CORONA, Calif. – After more than 200 Monster Energy AMA Supercross starts and nearly two decades of racing motorcycles at the top level of the sport, GEICO Honda 450 rider Kevin Windham still doesn’t need much motivation to keep doing what he loves.
“I talk to so many people about what I do and what they do,” the 34-year-old Windham said. “I hear so many stories and most people can’t imagine being a professional motorcycle racer. Me, I can’t imagine being anything but a racer.
“It’s all I know, and the past few years, I’ve really learned to appreciate it.”
Part of that appreciation is about the fans, who have universally adopted the oldest active rider as a favorite at every stop on tour.
“What the fans do for me and the faith my sponsors have shown me is hard to put into words,” Windham said. “The fans are so much a part of what I do. The popularity of the sport is at an all-time high and the crowds seem to be cheering for me louder every year. The feeling of a sold-out crowd is incredible.
“They push me to earn their support by trying to run up front and be a threat to win a race or two. Their cheers set the standard and their energy gets my blood pumping.
“The guys that have sponsored me are the best in the business. GEICO, Honda, MSR, Planet Fitness, DVS, Spy, Gaerne Boots — they all play a role in this and it’s vital to our success.”
During this most recent off-season, Windham saw how far his popularity extended when he attended several races outside of the Supercross world.
Windham rubbed shoulders with NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Casey Mears as a VIP at the GEICO 400 and he was equally popular among the drivers and crews at NHRA and Superbike races he also attended.
“GEICO opened a lot of doors for me this year,” Windham said. “The things I’ve seen and done really makes this a dream job.”
As it is with any career, Windham said being a dirt bike pro isn’t all about screaming crowds and flashy transfers.
“There’s a few things I don’t like about what I do,” Windham said. “The No. 1 thing is crashing. I don’t like that at all. It’s also demanding to be at the top of your game all the time. It’s a young man’s sport, and I’m aging.
“But it’s such an amazing feeling to go out and race a motorcycle, it’s worth all the effort you put in to be the best you can be.”
Windham knows his career won’t last forever and he already has an eye toward the next phase of his life. But he still wants to squeeze every last drop of joy for racing before he hangs up his helmet.
“You try to be safe as you can in a sport that’s really dangerous, but you still want to be competitive.” Windham said “As long as I can balance my family and my other career paths, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.”