Chad Reed made history in Tampa on Saturday when he broke Mike LaRocco’s record of 227 supercross starts.
The veteran Aussie, who turns 36 on March 15, didn’t have the greatest of nights and was running just outside the top 10 before a mechanical problem forced him out.
Talking to Race Day Live’s Jim Holley, Reed – always a fierce, intense competitor who’s won two titles in the premier class and taken 43 Main Event wins in 15 years – revealed he wasn’t focusing on the record.
“First and foremost I just want to get competitive again and just get back up there,” he said. “I continue to work hard and try to put myself in a better position and obviously those numbers will keep just clicking off. Of course, I’m aware of the situation and the record but my efforts and attention is definitely more on a performance base.”
When pushed to name his most memorable SX race, he highlighted the first race of the 2003 season when – on his 250cc two-stroke debut after winning the 125cc East title the previous year – he beat Ricky Carmichael to take the win.
“They always say your first is the sweetest. I remember Ricky came off a perfect season outdoors and I was a Lites champion and I just wanted to kick his ass. We came out at the first race, I was comfortable – I’d won a race a couple of weeks before at the world supercross – so I had good confidence and as it worked out, the first of the year and I win.”
Carmichael paid tribute to his rival, describing him as the ‘new ironman’ of supercross.
“2002 was the year I earned my second supercross title,” he said. “Starting the next season I would have to deal with Chad for the remainder of my career. I was total caught off-guard by Reed and was not anticipating what was to come. He won the Anaheim opener in 2003 and the last six races of the season but luckily I managed to hold him off by only seven points.
“I raced against a lot of great and talented riders in my career but no-one ever raced me with the package of skill, speed and tenacity that the 22 displayed every time we went to the starting gate.
“Whenever he decides to walk away he will be remembered as an all-time great. It’s been a decade since I last threw a leg over the No.4 Suzuki and raced with Chad Reed but our battles over the years are hands down some of the greatest memories of my career. By far he was the toughest competitor I ever faced and tried to beat in a supercross championship.”