5 Minutes with…John Dowd
By Billy Rainford
Yes, THAT John Dowd. John hit three rounds of our Rockstar Energy MX Nationals: Gopher Dunes, Sand Del Lee, and Ulverton. He finished 17th, 10th, and 8th overall. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who was about to turn 50 the following day! He was trying to leave the pits and drive home but got trapped in a tight 90-degree corner we happened to be in. He was chatting with Josh Snider and I rudely pushed my way in to get a last-minute interview with the friendly New England legend.
Yes, it’s been a few weeks since this conversation, but he was so accommodating that I wanted to be sure it didn’t get forgotten. Here’s a quick talk with the rider who has always been known as #16 down south:
Direct Motocross: He just about got a way from us here, but celebrating his 50th birthday tomorrow, we’ve got John Dowd here. John, another impressive experience up here in Canada. Can you tell us how things went for you up here in Ulverton, Quebec, for you?
John Dowd: It was actually a pretty good day. I’m pretty stoked! I was kind of hoping I could get in the top 10. The last couple races I tried to do I had a couple issues…bad starts here and there, but whatever. I actually got decent starts today and, I don’t know, I just kind of hung in there. I was surprised because after timed practice I was pretty slow. I was like 23rd or something and I thought I put in some good laps! (Laughs.)
I was happy that I was able to kick it up a little bit in the motos and kind of hang in the top 10. I think I was maybe 8th overall or something? (He was.)
Didn’t you see me up at the top by the tabletop jump? I was wondering why you weren’t laying it flat like the other kids were!
I thought I was! Wasn’t I??? I thought I was upside-down like Stewart or something! That’s what it felt like to me, anyway. I’m sorry, that’s all I’ve got – I’m 50! I don’t do that upside-down stuff.
Tell us about that battle with Kyle Keast in the second moto.
You know what? I turned around and I saw him and I was like getting tired and it was late in the moto. I was like, “Oh, Man, not him!” of all the guys, it was Kyle. Because he’s a hard finished, you know. And it was funny because there were a couple little sand sections, and I was pretty good in those sand sections, and I’d make some time on some of the other guys there.
And then when he was behind me, I was like…you know, I’d go through my sand section and I was getting excited to run away and he was right on me, and I was like, “Son of a ____!” Then when I realized it was him I was like, “Oh, no wonder! It’s Kyle, he’s good in the sand.” I was bummed when I knew it was him back there.
Did you hear his dad, Jamey, at the side of the track? He was yelling, “Wear the old man down!”
Ya, ya, he did. I was dying. I tried to hang in there. He slammed into me…I slid out and he slammed into me and we both almost fell. It was getting a little ugly at the end there but at least we both held on to it and finished. At the end of the day, that’s what you really want – to keep it on two wheels.
Now, we’re sitting here all fun and games on this side of the RV, but, sitting beside you, your son, Ryan, didn’t have a good day. What happened with him today?
Yeah, ya know, it’s frustrating. I don’t know what happened. Something happened to the bike, again. We’ve been up here 3 tries this year and all 3 times we’ve had something different happen. It’s different stuff but it’s racing. Sometimes that kind of junk happens. It’s frustrating for him.
He really wanted…I really wanted him to get out there and race with these guys but we had a lot of fun and we’re going to be back next year, for sure.
Oh, great to hear. What’s next for you guys, racing-wise?
Not much this year. Well, we’re doing a 24-hour race with a little team in a couple weeks. That’s going to be kind of fun. It’s in New York.
I’m actually going back to England for that Des Nations thing. That’s part of the reason I’ve been trying to race these things – to get myself in a little bit of shape.
We’ve got a few more little things going on this year and we’re hoping to be back up here next year and get him up here, for sure. He may end up in the MX1 class. He rides that thing better.
Well, thanks for pulling over. It’s always nice to see you competing up here, especially on some of the sand tracks. Who would you like to thank before you hit the road?
It’s always good to be here. I get a lot of help, still, from my sponsors. They’ve really stuck with me and I’m very appreciative: Chaplin Kawasaki. They’re a dealer back home. Moose Racing, Factory Connection, Shoei helmets, 100% goggles, Renthal, Pro Circuit, Pirelli tires…we’ve got a lot of guys and we couldn’t be out here, especially running the two of us. We need a lot of stuff to get through a day, especially him when you get a bike breakdown. We’re really grateful that we have some support from those guys.
OK, last question. What are you going to do for your 50th birthday?
First of all, probably take some Advil (Laughs) and maybe sleep in a little. Nah, I don’t know. We actually have some plans for next weekend to get the family away camping, so I’m looking forward to that.
Thanks for stopping to chat (he was actually stuck in a tight 90-degree corner in the pits and had no choice). Have a safe trip home and we’ll see you next time.
Thanks, guys. See you next year.