a while ago, Chad Reed's not ready to throw in the towel on this year. Not even close. "I just have a burning desire to want to race," Reed told me the other day on the Moto:60 show. "Budds Creek, Red Bud… I think I'd rather go there as a spectator. I like riding Red Bud. Racing Red Bud is not always the same amazing feeling that you get from actually riding it, but Budds, obviously it’s close to Charlotte too, so it will be nice. First, I want to get healthy, get back into shape. If I still have a bike then start riding and then go from there."
What? Chad Reed racing a national this summer? Yeah, maybe, because even though his injuries kept him out of the rest of supercross, Reed seems to want to do something this summer. Chad runs a VIP program for his supporters at the races and so after the injury, he ended up still coming to hang out and watch from the press box. Watching the races has convinced '22' that he wants to race in 2020 and that he can still be competitive with anyone out there.
"I just think that the reason why I can still be here and still be competitive is because I love it but, besides that, there is no greatness out there, in my opinion. There's no Ricky [Carmichael], James [Stewart], Jeremy [McGrath], RV [Ryan Villopoto], Dunge [Ryan Dungey] and these kind of guys. People are going to love and hate that answer, but I just don't see greatness. I really don't. I think that's why I want to come back.
"The last five weeks I would say the most positive thing to take from the last five weeks of just removing yourself from that day-to-day grind and then just being in it so deeply on the weekends is watching it for really what it is. It's kind of motivated me. There is X, Y and Z that I need to do a couple of things. I really think it's real. It can happen. I can still be competitive." Reed's always been a believer in himself and mentally has to rank as one of the greatest racers ever. Even though he is 37-years-old, there is nothing that he sees out there that is stopping him from being more than competitive.
Really, before he got hurt he was succeeding out there week-to-week. Was it the Chad Reed of 2004? No, but he made a podium, got a top five and was more than respectable at the other races. JGR Suzuki got a hell of a deal with Reed compared to their number one signee this off-season, Justin Hill.
It seems like it's a natural fit for JGR to bring Reed back and for him to go back there, but there is no title sponsor for JGR right now and Reed, who is rumoured to be riding for no salary this year as he was a late addition to the team, would surely not do the same deal again. He has earned a nice payday in my eyes. Does he see himself back there for next year?
"I don’t know. There is a lot going on behind closed doors over there, for sure. I hope so," Reed says about the JGR team that's downsizing for the nationals and, although they are going racing in 2020, might not be on the same level. "It's my first choice, first and foremost. That's the goal is to continue doing what we are doing. I don't think it was a very successful season. I expected more but, with saying that, I was happy. I achieved a podium. I achieved getting closer to what I thought is possible. For me, it's just about you want to carry that momentum and you don't want to go relearn another bike or a team anything like that. The goal is to keep pushing on and ride some outdoors.
"Hopefully, maybe I can help and contribute a little bit on that side of things and really just start riding supercross a little bit here and there. I think coming from basically… I hate to say it, but I was a fill-in guy this year. I was pretty good. I wasn't too bad. I got a podium. I really thought that right when I was starting to hit the ground running and the bike started to feel like mine. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and got landed on."
There is no quit in Chad Reed and that's a good thing for our sport, where he takes it from here will be interesting to watch and after an injury-filled 2018. It was good to see that Reed didn't all of a sudden suck. He's still either the first or second most popular rider in the sport, which says… Something for our sport I suppose. I want to see him back racing, he sounds very motivated to keep racing and the sport is better off with him in it.
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: ConwayMX