Cameron McAdoo was consistently on the podium before his injury early in the Monster Energy Supercross 250 West season in 2023. After a significant surgery on his shoulder he would miss the rest of Supercross and all of the pro motocross championship and SuperMotocross season. Now, as preparations for the upcoming 2024 season are underway, Cameron talks to Vital MX about watching the races from the couch, his goals to win, his matured mindset, and much more.
For the full interview, check out the Vital MX podcast right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.
Jamie Guida | Vital MX: We're checking in with Monster Energy Kawasaki's #63, Cameron McAdoo. How's it going, man? How do you like that new number?
Cameron McAdoo: I was just going to say number 63. That sounds weird. Especially because I haven't earned a career number yet, but in the last two years, 2022 and 2023, I happened to be 48 both years. So, it seems like I'm 48 because I've been there a couple of years. Once I saw 63, I said, "Wow, that's different." It's kind of funny, though, because this time of year, we get so hyper-focused on our work when we get to the track, and you don't even really look at your bike like that. It definitely looks different, but I'm catching on to it. It's funny because in the first couple of months, with new numbers, you always attach them to whoever raced with them the year prior. I just see Max Anstie's number since he was 63 last year. I look forward to not changing my number and getting a career number soon.
Vital MX: You could look at the new number in two different ways. Mentally, it could be a fresh start. Or you could look at it like, "Damn it, I was comfortable with how it was. I don't like the change." Does it affect you at all mentally?
Cameron: No, it doesn't. As I said, we have so much to focus on to be our best that the number deal is unimportant. Once you get a career number, it's cool and something to consider because it's building a brand. That's what's nice about having numbers that you build your brand around. For example, in NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson was number 48. You build your brand around that, and it's something to look forward to. I also think it's good that it's something that's earned.
Vital MX: 2023 started really well for you. Five rounds in, you were third in points and had four podiums at the time. Unfortunately, it went south. At that point in the season, were you fairly happy with where you were, or did you know there were still some improvements that needed to be made and some things that you were working on?
Cameron: It almost sounds cliché, but I wasn't totally happy with my results and how things went in the first few races. There was some stuff I was struggling with. We were struggling collectively, and we had a short break before Seattle. We revisited some stuff that had worked well for us in the past. Then, in Seattle, we had a huge improvement. The result was still third, but it was a much better third. We were way closer to the front, and a couple of mistakes held me back from a better result. That felt better than my result being third place because that was all I could provide. I remember two moments on the track that swayed my race result because I did something. It wasn't like I was struggling for 15 minutes plus one. The week after Seattle, I made a few more changes, and we were really happy with how it was going, coming into the second half of Supercross. Then, we had some unfortunate circumstances, and I got injured. So, that was tough. Especially knowing how my prior two years had gone. One of my biggest goals was to race all the races. So, that was a bummer, but I got through it, and we're stoked to be back on track to reach our goals.
Vital MX: You had a practice crash resulting in a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum. How was the surgery?
Cameron: It was pretty much a full reconstruction on my shoulder.
Vital Mx: It was a long recovery, and you couldn't race outdoors. How was the mental struggle during that time, and watching these guys go race?
Cameron: It's very tough. I am a competitor. I love to compete, I love competition, and I'm just competitive. Whether it's with training or whatever. I love being able to do my job. Over the years, as I've matured, I've learned not to live my life through it. In the past, Saturdays were tough, and I would be a wreck if I wasn't at the race. I wouldn't turn it on or talk about it. I wasn't very pleasant to be around, but as I've grown, I have more of an understanding of the values in life. Life's not based around it. I've been able to find peace with it. When you're dealt cards, you take them and do what you can with them. So, this summer I would watch all the races. I just tried using it for studying. I would watch Jett or certain guys to see why they were having success or what may be holding them back. I will try and use that for my good in the future. It's very easy to simplify it when you stand back and watch it from the outside looking in. If you go to a Supercross race as a fan, it's super simplified compared to how it feels when you're in it.
Vital MX: Yeah, it looks easy from the stands.
Cameron: Yeah, it's funny. After the main events, my wife Maddie and I go down together when we're headed down to the press conference. We'll walk across the track, and she'll say, "Oh my goodness, this is what it looks like out here? Holy cow." The scale of the jumps, the size of everything, how beat up the track is, and how it looks. I'm like, "Yeah, this is it."
Vital MX: I like the positivity in the way you're looking at this season or this injury. You could dwell on the negative, as you mentioned, you have in the past. That's going to get you nowhere but negative. If you look at the positives and study it as you said, that will only help you.
