Chances are he will line up once again next season.
Legendary Australian international Chad Reed is adamant he has at least one more season – and probably even more – of Monster Energy AMA Supercross in him as he bids to secure a seat for the 2018 season.
Reed, 35, finished ninth in this year’s standings after one of his more challenging seasons with Yamaha, however an updated YZ450F due to arrive later this year has him hoping to re-sign with the factory organisation for a third-straight term.
Remaining at Yamaha alongside 450 newcomer Cooper Webb would make sense for both the factory team and Reed, who won both the 2004 and 2008 supercross crowns on YZ machinery, and he said at last year’s AUS-X Open in Sydney that a two-year extension through 2019 was the goal at that point. It’s understood discussions are now underway.
“I’m a free-agent at the moment – my Yamaha contract is up at the end of the year,” Reed told MotoOnline.com.au. “Obviously the goal is to renew and continue on with Yamaha, but I don’t have a guaranteed spot there, so I’m trying to figure out whether that’s doable or if they want to keep me around. So yeah, I’m just kind of looking and weighing up my options. I want to race and I’m excited to race. I’d be really bummed for the 2017 season to be my last one – that was definitely less than what I’m capable of.”
The ideal option is for Reed to continue in blue for another season or two at the top level of the sport, before capping off his career at Yamaha. The impending release of the 2018 YZ450F is something that will almost certainly bolster his hopes of added success next season if he does go on to re-sign.
“I think I’ve been consistent in making it publicly clear that Yamaha is a company I’ve had a lot of success with and, although the last two years have been really trying and definitely haven’t ran that smoothly, I think everybody is aware that there’s a new bike coming,” he continued. “The pictures are everywhere, I haven’t personally ridden it, but I’m hearing good positive things, so it’d be a shame to struggle through two years and kind of miss the new bike, right?
“Everybody wants to have the best bike and the best scenario, but like I said, some things are always out of your control, but I’ve been consistent and I’d love to finish here. This is a company that, through everything, the high-up people here I feel have had my back and I’m excited to potentially end my career here. If for whatever reason that doesn’t pan out, then that would be unfortunate, but it is what it is and at the end of the day I want to be competitive, I want to be in the mix. I want to be better, for sure, than I was this year, so that’s the goal, working to be better.”
An announcement confirming Reed for November’s AUS-X Open fuelled rumours that it could potentially be the final supercross of his professional career that’s spanned near two decades, however Reed admitted to MotoOnline.com.au that it’s unlikely he’d actually be able to contest the event without a signed deal in place for 2018. In fact, not racing next year would be a surprise to him.
“I don’t really even want to think about that scenario… that’s the last scenario,” explained Reed. “But if I didn’t have a job, technically it would actually be difficult to race the event. I don’t know that I would be prepared to just show up on a production bike and race, so I would have to have a bike supplied from somebody.
“Not to burst the bubble of AUS-X Open, you know, they’ll probably be disappointed when they read this [laughs], but that’s not a scenario for me. Right now I’m working really hard and I’m focused on renewing or finding a new contract. Obviously like I said, the goal is to renew, but if that scenario doesn’t play out the way I want it, I have some options too. It’d be a surprise or a shock to me if I didn’t have a contract. I have some options already, so we’ll see.”
Reed has been the hometown hero of the AUS-X Open since its inception in 2015, winning three of the four main events contested within the confines of Qudos Bank Arena, including an emphatic clean-sweep of last year’s AUS Supercross finals.