HOW DID YOU BECOME AN MXA TEST RIDER?
MXA Managing Editor, John Basher, was out at Wyvern Ranch shooting photos with my friend, freestyle rider Lance Coury. I was hitting jumps and hanging out with Lance. John called me up a few days later and asked if I was interested in doing photos. At the time I was an amateur rider and didn’t have any contract obligations. The first bike I rode for MXA was Tommy Hahn’s KX250F when he was riding for MotoSport Outlet, which appeared in the June 2008 issue.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MXA MEMORY?
It had to be scrubbing a KTM 505 out at Gorman [laughter]. That was such a behemoth of a bike, but I still managed to lay the bike flat. I found a little bit of dirt that was piled up and got the KTM as flat as I could. I didn’t think that I was getting too crazy, but the photo looked insane! You could see the whole underside of the 505. It was also cool to get a feel for a couple of different Pro bikes. I rode Jason Lawrence’s Yamaha of Troy YZ250F, James Stewart’s KX450F (and got my first cover in February of 2009), Chad Reed’s Yamaha YZ450F and also his RM-Z450 Supercross bike. I remember how stiff Reed’s suspension was. When I turned Pro and started doing testing I asked for my Supercross suspension to be a little stiffer than what the other guys were running. Knowing how Chad set up his bikes really helped me figure out what I wanted on my race bike.
WHO WAS TESTING BIKES AT MXA WITH YOU?
Dennis Stapleton, Daryl Ecklund, Taylor Kelstrom, Willy Musgrave and Larry Brooks were also test riders for the two years that I was there.
WHY DID YOU STOP BEING A TEST RIDER?
When I turned Pro and signed with the Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda team my contract stated that I couldn’t ride any other bikes or wear other gear. Since I was always wearing different gear and riding every kind of bike while testing, I couldn’t feasibly continue without creating conflict. I do miss my time testing for MXA. I rode every kind of bike imaginable.