MXA INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: DETROIT WINNER JORDON SMITH

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JordonSmithKTMDetroit2017Jordon and the Troy Lee Designs KTM team celebrate his first-ever 250 Supercross win in Detroit. Photo: KTM

By Jim Kimball

After taking a podium finish in Minneapolis at the Supercross 250 East Coast opener, many were caught off guard by Jordan Smith’s speed. Not Jordan though, especially after taking his first Supercross win in Detroit this past Saturday night. Not only did Jordan win, he battled through the likes of Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis, who set the fastest qualifying lap times, as well as Pro Circuit Monster Kawasaki’s dynamic duo of Joey Savatgy, and Adam Cianciarulo. Another big upside of his first-ever Supercross win is that he has now moved into second place in the 250 East Championship points. And all this happened after Smith was forced to qualify through the Last Chance Qualifier in Detroit.

JORDAN, CONGRATULATIONS ON TAKING YOUR FIRST SUPERCROSS WIN. Yes, for sure it was a big night for me. It was definitely filled with ups and downs. I had a good practice, but then in my heat race, it did not go so well. I fell twice, went off the track once, and had to go LCQ. But it ended up being my first LCQ win, and my first main event win all in the same night.  So, it was filled with ups and downs, but I could not be any happier right now.

HAVING TO GO TO THE LCQ, AND EARNING A POOR GATE PICK, YOU HAD A DECENT START. A lot of the guys that were in front of me in the gate pick seemed to just pick their gate just to the outside of the person before them, and there was one gate that was pretty good on the opposite side of the gate.  It just had a rock in it, so my mechanic, Christian, got the rock out and I got off to a great jump. I could not really see any one to my left or right. I think I probably had the jump on everyone. As I came into that first turn I had to cut over really hard, then someone hit the side of me and shoved me to the outside. So, I ended up getting shuffled back a few spots. From having to go through the LCQ, I felt a little tight. It took me a few laps, and a few minutes in that main event to really get going, but once I did, I really felt like I was catching Dylan (Ferrandis) and Adam (Cianciarulo). Then Joey (Savatgy) fell in that corner by the stands, and I was able to get by. It was a tough night. The track was really slick, and it was just hard not to make mistakes, so I think I did a really good job with that and battled until the end.

IT SEEMED LIKE ALL THREE OF YOU GUYS HAD LITTLE ISSUES WITH CRASHING, OR NEAR MISSES. Yes, for sure. Like I said, it was a really though night. There were a lot of rocks in the dirt. Also the dirt was like glass out there in some spots, and the sand section was really treacherous. For me to battle my way through was pretty intense, and the last couple of laps battle with Joey was pretty crazy.  My throttle was wide open; I was not thinking about the track or how tired I was — I was just pushing hard, and ended up getting it.

JordonSmithDetroit2017Jordon started from the outside, because he came through the Last Chance, and forced his way into the first turn—creating a chain reaction crash. It worked out for him, but not Zach Osborne. Photo: KTM

YOU RACED AGGRESSIVELY OUT THERE, BUT YOU DIDN’T RIDE DIRTY — AS WE HAVE SEEN A LOT OF THIS YEAR. It has been very aggressive and I have been bumped a couple of times — which I think I would have had a little better finish in a couple of races if I would not have been. In Detroit I told myself that I was not going to let that happen to me again and whenever Joey got me, which he did, I just tried to get him back as soon as I could and I was able to make the pass. He was not expecting me to come back like I did and I caught him a little off guard. I tried to get a little tougher out there because that’s how it is right now. We are all so close to the same speed and the tracks have been really hard to pass on — so, that’s how you have to be if you want to win.

YOU WERE AT GEICO HONDA, BUT YOU WENT TO THE TROY LEE KTM TEAM, OBVIOUSLY, A VERY GOOD MOVE. It has been a great move. Everyone at Troy Lee Designs KTM has been awesome to me. Troy Lee was in Detroit and it was cool to have him here for my first win. Plus, team manager Tyler Keefe’s birthday was the next day, so I got him a win for his birthday. I think it has been a good decision for me and I feel really comfortable with the team.

detroit supercross-podiumThe Detroit 250 East podium: Joey Savatagy (left), Jordon Smith (center) and Adam Cianciarulo (right). Photo: Brian Converse

YOUR WIN MOVED YOU TO SECOND OVERALL IN 250 EAST POINTS. DID YOU EXPECT TO CHALLENGE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR? I knew coming into the season that I was going to be able to battle for some wins. I have had problems with consistency over the last two years, but I felt like I was going to do better this year. Everybody was talking about Joey and Zach—rightfully so. Those guys were riding really well, and were the guys to beat. I wanted to be a part of that talk, but I knew that I had to prove myself to do that. So, I am really excited to get my first win.

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