Gared Steinke Racer X Interview

In Oakland, Gared Steinke of Woodland, Calif., broke through and qualified for the first AMA supercross of his life. He went on to finish a fantastic eleventh place in the main, but was unable to qualify a week later at A2. Still, Steinke’s ride in Oakland was an outstanding one, and we thought we’d better check in with him to get his take on the last couple weekends.

How did A2 go for you?
I got a good start in my heat, but I held it on way to long and overshot the first corner. I was in, like, thirteenth, and I was working my way up and ended up rear ending Parker Eckman. I just had a bad moto and didn’t make it out of the heat. In the LCQ, I was in third, but Rhett Urseth jumped over and we collided in the air. That just ruined it right there.

It looked like you were holding your hand after that crash. Were you injured?
I messed up the ligament that goes from my finger to my wrist to the point where I can’t move my finger.

How long until you’re riding again?
It’s getting good, now. I’m actually going to go do some Arenacross testing tomorrow.

Let’s talk about the Oakland round for a minute. Congrats on your eleventh place there!
Thank you, I really appreciate it.

You took the final transfer spot in your heat. When you crossed the line, did you know you had qualified?
I knew I was in ninth on the white flag lap. Bruce Rutherford passed me on the last corner, then I saw another guy on a Kawi, Scott Champion, go down right before the finish line. I knew I was in it when I saw Champion fall.

Steinke has seen his share of struggles this year, but Oakland was a different story.
Photo: Simon Cudby

How cool was it that when you did finally qualify, it was in front of your hometown crowd?
Oh, I was pumped. Me and my mechanic were going crazy back at the pits after we found out I made it. It was the coolest feeling.

What was going through your mind when you lined up on the gate for the main event?
I was so pumped. I thought I’d be nervous going up there, but the hardest part was already over. Just making a main is hard. I was perfectly fine going up to the line, it felt great.

How did the main go for you?
I had a good jump on the start, and I hit the rear brake too early or something, and came around the first corner in dead last. Then I weaseled my way to the inside before the first triple, and came out in fifteenth. I pretty much pushed the whole way. People were going down, and I knew that if I just stayed up I would do good. I was battling with Paluzzi back and forth, I ended up passing him, then I passed Ben Evans on the last lap for eleventh, and had to do a heal clicker over the finish line.

What? I didn’t even see that!
Yeah, I did a fat heel clicker over the finish line.

Nice! Was the track as slick as it looked?
It was actually really tacky. When we were doing the parade lap, it was just pouring down rain. I didn’t think we were going to be able to do the triples, but we jumped them every single lap. I thought it was pretty tacky.

How big were those whoops in Oakland?
They were gnarly. Big enough to where I was jumping them the whole way. That’s pretty big if you have to jump them.

What was the intensity level like in the main compared to what you were used to?
Oh, it’s way gnarlier. You can hear the fans yell out there in the main when there is a good pass or a battle. You can just hear them go crazy when there is a battle going on. It gets you that psyched-up off the gate because you think they’re cheering for you. There’s so many people on the gate, and it’s just carnage almost the whole time.

Let’s change gears for a minute and go back a few weeks to Phoenix, where you missed transferring out of the LCQ by just one spot. How frustrating was that?
I wasn’t too frustrated, because I was close, and I actually got the Asterisk gas card, which was an extra $250. I was pretty stoked about that. With that check, I actually made a little more

What’s worse, crashing out of qualifying, or missing the main by one spot?
Missing the main by one spot, because you know that you were so close, yet so far away.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
If I’m healed up enough, instead of doing San Diego, I’m going to do the Reno and Sacramento Arenacross races. Then I’m going to continue training for the outdoor nationals in that seven week break. Then I’ll go back to Seattle and Utah, hopefully I can put it down there.

Who has been helping you out?
Mike Metzger and Mob Syndicate, Wade Bone from Team Sinister, Rodney and Max from Fly, DT-1 Air Filters, and Lane from Tucker Rocky got me Smith Goggles right at the last second before the main event. I had no tear-offs, so he helped me out a lot. Dr. D Pipes, Factory Connection suspension, LAT Oils, my parents for paying for all the races, my girlfriend for sticking there for me, just everyone, thanks.

Congrats again, and good luck for the rest of the season.
Thank you