Chad Reed, 37, continues to amaze fans and fellow racers with his incredible desire to race in the sport of Supercross.
What drives a man who already owns the world record for the most Supercross starts, who’s won multiple AMA Supercross and motocross championships, been named AMA Pro Athlete of the Year, has owned his own race team and has even been honored by being named a member of the Order of Australia?
What could possibly motivate this legend of the sport to continue racing in the grueling world of Supercross at an age when most riders have been retired for nearly a decade?
That’s a question Reed gets a lot. Naturally, he has a quick retort in the form of his own question, “Why wouldn’t I want to keep racing?” he says. “I still enjoy the challenge of competition, pitting myself against the best in the sport and feeling the support from the fans every weekend.”
To hear Reed tell it, it’s a no-brainer. When most riders speak of burnout because of the long and rugged slog of the season, Reed seems to relish the constant travel and training, but he admits there were times when he hit a wall and wondered why he put himself through the seemingly never-ending rigors of what it takes to be a top-level rider.
“I think I put it down to the sheer passion I have for the sport,” Reed said. “That burns really deep and strong. I wasn’t exempt from it either. I went through a phase where a part of me almost lost interest. I got to the point where I was thinking, ‘Man, it would be nice to jump in a NASCAR car,’ or ‘Man, it would be nice to jump into a rally car.’ But for me, timing was everything.
“I got the opportunity to run my own team. So right when I felt like I was getting exhausted with the political BS that goes on within a factory race team, I was able to create my own destiny and do my own thing, be my own boss and work with my own people,” Reed continued. “I think my passion for racing has just gotten stronger from that point on. I got a new perspective, looking at things from a different angle of the sport and I think that helped give me a deeper understanding of how things work. It’s like the saying, ‘If I knew then what I know now.’ With age and experience you begin to understand better how things work and maybe why things happen within a team like they do.”
Reed was a last-minute signee for Joe Gibbs Racing Yoshimura Suzuki prior to the Supercross season. Fourth on the all-time AMA Supercross win list with 44 victories, Reed is one of the most popular riders in the paddock.
“Chad Reed is a consummate professional and I see that he has that hunger to win,” said Jeremy Albrecht, JGRMX team manager.
While certainly impressive and inspirational, Reed is no longer unique in sports for his longevity and ability to remain competitive at the highest level of competition. There’s Roger Federer in tennis, Tom Brady in the NFL and MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi.
Reed is quick to point out with a grin that Rossi and Brady are “a little bit older than I am.”
As he continues with a smile in his voice, Reed quips he was born under the Chinese zodiac Year of the Dog.
“I think maybe that makes me a little more stubborn,” Reed said. “Maybe the generation before us had one way of doing things and we said, ‘No, we’re going to do it this way.’
“Valentino is a close friend and he also has such a passion for what he does,” Reed added. “I don’t know Brady and Federer, but I can relate to a lot of the things I read about them, the things that they say and do and the unwillingness to give up.
“We also came along at a time when training went to that next level. The way you train, the way you rest and eat. I think we’ve benefited from that knowledge and undoubtedly that’s helped extend careers.”
One of the things Reed and every serious competitor in Supercross and motocross have to learn to deal with is injury.