“I have quite a few memories from my career that I cherish. It was always special racing with Ricky Carmichael. Any time that I could stay with him and, more particularly, beat him was great. Not many people can say that they beat RC that’s for sure! I also enjoyed representing Team USA at the Motocross des Nations. Being a part of the winning team in 2007 and 2008 was amazing.
“The MXDN lost its luster for a few years. The race was canceled in 2002. American support for the event was minimal. And, until I rode for factory Kawasaki, my previous teams didn’t want me to participate in the race. Things turned around in 2007 when Monster Energy and everyone else got involved. It turned into a huge team effort and made the MXDN more special.”
“A lot of people will remember the 2007 MXDN at Budds Creek. The race was on American soil, and we absolutely killed everyone. Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Villopoto and I won our individual classes and nearly had a perfect score. As exciting as that race was, winning in Donington Park, England, the following year is my favorite MXDN memory. Donington Park was kind of an unusual track, and I had difficulty adapting to it. I didn’t ride very well all weekend long.
It didn’t help my confidence when I crashed in my qualifier and didn’t get a good gate pick for the combined races. Although I had to compete against a bunch of MX3 European riders whom I didn’t know very well, I focused on beating everyone in the premier MX1 class. Looking back, I’d say that my biggest competition was myself [laughter]. I didn’t make that race very easy on myself!
“James Stewart, Villopoto and I were on the team in 2008. We had a really strong group, but it was a nail-biter. In the third and final moto, James got the first gate pick, and I got the 21st. He was out front and gone while I was buried in the pack. Then James crashed, and we weren’t going to win. I had to pass a few guys in order for us to have a chance. There was a whole lot of drama, but I managed to seal the victory. It was really cool knowing that I had the fate of the team on my shoulders. And despite all the challenges that I faced that weekend, I managed to come through for Team USA.”