A CONVERSATION WITH RODNEY SMITH–DEC 10

A CONVERSATION WITH RODNEY SMITH–DEC 10



Dirt Bike: First off Rodney, congratulations on your fourth GNCC title!
Rodney Smith: Thank you very much. The season started off on the wrong foot for me, as I had bike problems early and DNF?d at round two. Luckily I turned it around, put in some strong rides, and finished with the title in my hands.

DB: What was the turning point for you in this long series?
RS: Without a doubt, I would have to say the Maryland race that I won just before the summer break. Jason Raines, who was leading at the time, was going really well up to that point in the series but might have been pushing a little too hard to make it to the front in Maryland and it cost him. It is certainly no good to have one of your competitors get injured, and Jason should have been thinking about the championship as opposed to just winning that race. From that point on, I just tried to keep working through the summer to stay consistent and thought that maybe Mike Lafferty could break down with bike problems. Then Mike gets hurt, it was definitely strange, but it opened the door for me, although no rider wants another rider to get hurt.

DB: Now that you have wrapped up another championship, what are you planning on doing in the ensuing years?
RS: Right now I?m going to continue racing. I signed another two year contract with Suzuki, and then I?ll probably retire. Then again, I thought that several years ago, and actually when I got into racing GNCC?s I thought I was too old then! I?ll be 39 in February, I think it might be time to hang it up in a couple of years. After that, I plan on staying in the industry and putting back what I got into the sport. Maybe I can work for Parts Unlimited or FMF, that?d be fun.

DB: Is the possibility of you beating Scott Summers in the record books loom on your mind?
RS: You know, Scott is such a good rider and what he did to GNCC racing was amazing. He elevated the sport and is an idol of mine. For me, I don?t look at titles or record books, I just go out and have fun racing. I thought I was too old when I got into racing GNCC?s, and that was six years ago!

DB: What do you think of the competition, is it getting tougher?
RS: Definitely. We?re finally getting some young guys racing, guys like Jason Raines who was doing really well but crashed and couldn?t come back healthy at the end. Barry Hawk is stepping it up, along with Mike Kiedrowski and Fred Andrews. It?s going to be a great series next year with a whole variety of different riders.

DB: The night before a race, what do you do to prepare?
RS: To tell you the truth, I don?t even get nervous before a race! I just go out and do what I have to do, I feel I have enough respect on the circuit that I don?t have to psych anyone out. I do what I have fun doing, and that is going racing. The night before the race I don?t even think about the race in the morning or the track.

DB: What was your attitude for the last year?s series in which you won?
RS: I just kept telling myself not to give up. After I had bike problems and DNF?d, I stayed with it and while I thought there was no chance I could take the title, I still tried my hardest and didn?t give up. I rode smooth and smart, but most importantly, I didn?t ride over my head and take dangerous risks that were un-needed.

DB: Switching topics a bit, what is your take on the ISDE in concerns to the team and why you aren?t racing in it?
RS: Right now, I don?t even know who?s on the team! Last time I did the ISDE, I spent ten thousand dollars of my own money in order to compete. There were no bonuses to doing it, as bike manufacturers don?t really sell bikes in Europe. Basically, no one really cares about the ISDE, I just did it for myself when I went over there. I wanted to beat all the Europeans, but now they come over to race the GNCC?s. The simple fact is that Americans and European riders don?t prepare ourselves the same for racing.

DB: In conclusion, what do you like to do for fun?
RS: I love to hang with my wonderful wife and my dogs. We love to go camping and we?ll hop on motorcycles and go out riding. It doesn?t get any better than that!

 

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