Team Makita Suzuki Racing's defending AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion Ricky Carmichael sat down with Bikeland the day before his final chance to challenge the infamous "Anaheim One" stop of the Amp'd Mobile World Supercross at Angel Stadium in Anaheim California. Ricky chats about life, what the future holds and NASCAR. Here's what the retiring 15-time AMA title holder had to say...
Ricky: Hey! How are ya?
PK: Good! I think I saw your Mom in Vancouver; she was there, wasn't she? She comes to a lot of your races?
Ricky: Ya, she comes to all of them.
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PK: What can your fans expect from you in Anaheim?
Ricky: Well, I think it's going to be a fun race - obviously! They can expect a 100% out of me - like I always give - and I just try to do the best that I can.
PK: What's been the high point of your long career?
Ricky: You know, the highest point is just the success that I've had and how I've done it. Really the whole career has been a high point!
PK: What's been the low point?
Ricky: Any time you have an injury; obviously... that's the bad part.
PK: Do you have a lucky charm?
Ricky: No, I think the only luck charm you can have is just the preparation you put into the workweek and into the race... that's your lucky charm.
PK: How important is it to you to have your family at your races?
Ricky: Very important! My family's been there since the first time I've ever ridden and raced. It's very very important and I'm glad that they can come.
PK: Does your Mom come to every race?
Ricky: Oh yeah, she's been to pretty much every single one. It's pretty amazing! They've been there with me the whole way!
PK: What's your favorite color?
Ricky: My favorite color is orange.
PK: What is your favorite pizza?
Ricky: My favorite pizza is pepperoni!
PK: What do you do the night before a race?
Ricky: You know what? I don't do too much. We go out and try to find a good dinner. Normally we have an autograph signing that we have to do, but ya, we go out to dinner, and after that relax, watch some SportsCenter and do whatever!
PK: Do you have a race breakfast that you eat?
Ricky: No, no. I switch it up! Sometimes it's eggs, sometimes it's oatmeal, sometimes it's cereal.
PK: If someone were to do a dirt trackday for the first time, what advice would you give them?
Ricky: I would just say "ride within your limits, do what you feel comfortable doing".
PK: Are you going to be starting your own dirt school anytime soon?
Ricky: You know, my Mother does a bunch of school stuff like that, little clinics. If we have time I would love to see her do that, but for me I'm engulfed in helping the race team be the best that they can be.
PK: If you were to write a movie about your life, what would it be called?
Ricky: Uh.... The Life of Ricky Carmichael... (* Ricky smiles *)
PK: And what would we learn about you in this movie that we might not already know?
Ricky: I think that - uh - how much fun I have as a human. I know that a lot of people think I'm so focused and don't have fun, but I think people would be surprised at how much fun I do have.
PK: Where did you spend Christmas this year?
Ricky: I spent Christmas at home. Thanksgiving at my In-laws in Arizona and I spent Christmas at my house.
PK: What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
Ricky: Oh Christmas! There's now doubt about it! I love Christmas Holidays; it's my favorite time of year!
PK: What's your best present that you've ever gotten for Christmas?
Ricky: I gotten some REAL good presents, but I'd have to say the topper ever is a motorcycle! Absolutely!
Fish: How old were you when you got that?
Ricky: Six years old!
Fish: What was it?
Ricky: A Honda Z-50
PK: Did you make any New Years Resolutions?
Ricky: No... no ... New Years Resolutions for me!
PK: What do you think the biggest challenge will be being a Racer Dad?
Ricky: You know, I think that just always and hoping and praying for their safety, that's the biggest thing. That's the one thing I worry about. I don't know that I'm really going to encourage them to do something like this - you know, obviously I have a girl so that's not going to be happening - my wife would never let that happen, but the boy, if he wants to do it great, but I'm not encouraging him (to do it). I've seen my Dad wreck before and it's just not something I want to see my own kids do.
PK: Do you want him to do two wheels or four?
Ricky: I would encourage him to do four, just for the safety factor. I love the sport; it's been great to me. There's so much more to life and safety is so important
PK: Are there any chartable organizations you work with you want to mention?
Ricky: Well, I love the Ronald McDonald foundation - that's one of my favorites.
PK: Did you see Talladega Nights?
Ricky: I did see it, and you know, I thought at the beginning it was good and at the end it got a little silly for me. I was likin' it for the first 30 to 45 minutes and then after that the rest was history.
PK: You can't have two number ones 'cuz that makes eleven?
Ricky: Ya! No kiddin'!
PK: What will be the biggest challenges facing you in NASCAR?
Ricky: You know, it's just something new. I'm going against guys that are the best at what they do. It's like throwing them out here and they aren't going to beat these guys. Obviously it's a little different because everyone can drive, but it's going to be hard.
PK: Which sport would you want to be most remembered for?
Ricky: Oh - this sport no doubt, I mean I want to try to make a mark in NASCAR and be a top-level driver but at the same time this (motorcycling) is number one and because it's given me all the opportunities.
PK: A couple of people wrote in and asked some questions. They wanted to know if you have a street bike?
Ricky: No street bike! No... that stuff's crazy!
Fish: Do you ever ride on the street at all?
Fish: Not at all?
Ricky: No way!
PK: Do you partake in any other sport? Like snow, water, sand? I know you sail?
Ricky: No - no, I have a wakeboard boat. I do some wakeboarding and stuff like that. I do have a cruiser boat that we take out in the Gulf. If there's another sport I do I'd say it's wakeboarding in the summertime.
PK: Would you ever do a Reality TV show?
Ricky: Oh, absolutely!
Ricky: I think it would be cool to have a Reality show... just our sport and our week and our season...
PK: Now this is a big one... On two wheels, it's more about the rider than the brand of bike. You won on Kawasaki, you won on Honda and Suzuki. So it's more you than the bike. On four wheels, is it much more about the car?
Ricky: A lot more to do with the car - for sure! Obviously you have to be good and capitalize on the bad times, but a lot more has to do with the car. That's one thing I've learned!
PK: Thank you very much!
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