Daniel Reardon is a former two-time Australian Champion. He has won premiere titles here in Australia, raced overseas for Geico Honda, Moto Concepts Yamaha, and JDR Motorsports KTM. After a few years away in the shadows Reardon is making a comeback to the motocross scene in a big way. Todd Jarratt caught up with him right before round 1 of the 2015 MX Nationals to see what happened, where he has been and what caused this widely spoken of return to racing.
Todd Jarratt: Dan, talk me through your 2012. You had been over in America racing for a few years and you had accumulated a few top five finishes in both the AMA Supercross and Motocross before coming back to racing here in Australia in 2011 for JDR Motorsports in the MX Nationals and then announcing your retirement mid season 2012.
Dan Reardon: “Yeah, in 2012 I pretty much knew that I was going to retire. Only myself, my manager and a few close friends at the time knew as I managed to keep it under wraps for quite a while. Long story short is that I’d had enough. I’d lost the drive and the fun and just didn’t want to do it anymore. It became too much of a job, and a job that I didn’t like. There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes with the team, the bike and my personal life that I generally wasn’t happy with. So that was it, I announced my retirement and basically wiped my hands clean completely from motorcycles for two years and in all honesty didn’t ever expect to return to the sport.”
TJ: I remember being at the Phillip Island Supercross in 2012 and you were looking after the training regimes of a few riders under your new venture in Alter Ego Elite.
DR: “Yeah that’s right. Throughout my career I’ve always been known as the hard worker and someone who enjoys the physical aspects of racing and training. I didn’t get to where I was from being talented; I got to that stage through hard work, discipline and dedication to my training, which is why I got into that industry I guess. I wanted to make the gap from America or Europe’s training to Australia’s training smaller, because not many people over here understand how big that gap actually is, and I had to experience it first hand. It was something I wanted to help our top guys over here with, so that they could get closer to the kinds of opportunities I had.”
TJ: So then, it was January 2013 and you had just closed the doors to the gym. Where did you go and what did you do with yourself for the next two years, because we didn’t hear or see of anything from you at all during that time?
DR: “Well I didn’t do any riding that’s for sure. In that whole two and half year break I rode twice and didn’t miss it one bit. I was happy being away from the sport, not hearing about it or being involved with it. I actually resented the sport for a stage there and was really bitter about it all. That’s what I was honestly going through. Then I guess the next chapter started and I headed out west to the mines for five to six months with really no lifestyle. After that I ended up driving machines, literally just digging holes I guess up until recently.”
TJ: So we are now at that stage along the timeline, where I guess you found an interest in riding again? How did the deal with Craig Dack and CDR Yamaha come about from that and how long are we going to be seeing you back at the races for?
DR: “It’s definitely not a one-year deal that’s for sure. I’m at a stage in my life where I’m so motivated at the moment, there are so many things that drive me and my mindset on racing is just like it was back when I was 17 or 18, or when I was over in America. The deal with Craig Dack was obviously late, with everyone else already having their budgets set and packages put together for the year. But a good friend of mine, Brett Whale who I rode under for a number of years previously convinced me to do a dirt track race in late December last year. It wasn’t so much missing racing at that stage that got me to ride again, but more so the competitive side of it all. I enjoyed myself and got that feeling for it all again. Soon after, another friend of mine actually Allan Bressan lent me his bike to ride and from there I literally just fell in love with it again. I was riding the driest, dustiest tracks day in day out and every time I’d finish up with a huge smile on my face, and that’s when I knew I was coming back.”
DR: “I contacted Brad McAlpine who was my mechanic a few years ago back when I was riding for JDR (who is now a mechanic at CDR Yamaha) and just let him know that I was coming back racing. I guess this put me on the reserve list so to speak as all of the deals at this stage were signed, sealed and delivered. I was just hoping for something to pop up, even just as a fill in ride here or there but nothing really eventuated because all of the normal guys were having solid pre seasons. I was actually just a week away from buying my own bike and planned on just rocking up and racing at round two of the series when Dacka was able to make room for me. I don’t know what he saw or thought of the situation, but it’s blossomed into what it is now and I’m really happy with it.
TJ: So you’ve had a couple of weeks on the bike now and a couple of pre season races as well, how have they gone and how is the setup coming together?
