At the MXdN last year, we caught up with the two hosts of the extremely popular PulpMX Show, Steve Matthes and Jason Thomas – both guys are well-respected within the industry for their careers in different areas of the sport. We picked their brains to get their take on a few of the leading riders that will be in contention for the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross title. Keep an eye out for the inaugraul MX Vice magazine (that will be released in the very near future), as the full interview is going to be published in there!
MX Vice: Is it difficult to watch [James] Stewart not be the main guy? You have seen him his whole career as “the guy” so is there any sympathy for him, or wishing he could be the James Stewart that everyone remembers?
Thomas: I wish that he could ride like the old James Stewart, just to give [Ryan] Villopoto more of a challenge but…
Matthes: I just think [Jason] Weigandt put it perfectly with him – he is a car with a lot of mileage. He isn’t that old, but he has been involved in a lot of crashes and they all add up.
Thomas: Mentally too, you don’t want to get hurt anymore. His willingness to push that envelope is not what it used to be.
MX Vice: Anytime he seems to try to do that now he falls and gets hurt again.
Thomas: Yeah, it’s one of those things that I ran into big time last year , and I am not comparing myself to James, but I think everyone goes through this at some point, on some level they are getting smarter. Getting smarter is not always a good thing when it comes to being a good racer. I think he starts thinking about the consequences a lot more than he used to and that is not really a good thing when you’re trying to win motocross races. I don’t think he is willing to put himself on that edge like he used to.
Matthes: Just look at his crashes!
Thomas: I think the only way you can crash like that is if you are fearless.
Matthes: I think if Villopoto started eating shit like that tomorrow, he would slow up…
Thomas: It is impossible not to think about stuff like that when you keep pushing the envelope, and keep crashing, at some point you are going to think about toning it down by 5% in order to finish.
MX Vice: Do you think that was what happened to Chad Reed this year?
Thomas: I think there were a lot of things going on with Chad this year, mentally and physically. It is really hard to point at just one thing as the reason why he was slow.
MX Vice: Can he come back to being the same guy that he was in 2012 before the crash?
Thomas: Definitely, he can, he just has a lot of work to do.
Matthes: Chad is headstrong man – when he has that chip on his shoulder it drives him, and he is at that point right now. I don’t think he can win titles, but I think he can get back on the podium, and that’s fine. If he can make the podium and be a top five guy at thirty-one years old, and be as popular as he is, there is nothing wrong with that – that’s fine.
Thomas: I think beating Villopoto consistently is a pretty tough goal, but I think that he can get back in that group at the front. I think he can do that. He did it at times early in the season this year, and he was way off where he needed to be. He has everything there it is just getting his body back where he needs it to be.
MX Vice: The thing I noticed about Villopoto in supercross this year is when it comes to passing he is not dirty, but he almost says to the other guy: ‘if you don’t shut off here we are both going down.’ It’s working for him at the moment, because he gets by and Dungey gets stuck behind, but is that something that could bite Villopoto in the future?
Thomas: I think everyone realises what Ryan Villopoto is doing to everyone at the moment. So, you kind of get the benefit of the doubt and they kind of move over. Villopoto is probably going to make the pass on them anyway, so he gets that extra room, and that is a big benefit. I think they know that Dungey struggles to pass as well so they make it tougher on him, they know if they can close the door that Dungey won’t force it open.
If you have a rider that is much better at passing and one that is much worse and the riders racing you know that then it accumulates and works against you even more, because they will make it more difficult on the rider that isn’t good at passing. It was a huge difference during the whole supercross season, Villopoto would get to the front immediately and Dungey would take five laps and the race is over.
MX Vice: How do you think Roczen and Tomac will do in the 450SX class next year?
Thomas: I think they will do good. I think Tomac will be better outdoors than supercross as far as being able to run at the front. He is not going to win the supercross title or anything like that, but he will be good. I think outdoors he will be there.
Matthes: If you think about it, you are adding Tomac and Rozen to Barcia and Canard who will be stronger next year too – it’s going to be gnarly.
Thanks to Steve Matthes and Jason Thomas for their time.
Interview: MX Vice Staff