Turning pro in 2013, North Carolina’s Shane McElrath has been with the Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM ever since. Coming in under the radar in 2017 250 West Coast Supercross he won the first two rounds. Leading in points much of the series; Shane would later suffer a mechanical issue, and see his championship hopes dissapear. Now in 2018, McElrath has won another Anaheim series opener. Can this be the year the quiet spoken KTM rider wins his first championship? We caught up with Shane McElrath after his first win in 2018.
BY JIM KIMBALL
SHANE, DID ANAHEIM 1 GO PER YOUR EXPECTATIONS? Well, maybe halfway yes, it did turn out as I expected. Coming into A1, it is easy to have expectations, and very easy to think about everything that you don’t need to think about. The week we just had a normal week of doing our normal routine. I just tried to stay focused, and remain that way as far as what our goal is; which is to come in, give it our all, and fight until the end. And it just happened to be that we took the win again. It is not what I expected. I did expect to get good starts, to race and to fight. But I did not expect it to be in the front the whole time. These guys are going to be tough, and it is the same goal as always. Just go into every weekend and do our best. Right now we will put in a big week coming into Houston, focus on putting our best foot forward, and fighting until the end.
I FEEL THAT YOU CAME INTO 2018 A BIT UNDER THE RADAR; WOULD YOU AGREE? I don’t really know, because I don’t really care about the gossip. I don’t really care about all the social media websites. I will get online every now and again, but it is generally in the off-season, and I just want to see what is going on, and how people are doing. I am a big fan of the sport, but I just try to focus on me. I know from last year what I needed to work on this year, we are going to keep learning every weekend, and see where we need to make improvements. It is always a learning process and I feel like we made good use with our team during the off-season. I believe that we can still do more and be more, so it should be good.
SOME MAY FORGET THAT LAST YEAR YOU WERE LEADING THE POINTS, BUT THEN HAD A DNF. Yes, and that was pretty surreal. I never have been in that situation before that. I got my first win at A1 last year, and a lot of things happened at the same time that I was not really expecting or ready for. I did not know how to handle being the red plate holder. It was a bit of a struggle at first; but still we were there to race. It was a bummer to have the mechanical issue, because we were really having a good battle for the red plate and the championship. It was just one of those things, and a freak accident. It was just a faulty part that was one in a million. It was a bummer to see it slip away like that, but at the same time it really relieved a lot of pressure. So this year, I learned from that, and am really looking forward to the challenge.
It was a bummer to have the mechanical issue, because we were really having a good battle for the red plate and the championship.
AND NOW, HAS IT BEEN A YEAR SINCE YOU HAVE RELOCATED TO FLORIDA TO WORK, AND TRAIN WITH TYLA RATTRAY? I went there in June of 2017, we were there until the end of August, and I spent three months there. Then we were in California for a little bit. I ended up getting married and had a little downtime, but we went back to Florida at the beginning of November through December. We definitely put in our time, and it has really been a big benefit having a base there, being able to ride with faster guys, and really just working with all them. These guys have the proven results, and it is cool to be under their wing.
WITH TYLA, YOU ARE CLOSE TO ALDON BAKER’S PLACE RIGHT? Yeah, that is actually where we at. Aldon owns all the property, but the property is somewhat split in two, and we call ours the 250 side. We have our own building, our own shop, our own gym our own Supercross track, and our own outdoor track. They also have the same thing on the 450 sides, except they have two Supercross tracks. It is a pretty big deal down there. But it’s very cool now that KTM has built a factory Supercross test track in Murrieta.
YOU MADE IT LOOK EASY BY GETTING THE HOLESHOT, AND THEN LEADING EVERY LAP; WAS IT? No, it was definitely not easy! I was pushing as hard as I could out there, and I had a clear track in the beginning. That is what good starts do for you, so that is why I put a lot of emphasis on my starts. It is going to be a tough year. Some of them did not get a good start, and they were not really able to close the gap, so that tells you how important the starts are. The track was actually really technical, and was demanding just because it was so easy. It just feels good to ride an aggressive race.
No, it was definitely not easy! I was pushing as hard as I could out there
WRAPPING UP SHANE, WERE YOU ABLE TO LEARN A FEW THINGS WITH THE BIKE? Yes, today was probably the most that I played with my suspension. This track was technical, and it was really tight, especially in practice when the track was a little muddier. Initially the lines did not get developed very well, so the bikes were not working very well. But it really came alive during the night show. That was when the track really worked in, the lines started rounding more, and it became a racetrack. We are just going to do a little bit more this week, and really find the very best all-around setting.