In the second part of our exclusive with Team USA rider Andrew Short at the Red Bull Motocross of Nations, the AMA Motocross star gives us his views on the wider picture and teaches us a moral lesson, too…
Electric bikes are being touted by some as the future. Would you miss all the engine noise of current MX bikes?
I think it’s an interesting aspect [electric bike technology], but it seems impossible to race motocross without noise, you know? The fans relate to that. But motocross is different from any other motorsport, where a lot of people can still ride motocross as enthusiasts [ie, amateurs] and still ride the same bikes as their heroes that race ride, so sometimes that gets carried away when they don’t maintain their bikes, and this [ie, complaints about anti-social noise] is becoming a problem and we’re losing tracks. We don’t want to lose our love of motorcycles by getting [tracks] shut down by the government. So, if electric bikes are the future, then that’s the best thing, because I love riding bikes – but I kinda like the motors, you know? And the technology has to come a bit further before it’s a consideration.
How do you get rid of the dirt after racing? Do you have to take three showers or something?
It’s not bad. At the race, I’m kind of dirtball, but I don’t care because I’m at the track. But when I get home, I have to scrub down or I’ll get in trouble with my wife! Mud and sand are the worst, but we don’t get that as much over here as they do in Europe. But I don’t care anyway, I’m having so much fun and dirt’s a part of it.
'I have clear skin and albino hair, so… I get made fun of a lot about my hair!'
If Red Bull Motocross of Nations: The Movie were made in Hollywood tomorrow, who would you want to play you?
[Laughs] I don’t know, I’m a pretty easygoing guy and laid-back. Hollywood is so fake, you don’t know who’s what. I guess just a good actor?
[Laughs] I don’t know about that. I have clear skin and albino hair, so… I get made fun of a lot about my hair!
What luxury item could you not live without?
I like my phone – you can see what’s going on and just stay in touch with everybody. When I’m travelling, I’m typically on my own, so being able to talk to people makes it not seem so bad. I’m on Twitter, but I prefer to talk and to hear someone’s voice – it makes it more real. I’m not on Facebook because it’s too much time in front of the computer. I live on a farm in Texas now, so I’d rather just be riding a dirt bike and doing outdoors stuff.
What other little luxuries do you like?
Er, bicycles! I have a nice mountain bike, a road bike and a cyclocross bike [a kind of hybrid of road and mountain bike]. My cyclocross is my favourite because I go down roads that most people don’t even see. I wear a helmet and other gear, and – knock on wood – nothing’s happened yet. I don’t take risks and hang it out, that’s what I’m paid to do in my day job. I suffer going up a hill, but coming down I just like to cruise and have fun. I like watching cycling, too.
'Jeremy McGrath was my hero and still is… he’s an amazing guy on and off the track'
If you were about to beat someone at poker for $10,000 in chips and accidentally saw their cards, would you confess and start the hand again?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t want to win like that, so I’d definitely tell. [“What if you’re with the boys? That’s poker!” someone in earshot chips in, and a brief discussion on the moral implications ensues…] I’m not a big poker player, but that’s my lifestyle… That’s just not my style, I wanna win it the right way.
Who’s your ultimate sporting hero?
Jeremy McGrath was my hero and still is. I’ve had the opportunity to ride with him at Honda – he’s an amazing guy on and off the track, and one of the best people to hang out with, just’cos he’s grounded and very humble. But he’s insane on a dirt bike, he can put it whenever he wants. He’s a little older now, but he’s still an amazing rider with a great personality, which is why he was my hero when I was growing up.
What five words describe Andrew Short and what he does best?
Quiet, easygoing, dirt, bikes, sleeper. I’m good at sleeping!
Andrew Short was speaking to Birgit Holzinger
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