Of all the privateers, Alex Ray, may be one of the most loved by fans. His ‘sketchy’ personality and loose program keep us glued to what he’s doing on and off the track. Alex talked to The MotoXpod Show after his trip to the Paris Supercross about racing overseas, his wrists, and his program for 2023.
For the full interview, check out the YouTube video right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.
Jamie Guida - Vital MX: You recently raced the World Supercross event in Melbourne, Australia, and Paris Supercross. How’d did those go for you?
Alex Ray: Neither one of them really went well. The first one I got knocked out five seconds into the first main. And then this one at Paris, the first day went super rough with my chain breaking in the whoops, and then crashing in the whoops again. My knee swelled up, I got a Charlie Horse in my legs, and just crashing. Dumb stuff. The second night went a lot better. No crashes but was definitely off the pace. Definitely rusty. I just wanted to do laps. I just wanted to ride and have fun. It was still a great experience. It was fun to say the least. I tried pushing a little bit and then I kept getting sketchy. But we went in with a softer setting with my suspension thinking it was gonna be a hybrid track, not super peaky, but we were wrong. So yeah, went all the way in on the clickers and made the best of it.
Vital MX: Can you take anything away from this weekend that you can be positive on other than your wrist never really bothered you?
ARay: Yeah, that's pretty much the only positive, right? It's been tough, I've had 10 surgeries here in the past couple of years. Seven on my bad one. And it's been a lot to come back from. But yeah, I was stoked. In Melbourne it was a bit sore afterwards, but this race, I had no issues with it. That was pretty much my only takeaway. Like I said, I was a little bit sketched out with my suspension being soft. I didn't really wanna push too hard. I was off the pace. But hey, we did the laps. I was a little bit skittish in the whoops with my chain breaking also. So, I just stuck with the jump line, even though I crashed with the jump line that one time. But yeah, it was definitely a tough weekend, tough mentally, just not being where I wanted to be. But I'm in one piece still. I mean, my knee swelled up like a bowling ball. I could barely get up the stairs. I was in a lot of pain, but just take it away that my wrist is getting there.
TJ Smith – MotoXpod Show: Does “backing it down and just finishing” work for a rider like you?
ARay: Sometimes backing it down and riding the way I did, it's mentally shitty. The mental side of racing and backing it down and being off the pace, it almost hurts me worse than going out there and wadding my shit up. If I’m giving it a hundred percent and I wad my shit up getting sketchy, I know that I've given it a hundred percent. You know what I mean?
Scott Thomson – MotoXpod Show: What were your overall thoughts on the WSX and Paris SX events? How were the tracks, fans, etc?
ARay: Melbourne was great. The atmosphere was awesome. The whole World Supercross thing, I didn't know what to think coming in. I hadn't done the first one. So yeah, I mean it was a new team and a whole different atmosphere. But I liked it. These races overseas, they're very low pressure. You go there, have fun, you get to experience things outside of racing. If you show up a little bit early, you can go and adventure. You see stuff that you've never seen before. You're traveling the world, riding your motorcycle. It's something that you have to sit back and realize even though the racing may be shitty, the outcome or the result might not be what you want, or you might be struggling on race day, but at the same time you're in a different country somewhere that you've never been before. You get to experience the cities, the different people, the languages, the different foods if your stomachs can handle it, or just the whole different vibe of racing a motorcycle in a different country. I'm on the back end of riding a dirt bike, so who knows if I'll ever get that opportunity again. I had my fiancé, Sam, there as well. She had been to Paris before, so she was a little bit of my tour guide. We experienced all kinds of different foods. We went to some cool places, wine, saw a lot of cool things. I really just took it all in outside of just being there to ride my motorcycle.
Vital MX: You are no longer with the SGB team. What is your plan for 2023?
ARay: I got a new agent, Don Maeda, from Swap Moto Live. We're putting together something. Obviously, I’ll be Enjoying the Ride with O'Neal, so that's gonna be good. I'll have some of my same sponsors that I've had for quite a few years now like O’Neal and HJC. I'm gonna be on Blue Cru. I just got that whole deal sorted. I'm still gonna be on Maxxis tires. We have Pro Taper onboard, Dubya Wheels, just a lot of great people. Don, he's helped me out over the years and we're putting a cool program together. I'm trying to figure out how to get my bike to the East coast for races right now, but other than that I'll be out of my van for the West coast rounds. Who knows, I might get it wrapped. I don't know. We'll see. But yeah, it's coming together pretty good.
Scott: You rode for the HEP Suzuki team, and I wanted to know what you liked about that team and where your perspective is on where they're gonna be in the next couple of seasons.
ARay: I rode for Dustin and that HEP team back in 2019. It was my best overall Supercross result. I was 19th in points after Supercross. And the team has grown and gotten way better since then. The platform they have with that Suzuki, I mean, yeah, it's a Suzuki, it's got a freaking kickstart on it. Everybody knows it. It's not that big of a deal. That bike is still one of the best cornering motorcycles you'll ever have, and you'll ever ride. They have pretty much perfected that Suzuki it seems. With their engine package, their electronics that they have on the bike, their suspension technology that they have with Showa, their suspension techs. That bike is an amazing motorcycle. That bike can win races. Everyone over there, they worked their butts off. They have good backing. They surrounded themselves with amazing people to work with and that bike is great.
Scott: We had a listener question who wants to know if you're gonna be able to compete with Chiz now that y'all are on the same bike?
ARay: I hope so. I mean, shit. I hope so. A lot of people forget, he's old, but he was a factory rider though almost the first 10 years of his freaking pro career. He's been one of the guys, he's national number 11. That's his career number. You don't just get a career number by being an average racer. He's an amazing human being on and off the bike, and I just hope that I can be somewhere close to him this year.
Vital MX: We need to see you healthy and consistent this season.
ARay: Yeah. I wanna show up to every race. I wanna get all this racing outta my system. Because this is looking to be the farewell tour. You can't do this shit forever. I feel like it's to the point now where I've used my body up and then some.