DR: “The bike is good. I’m still learning a lot about the Yamaha as it is a completely different machine to any other Japanese manufacturer, but I honestly love how it feels. In my time away from riding I think I have actually become less fussy and caught up in my bike setup and am now just enjoying being on it. I mean, the more I am riding the bike the more personalised it is becoming and that’s part of the general process. The pre season races for me aren’t a big deal or anything to judge off; they’re more just about running the motions of being at the races again. The preparation, the diet, the starts, the warming up, the intensity, all of that kind of thing and getting a feel for it all again.”
TJ: Coming in to 2015, what are your thoughts on the MX1 field and the group of youths that are trying to make a dent in overall results?
DR: “To be completely honest, it hasn’t changed much from when I was here doing it all two years ago. The same guys are out front and still doing the same things. I know most of them pretty well, and I actually helped quite a few of them so I know their strengths and weaknesses and now I’m going to be lining up against them. That’s something I definitely never thought was going to happen. With the young guys, there are a few starting to blossom in terms of speed, but it’s the consistency that lets them down. Coming in to round one, I’m excited. At Horsham it will only mark eight weeks of being back on a bike, and in total only four weeks on the Yamaha so things will still be fresh. The team knows that, I know that, but come Sunday I know I have done everything I possibly can to be ready. It’s crazy now, in getting up early and training, then cutting moto’s all day and constantly repeating this cycle I’m loving it and I’m excited every day to push myself. I’ve found the love for it again.”
TJ: I know you’ve got your younger brother Luke, who himself has been successful in America, in your corner for the comeback this year. How important is it to have a solid support group behind you in making a return like this?
DR: “Oh it’s huge, that’s for sure. I think all of the top guys understand how crucial it is to have people who truly believe in you in your corner. From the likes of Luke to my close friends, family and sponsors, it all helps. At the end of the day we are professional athletes, we are paid to ride bikes and ride them fast, we don’t want to be at the races fiddling with all of the small things that may waste our time and focus, so having those guys to help means a huge deal to me. In coming back, yes there has been a lot of negativity, but at the same time there has been an overwhelming amount of people that want to see me come back, that want to see me succeed, and that have noticed the passion in me again, so that’s pretty cool. I just want to go racing again!“
TJ: So you’re obviously keen to get back behind the gates then, what can we expect to see out of you come Sunday?
DR: “If you ask that same question to 75 per cent of the field you will get the same answer each time – everyone wants to win races and everyone wants to win championships. Is that what I want to do, yes of course, but was that the original intention? No, I was happy with a fill in ride so that championship mindset was never really there. I honestly have no idea of where I’m going to stack up come Sunday, I could be out front or I could be tenth. If I come out of round one around the top five mark, being just off the pace of the front guys I will be over the moon. It’s hard to say because I haven’t raced for so long, but I do know in the eight weeks leading up to now I have done everything I possibly can to prepare, and what will happen will happen. If the results aren’t there, I’ll look at myself, find the areas I need to focus on and go to work. I’m determined to make this successful and I know the team will work with me so that’s a great combination from the get go.”
TJ: To finish off, it’s been a long time away from the sport, is anyone you would like to mention in helping you get back to where you are today?
DR: “Obviously my family, Brett Whale, Allan Bressan and Kenny Hamer, really for getting me back to this stage. Then there are guys like Mike Ward who have believed in me before and continue to believe in me. I also want to say a huge thanks to Dacka, he to took a chance in putting me on this year and the whole crew at CDR Yamaha have been really welcoming thus far so we’re hoping to make it all work.”
TJ: Well, thank you very much for your time Dan. It was great catching up and I can’t wait to see that blue #122 back out on the track at Horsham this Sunday!
DR: “No worries at all mate, thank you!”
Remember guys, for all of you Apple and Android users, hop onto either iTunes or the Google Play store and download the FREE MX Nationals Event Program for all of the information, rider lists and insights to Round 1 of the 2015 MX Nationals, being held in Horsham, Victoria this Sunday 29th March!
MX Nationals 2015 – Round One – Sunday March 29th – Horsham VIC
MX1 – 450 Pro Championship
MX2 – 250 Pro Championship
MXD – Under 19’s Championship
RSR – Yamaha Rising Star Rookies
Horsham Motorcycle Club – Henty Highway – Dooen Vic 3401 Click here for map
Gates Open 7:30am
Tickets at the gate Adults $30.00 – Kids 5 to 15 $20.00 – Family 2 Adults and 2 kids (5-15) years $70.00
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