A rider who rode for three teams and three OEMs in a single season might make you think there’s a problem with said ride. For Shane McElrath, who has done just that this year, it’s just another opportunity. Unfortunately, his ride with the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM team fell apart during Supercross. He then took a fill in ride for the Rockstar Factory Husqvarna team that recently ended. Currently he was given another opportunity to fill in with the Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX team replacing Phil Nicoletti. He came on The MotoXpod Show to talk about what’s been going on.
Jamie Guida – Vital MX: It was just announced that you signed a fill in deal with the Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha team. Tell us about that.
Shane McElrath: Yeah. So, I'm on team number three for the year and you know, I'm just making my way through the industry and getting to meet a lot of new people and get to work with people I've already known for a while. And yeah, just trying to try to keep moving forward.
Vital MX: You had the fill in ride with Factory Husky and you're currently 10th in points. Were you surprised at all that they did not keep you on?
Shane: Not really. A lot of people said that same thing. I heard, “dude, there's no reason they shouldn't keep you on”. From the very beginning I was filling in for Dean Wilson and all year they've had an issue with having enough parts for the new model of their bike. They let me know after Southwick. They said,” hey, Malcolm and Dean are planning on coming back to race after the break”. And for me I was thankful it turned into eight races and then I ended up being top ten in the championship, which for me is big. I haven't finished the 450 series yet. I just want to finish the year, whatever that looks like, but at the same time, they have other obligations that they must stick to. I completely understand.
Vital MX: With the way the Rocky Mountain deal went down and then the fill in ride at Husky went away, it'd be very easy for that to put you in a negative headspace.
Shane: That's where my faith plays a big part. In Scripture, we're taught that Christ never changes. And I think it's a perfect example that really whatever goes on around us, it doesn't really matter. I'm getting to race, I'm getting to meet new people. There are still so many opportunities out there that it doesn't really matter where I'm at. I'm happy to be here and I'm thankful for it.
Scotty Thomson – MotoXpod Show: What factors went into the decision to join the Club MX team? Were there other offers?
Shane: There weren’t many factors. One of my mentors, Chris Cole, he had kind of started putting a chip in my ear before my time at Husky was done. He said, “Dude, I really think you need to finish outdoors. I'll help you, but I think you need to think about that”. By the time Washougal came I was ready to get to work. I want to finish outdoors, and I want to finish strong. So, we literally went straight to work and had some bikes lined up. Kyle Chisholm was going to sell us his spare bike. I talked to Brandon Haas on the Friday after Washougal. I had a flight Saturday morning to go to California to get on the Yamaha and start riding. He mentioned Phil Nicoletti got hurt and we spoke more in detail on Friday, and he said, “we can definitely put something together”. I told him, ‘Let me talk to my other sponsors and I will get back to you”. By the end of the day, Friday, my manager had spoken to some of my sponsors, and we were able to move pretty quick. Instead of flying to California on Saturday, I drove to South Carolina on Sunday and started riding.
Scotty: What do you think about being back on the Yamaha? You’ve had a lot of success on them.
Shane: 100%. It was not a very hard decision. Especially looking back throughout my career. Since I've moved to the 450 class I’ve been struggling and getting hurt and just really getting beat down. I need to find some sort of familiarity and consistency here. The Yamaha has been making a good showing, especially in stock form. We don't have much of an option here to go and be competitive with minimal time and minimal work. With the Club MX deal I'm not just on a stock bike anymore. I've got some good parts.
Vital MX: Has being on three different OEMs in one season been a difficult adjustment?
Shane: I would say I've gotten pretty good at it. Since 2019, getting off KTM's, I went to Yamaha, to Honda, and back to KTM and Husqvarna and now Yamaha. I would say I could be a pretty good test rider and give feedback on a lot of different brands. I would say from bike to bike, it's an easy transition. Where it's hard is that next 10% of what it takes to race. On the Husky it took me four or five races before I felt I was learning this bike. Getting on the Yamaha, it's been familiar straight away. I'm really excited about it.
Scotty: Is this purely a fill in ride or is there an opportunity for next year?
Shane: That's a good question. Brandon and I spoke a little bit about that. We've been working on some stuff for World Supercross and just some potential opportunities there. Outdoors has been front and center because it's obviously going on right now. Brandon mentioned that Yamaha wants them to do a full time 450 guy in house for next year and I told him, “I'd definitely love to talk to you about that”. We'll definitely see.
Vital MX: There were rumblings of you doing WSX for Rick Ware Racing. Was there any truth to that?
Shane: We have been working on stuff with him and we also have been in discussions with other people, a couple other teams too. We've had our plate full.
Vital MX: What are your thoughts on the World Supercross Series?
Shane: Honestly, I think it's cool. Even back to when they first started doing the Triple Crowns. We're seeing a little bit of change. A lot of the stuff we do is so repetitive that little changes in what we do gets us rider's super excited. I love opposition and going against the grain just because it keeps things exciting at times.
Vital MX: How about the SuperMotocross World Championship? As a fan we want to see races all year long. On the other hand, the riders need a break where they can unwind and relax with their families. What are your thoughts?
Shane: I think you nailed it on the head. For myself and my wife and my family, we've literally been moving here, moving there, doing this or that. We literally don't get to do anything. Our whole life revolves around my racing. Joy does a really good job and she's in it 100%. But there's times where she wants to just go somewhere for a week. We can't plan that far ahead because we don't know what's going on. I want to celebrate our anniversary. It sucks because it takes away so much from life. There's already pushback on doing anything extra in our series. Now we're going to put on a couple extra, but we're going to throw in a lot of money. Dude, where's all that money been for our other series, like the last five years or something? Clearly this is the World Supercross has ruffled some feathers. I think something must change.
Vital MX: I know your career is not over, but when you look back on it, how would you describe it?
Shane: A little bittersweet. I took a lot of things for granted the first couple of years. I would say 18, 19 and 20 I was there and all in. I was starting to understand the business and understand the training. And now I feel I've had a couple down years, but I feel like I'm the strongest that I've ever been. I've had time to grow, I've had time to study, and I've missed out on a lot of bike time. I'm excited about where we're at. We don't know what God has in store for us, but we trust in him, and we don't know what it looks like or where we're going but we're content in that. I would like to think I can race for quite a few years, just like Reed and Brayton. I would like to think I could be one of those guys down the road, but we will see.