Reason #1 – Focus and drive
Sheer talent only goes so far. At the pro level, even the most talented riders have to put in the work in order to be successful. Fortunately rookie Shane McElrath of the Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Red Bull Honda team is not scared of busting his ass in order in improve his results. In fact, it’s something he says he enjoys.
“Every weekend I learn things, and I’m excited to work and improve during the week,” McElrath says. “Really, it’s just going 100 percent during the week and coming into a race weekend knowing that I’ve done the work and am capable of running the pace.”
Reason #2 – Confidence
No matter how hard you work or how talented you are, you aren’t going anywhere if you don’t believe in yourself. Confidence can be hard to come by for a rookie straight out of the amateur ranks, but it’s something McElrath is learning to harness.
“In San Diego I had a good heat race and that really helped me out because then I knew that I was able to run the pace up front. It’s been a work in progress, but I’m starting to realise what I can do.”
Reason #3 – Top level backing
At the highest levels of the sport, just being good at riding a dirt bike won’t cut it. A racer has to be on a team with personnel, sponsors and equipment that are second to none – something that McElrath has in spades with the TLD Lucas Oil Red Bull Honda team. Instead of losing hope after a disappointing beginning to the year, McElrath and his team went to work on further developing and customising his bike to find a setup that could put him up front.
“I realised we needed to make some changes after Anaheim. Showa [who make Shane’s shock absorbers] worked with me quite a bit and it was much better at round two, and we continued to work on it. Now we haven’t switched anything for a while, and we’re on the right track.”