Cameron: I can't sit here and say everything was positive, and I didn't dwell. I have tough days, as we all do. We're all human. I had days this summer where I was bummed on everything. I always call it feeling bad for myself. As soon as I feel bad for myself, I must check myself. We all have those times, but it's the job that we sign up for, and it's very rewarding as well.
Vital MX: You chose to sit out for the SuperMotocross season but were back on a bike. Theoretically, you could have lined up, right? You guys just decided it was best to wait for 2024.
Cameron: Yeah. I would have loved to race, and I wanted to. My team, myself, and everyone involved in my corner came together and decided that it was best for me not to race it. The upside wasn't there. My preparation wouldn't have put me in a position to have the success we feel I'm capable of. Our main focus was looking forward to the 2024 Supercross, motocross, and SuperMotocross seasons.
Vital MX: What did you think while watching the SMX series? The way the tracks were, the formats being different, and racing longer into the year?
Cameron: I thought it was cool bringing something new into our sport. There's some fine-tuning they can do, but there's fine-tuning with everything that we all do. With it being a new series and their first year doing it, I think it was a hit. The point system was very interesting. It didn't make a lot of sense how it would work out at first. Then it worked out that if you were somewhat in it, it was winner-take-all at the end, which was exciting for the fans. It's tough as a racer. For example, Jo Shimoda won the first race, but that race was one-third as valuable as winning the last race. That'd be frustrating as a rider, but going into that series, you know that's where it's at. It was interesting. I went to the Coliseum race, which was definitely sweet for the fans. It was set up to be between six guys and a winner-take-all for three riders in each class. It came down to the last race as well, which was cool. Obviously, there are a lot of races now. We have 31 on the calendar if you're a 450 rider, but I think it was cool that they promoted the money on the line. It brought a lot of excitement to the fans. In our sport, everything's pretty hush-hush. No one really knows what we make or what our bonuses look like unless you're in our industry. It's fun for people to know that information.
Vital MX: You're still training with Nick Wey. Have you changed anything in the program?
Cameron: We adjust and change things every year. Nick, my team, and I meet to figure out or decide what we can work on. What we feel could be improved, but everything's still the same for me. I'm still training with Nick. I still ride for the same team with the same mechanic. It's just the pursuit of winning. So, there's always change when you haven't been winning, and you want to win, but nothing significant. Just the little things we feel will set us up for the best chance.
Vital MX: You have a couple of new teammates with Max Vohland and Levi Kitchen. How do you get along with those guys? How's it been riding with them?
Cameron: Levi just started riding with us this week, actually. Max and I have been at the track a few times together in the last couple of weeks, and it's been good. It's been fun. I've known Levi a bit in the past. He's a cool kid, and Max is cool. He's pretty quiet but a nice kid. Having fresh blood around the truck and hanging out is fun. It'll be fun to get (Seth) Hammaker and (Austin) Forkner back. It's cool when we get to have five guys riding together. Then we'll be riding with Adam (Cianciarulo), Jason (Anderson), and even sometimes Broc (Tickle). It's a good group, and we have a lot of guys to push each other. So, it's fun.
Vital MX: Since you haven't raced in a while, is it easier to come back at the beginning of the season rather than in the middle when everybody is firing on all cylinders? Or having so much time off will still put you a bit behind the eight ball?
Cameron: It's not as much of a difference if you've had time off and you go into a new season rather than the middle of a season. We've all had some time off; now everything feels fresh and new. I don't think it really affects it as much as coming into outdoors halfway through. That's extremely tough. As I said about wanting to race all the races, it adds up over time. That's why you see guys like (Ryan) Dungey and (Eli) Tomac continue to get better every year. They become that great because they stack those little wins on top of each other and progress consistently for 11 months a year, year after year. That's very helpful.
Vital MX: Let's close out with this. Going into 2024, it's your eighth season in pro Supercross. Do you feel you have to do it this year? Is there any extra pressure to accomplish your goals, or is it business as usual?
Cameron: I feel that pressure every year. I don't think "Have to" is a good term because I work so hard to do that every year. For the last two years, I've been asked, "Is it win or bust?" That can be such an open term. What's a bust? My goal is to win races and the championship. That's what gets me out of bed every morning. I work really hard for that, but my goal is to do my best every time. I say this a lot and try to live by it, but I put my best foot forward every time and put myself in the best position for the long run. I'm excited for this year. Over the last couple of years, I've gained some pretty good knowledge about myself and what keeps me in it. My goal is definitely to win.