SALT LAKE CITY — For the last 20 years, Chad Reed has made a living racing motorcycles at the highest level.
He’s a two-time Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX champion, the 2002 Eastern Region 250SX champion and earned a combined (450SX and 250SX) 50 victories during his lengthy career, with 44 of those wins coming at the 450SX level.
But on Sunday in inside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, Reed will end his full-time racing career and bid farewell to the sport that has been so good to him for so long.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Reed said during a Thursday conference call with media. “Right now I still feel very amongst the racing and training and riding.”
This season was meant to serve as his farewell tour, with Reed planning to compete across the country during the 17-race Supercross schedule so he could say goodbye to the fans that have supported him for so very long.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing fans from attending the final seven rounds of the season, Reed won’t get to say goodbye to the fans on his terms.
“This is the end of a full-time racing career. I no longer have that burning desire to work year round to do a 17-round series anymore,” Reed said. “Obviously with the ending that we’re currently experiencing it’s far from what I pictured as my last seven races.
“That doesn’t need to be a negative. It’s not that I’m talking that these races suck or anything like that, it’s just a very different feeling. I decided to race this year fully based on the fact that I wanted to kind of say my goodbyes and enjoy multiple stadiums around the country and I didn’t get that opportunity.
“We’re really six stadiums short of what I originally had planned out to do.
As a result, the Australian won’t commit to Sunday’s race being his final Supercross event. The chance to race in front of a packed stadium one last time so he can say goodbye properly may be too much of a draw for the 38-year-old competitor.
“As I sit here today and I’m in shape and I’m racing, I absolutely want to come back and race,” Reed said. “As I start to phase out and I start looking at car data and racing four wheels and all these kind of things, do I have the motivation to want to get back into shape and the work it takes to qualify and race these races? That’s the unknown.
“But sitting here today, emotionally and physically, I don’t want this to be the end right now. I really want to race some races next year. I think that would be really fun, to experience fans again.”
As Reed hinted, even when he leaves Supercross racing full-time he won’t be done racing. Last year he traded in two wheels for four by competing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series.
He earned multiple victories in that series and eventually traveled to Europe to compete, where he captured the LB Cup World Championship in Jerez, Spain, while battling other Lamborghini racers from across the globe.
In fact, Reed said it was his time racing sports cars that directly led to his decision to step away from full-time Supercross competition.
“For me the shift happened overnight,” Reed said of his decision to step away from Supercross. “I hadn’t really contemplated or thought anything other than racing motorcycles until I raced cars last year.
“I always thought as long as I love it, as long as I wake up in the morning and want to be better at it, as long as I go to sleep thinking about it at night is as long as I really want to do it. Then I started doing some car racing last year and my thoughts at night, my mind was consumed by something completely different. For me that was the sign. It literally happened overnight and that was it.”
Reed said the only thing he’d like to be remembered for is how he did things his own way. Beyond that, he said fans will all have their own memories of him and they’ll be the ones to decide his legacy.
“I think your legacy writes itself,” Reed said. “I think that what people think of me or how they remember me is their choice. I don’t know that I have a thing that I’m like, ‘I want to be remembered for this,’ because I don’t think that’s the correct way.
“The one thing that I would like to be remembered (for) is just as a guy who did it his own way,” Reed continued. “It may not have, from the outside looking in, might not have looked like the right way or the correct way or the best way, but every decision I made was the decision that was best for me at the time. I stuck by that.
“There have been teams I loved, teams I didn’t really love. I’ve been critical of people and personnel and the influence that they have. I put my money where my mouth was. I ran my own team, we were successful, we almost won titles. Running it, owning it, spending money, all those kind of things. I would just say, that’s the only input I would have on it. I always did it my way.”