Toyota AMA Arenacross Interview: Thor/Honda/TUFF Racing’s Brock SellardsThursday, December 15, 2005 | 12:14 PM
Sellards in process of adding “Arenacross star” to resume that includes amateur legend and top MX and SX racer
AURORA, Ill., (Dec. 14, 2005) – Don’t look now but Thor/Honda/TUF Racing’s Brock Sellards is hot on the tail of Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series points leader Chad Johnson, cutting Johnson’s dominant performance in the first few rounds to just a 25-point lead as the series takes the next couple weeks off before returning to action at Dallas’ Reunion Arena (Jan. 6-8).
Sellards is truly one of the sport’s greats. Born & bred to rip and shred in rural Ohio (New Philadelphia), Sellards rose to prominence through the AMA amateur ranks, capturing his first of five Loretta Lynn’s titles in 1982. His legend in the 80cc and 125 class continued to grow as he won two more Loretta’s titles each in ’95 and ’97.
Turning pro the following year Sellards proved that his Loretta’s wins made him the real deal as he paid instant dividends for the FMF/Honda team, scoring three 125 class podium finishes in the AMA Supercross Series’ Eastern Region championship and finishing third overall. And though Sellards would never win an overall title, his best year came in 1999 when was runner up to legend Ricky Carmichael in the 125 AMA MX Nationals series. That year Sellards won his first National at Washougal.
The following year Sellards scored what would be his greatest pro race victory, winning the 2000 Outdoor National at Kenworthy’s in Troy, Ohio – his hometown track.
The years following 2000 would see Sellards putting up some excellent results, while battling numerous injuries – which included a chronic case of arm pump. Always a threat to podium, Sellards’ incredible threshold for pain was evident through this past season with the Boost Mobile/Yamaha 125 satellite team.
Turning the competition page to a new chapter on Toyota AMA Arenacross, Sellards insists he’s having fun racing again. Living and training recently with Ezra Lusk down in Georgia, Sellards took some time out to discuss how things are going with Arenacross this year and what the future holds in store for one of the sport’s best 125 riders of all time.
CCE: Brock, you mentioned you’re training with Ezra. Is he still fast as heck?
Sellards: (Laughing) It’s ridiculous. Blows me away the factories aren’t calling him. Ten times faster than some of the top factory guys. Retired, but he trains and runs all the time. He won’t do it unless he’s on the best equipment he feels I guess. Would rather be the guy people remember as the guy who battled with McGrath and stuff.”
CCE: Winning Toyota AMA Arenacross races, hanging out in Georgia, riding with Ezra – things sound to be going well for you.
Sellards: Yeah, things are cool. I’ve been enjoying racing the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series. Got my feet wet at Albany – first time I’ve raced Arenacross in a decade. Started out crashing a lot, got landed on in Charlotte, passed Kevin (Johnson) once for the lead and crashed again. Finally didn’t crash and I won. I guess I want it so bad I just kinda crash a lot.
CCE: Tell us about the move to Arenacross. What’s it been like for you?
Sellards: Racing Arenacross for me is like, I know what to expect motocross and supercross, but going after a championship in Arenacross is completely different. Instead of seven races I have 20. The competition is different, the way you race is different, how you pass is different. (You can) Bust out a big jump to win some races in supercross, but here it’s the start and the whoops, relatively the same every weekend. Now you’ve got to figure out how to win – making Arenacross more of a chess match, which means have to race a lot smarter. A couple important factors make all the difference. Supercross you can afford to get a bad start and work your way up. Here, in arenacross, eight minutes of racing in the main. You get a bad start and you’re done.
CCE: You turned 27 this year, Brock. You’re still winning races, putting up excellent results. Do you see yourself racing an extended career, such as Mike LaRocco or John Dowd, or do you see yourself moving on to something else here in the not-to-distant future.
Sellards: I’ve raced for 23 years, ten years as a pro, and at some point you have to do something that’ll make your career last longer - and have fun doing it. In the past I’ve trained, raced, had to win. Those were my only options. Now I’ve got other things I want to focus on, so I have to do what I like in order to put the effort into it in order to do it. I see a limited motocross schedule in the summer and racing heavy in the winter. This’ll be easy for me to be dedicated to. I’m having a blast doing what I’m doing. And with arenacross, especially, I can’t wait to get to the next round. I can see myself doing this for quite a few years.
CCE: Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series draws in competitors that you didn’t always see while racing supercross or the Nationals, mainly because Arenacross hits so many unique regions – regions that don’t feature an Amp’d Mobile Supercross or Toyota National Motocross. Are you enjoying racing against guys that are new to you?
Sellards: It’s most enjoyable. But some of these guys I used to race when I was at Loretta’s and stuff. And I get to race against a bunch of old friends, guys like (Jim) Neese, (Jim) Chester, (Barry) Carsten. It’s fun to me to know the guys, hang out, smaller scale – but still get those butterflies just walking out onto track. I think all of us do.
CCE: You’ve won a number of AMA Arenacross class races this year, closed the points lead on Chad Johnson to 25 points. Give yourself an interim grade thus far.
Sellards: I’d have to give myself a ‘C,’ or like a five out of ten. I’ve showed speed but have made a lot of mistakes a guy shouldn’t make for as long as I’ve raced. Lots of amateur mistakes for a veteran. Chad and Kevin and those guys, my teammate Jeff Northrop, raced AX for many years. I’m learning it ain’t all about showing the speed. It’s about who gets out front and who consistently pulls off good laps. I’m not really happy that I’m down 25 points after four rounds. Wouldn’t have dreamt I’d be behind this far. I know what’s ahead, what I’ve got to do from here on in and that starts with not losing any more points.
CCE: We’ve got a month off here before the season picks back up again in Dallas. How do you intend to use that time off to your advantage?
Sellards: I’ll start by spending some time with my wife in Ohio, I’ll go to the gym, work out a whole bunch and head back down to Georgia and hit it up with Ezra – get myself prepared for the second part of the season. Ezra’ll go riding with me, check things out. I recently went to a 450 and was having some set up problems, jetting and such. The day I got the bike I drove down to Ezras, got suspension, he rode it, I rode it, then I took the whole bike apart and we (Brock & Ezra) coupled up all our titanium and put it on the bike. I took it to the race (Charlotte) was ready to go and that’s what made the biggest difference. Chad was ready at the first round, he had everything ready to go for the first round, I didn’t. And I’ll never make that mistake again.
CCE: Thanks, Brock. Good luck the rest of the season.
Sellards: See you, Schutte.
The Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series takes its traditional one month break before returning to action on Jan. 6-8 at Dallas’ Reunion Arena. For more information on the Dallas race, check out www.reunionarena.org or contact Reunion Arena at (214) 800-3000.