Privateer Profile: Matt BoniFriday, May 8, 2009 | 2:41 PM
Rockstar/Hart & Huntington Honda’s Matt Boni had an eventful year. He started the season on the BBMX Honda team, but made the switch part way through the supercross championship to replace Josh Hansen at the H&H team. Although it almost didn’t happen, Matt Boni finished the season as the top privateer, taking home an extra $25,000 for his season. We talked to Boni for this week’s Privateer Profile.
Matt Boni: I didn’t really have any expectations going into the season on where I would finish. I know that there were a lot of new fast guys and that it would be tougher than usual. The season got off to a rocky start, and I made a lot of rookie mistakes. I made some changes to my program and adapted quickly and started doing well. To take home the Privateer of the Year was my goal and to accomplish it was awesome.
I don’t think it was easy for you to switch teams in the middle of the season. Talk about that and how different the bike was.
The switch was tough and it was really hard do to. I had thought about it for a couple of weeks. I think my results suffered for a couple of weekends because I had a lot of stress on my shoulders. I think I had to change teams to reach my full potential I felt like I was being held back with the equipment and the entire atmosphere. To make the switch to Rockstar/Hart & Huntington was almost easy. We tested for three days and I had my best heat race of the year that weekend in Daytona. I got taken out in the main, but it was still an improvement. It’s a real close family over there and everyone is super-nice. I felt like I had to repay them for their help. Everyone works super hard over there. As far as the bikes, they were a lot better. The small changes that we made helped out a lot, like I asked for some grips and they went out and got them for me, just little things like that. My results got a lot better after I joined them, so I think that speaks for itself.
What was your best race?
I would say Toronto. I got an eighth there. I started out real strong there. I crossed the finish line on the first lap in seventeenth. I stayed strong all the way to the end, my lap times never faded, and it was a great race for me.
Pretty much the first eight rounds (laughs)... I had two DNFs, which hurt me in the points, and I missed two main events. I would say San Diego, I just crumbled and let things bother me. I let my emotions get the better of me, but I learned from it so that was okay.
Now in Vegas, it was looking a little scary there for you to get the award...
Yeah it was. I got a real bad start and felt like I was moving up okay, then I clipped somebody’s rear end and fell over. I thought I threw it away there. I could see Voss way ahead of me. I knew that I would have to throw down some real impressive laps. That triple rhythm section, I hadn’t done it all day and I started jumping it. I said, “Well, if I’m going to go out, I’ll go out big.” I started doing some real fast laps and catching him. I knew it would be tough to get by him [Voss] – he’s been around a long time and is a smart rider! I’m not sure if I would have gotten past him. With the pace I had I would’ve caught him but I’m not sure if I could’ve got by him, though.
What do you need to do to make that next step up?
Just some more time on the bike... I think my setup is good and I have a good base setup to start with next year. I really didn’t have much time to test once I got on the team. I need to get a good program set up and get mentally tougher. I need to give my body some time to heal as well. I’ve never really had any downtime like this before and I’ll take advantage of it. I want to go into A1 100-percent ready and lay it all on the line.
What’s your plan for the summer?
Well, I’ve got X-Games and I’ll heal up, like I said. I also have some overseas races to go to. I’ll stay sharp over there and keep the income coming in. I just want to take advantage of the downtime to get physically and mentally ready for the next year. I’ve never had all this time and I think it will help me.
What’s up with you next year?
My contract was just to finish out the year with them. I’m happy with how everything went and I think I can do better next year. I don’t think eighth is what this team is capable of doing. I think we can do better and I know I can get top five. I would like to stick around with them and work on a contract with them. We’ll have to see what they do. I know they have some plans in the works for next year.