17-year-old Greg Smith is prepping to take on the Pro class at Yamaha Quadcross. After a short break from racing last year, Greg is ready and motivated to jump up to the elite ranks and test his mettle against some of the best racers. Riding for the last 13 years, Greg has plenty of experience. We all know experience isn’t the only thing that makes skilled racers, so pay attention as this year Greg intends to make an impression on the competition and eventually leave his mark on the world of racing.
Tell me how you got into quads and what kept you racing.
Well I got my first gas powered quad when I was 4 years old. I lived next to a motorcross track, and my dad’s best friend Scott Butler raced quads with pro’s such as Dana Creech and Tavis Cain. I entered my first race, and the rest is history!
What would you consider your “peak” so far, and what quantifies that? How often were you training before?
When I was 16 years old I won my first ITP Quadcross Pro-Am race, which was kind of a big deal since I had some fast paced competition. I was also the only 16 year old in that class! I was riding about once a week and was going to the gym a couple times a week as well as spending a lot of time on my mountain bike!
You had to get out of quad racing for a while. What happened?
Well in 2011 I had some bike problems midway into the season. They weren’t your typical problems. I had the YFZR down at CT Racing to diagnose the problem, but it was taking a little longer then we anticipated. I got the quad back in the summer time and by then I was already out of the points race, so I figured I would just practice and ride whenever I could back home in Nor-Cal (which is rare since quads aren’t allowed on the mx tracks here.) My quad ended up running smooth for a while until not being able to hold idle. Took it back down to Allen at CT and by then I was fustrated with the sport and just wanted the quad fixed and wasn’t planning on racing in 2012. But I couldn’t stay away! I went to a local practice and just fell back in love with the sport!
What did you do while you weren’t racing?
Well since I’ve been racing every weekend since I was 5, the 6 month break I took was an opportunity for me to be your basic kid. I lived the normal kid life: hungout with friends, went to the lake, and got into your occasional teenage boy trouble.
What would you have changed about your amateur career now that you intend to race Pro?
I wish I could have prepared for my career to go this far, I always saw it as just something to do on the weekend. If I knew then how serious the competition was going to be, I would have devoted more free time into it to prepare myself not only physically, but mentally.
What expectations do you have for this year?
You know, this year I’m hoping just to prove to myself that I have the capability, skill and speed to compete with the cream of the crop on the West coast. I would like to see results of top 5 in the 2012 Yamaha QuadX series, and some podiums in the selective Pro-Am AMA ATVA races I participate in. Most of all I just want to finish the year off with no injuries or bike failures.
What made you decide to jump to the Pro class after being out of quads?
If I hadn’t taken the time off that I did I would have no concerns of my performance in the pro class. Even with the time I took off I don’t think I will be far off the pace as I would have been even if I continued racing. Garrin Fuller and I were very close (performance-wise) and seeing the speed he has built up and the rider he has become, I still feel as if we will both be very competitive. With the time off it allowed me to think and realize that this is what I wanted to do and that I would need to solely focus on just racing, so who knows I may even come back with more agression and speed!
How are you preparing you bike and yourself for this challenge?
Well my bike, my bike is definitely going to be ready. I will be riding a Honda with a setup that is second to none. There is no doubt my bike will be strong enough for it. I feel as if I am mentally prepared and ready to go in strong, my only doubt is physical. Im praying I can hold my pace for the 20 minutes plus 1 lap and have been doing 25 minute moto’s recently!
Where would you like to see yourself go?
That’s a great question. I think everyone wants to be the next Dustin Wimmer or Chad Wienen. For me, I would love to be the next Doug Gust: a guy who became pro at a young age and kept racing professionally until he was in his 40′s. That’s living the dream! The dream I have had every night since I got my first E-ton 50. But honestly, I just want to “make it.” I want to enter a pro ATVA race and not get last. Ever since I was a little kid I said I wanted to become pro, so that’s what I’m setting out to do. My racing life would feel complete! A pro is someone who can compete with the best in the world.
What do you do when you aren’t riding or training and now that you are out of school?
Well I’m still only 17 so there’s not much I can do. All my friends are in school all day. As hard as it is to say, I kind of just live the lifestyle of a bum – mope around all day. On the weekends I try to hangout with friends or spend time with my beautiful girlfriend Sidney. Certain days I like to take the boat out on the lake or even just go kayaking. I’ve recently taken up golf and must say, I’m no Brett Long (professional golfer).
What gets you pumped up to ride?
Definitely watching other moto’s. I naturally get pumped up the day of a race from the minute I wake up and walk to the lobby and eat my continental breakfest at the hotel! Through the week I like to watch videos of my competition and think of the ones that beat me when I’m working out. It just seems to make me want it that much more!
What motivates you to train?
“Moto”vation is key, after all the word “moto” is in it! I like to think of riders that have beaten me, or ones that I know I can beat. Thinking of the competition just makes you so much more determined and makes you want it more than they do, want to work harder than they do, and to hopefully get better results on the track than they do. A lot of it is self will and drive though. I didn’t get to this level by being lazy, that’s for sure!
What kind of things do you want to accomplish outside of quads?
Outside of racing I would like to become the best person I can be, I don’t want to waste all my money chasing this dream. I plan on eventually going back to school for business management or even architectual engineering or some sort of trade school. In 20-30 years I would love to own my own business that revolves around quads. Allen Knowles at CT Racing runs a great shop, and he loves what he does. If I could have a job like him then I would still be living the “dream.”
Right now, what’s the biggest challenge you are facing?
The biggest challenge, well for me, would have to be travel. I live an hour south of the California/Oregon border and there’s little to no tracks to ride, the weather sucks and to top it off I’m having to drive to Southern California, Arizona or even the East coast such as Alabama to compete on this national level. There is another problem I’m facing, but its not only me troubled with it. Quad riding is becoming less and less famous of a sport, every year there are less quad sales, less quad motorcross racers, less factory sponsorships, less money to be made, and the scariest part of all is there is less promise in the future of the sport of ATV racing! I think the community needs to get involved. Local track owners need to allow quads so the average joe can go buy their son a quad instead of a dirt bike. This would allow more kids wanting to continue racing [quads], which would end up with them getting more sponsors into the sport if there’s more people racing quads!
Any last words from the soon-to-be famous Greg Smith?
I’d like to thank everyone who has made this year possible for me. CT Racing, Amsoil, JB racing, Hoosier, Yamaha, Sidi Boots, One Industries, Scott goggles, Tag, Wayne at Pep, and Pit Traffic!