From a harrowing two-wheel incident to a now four-wheel champion, it’s been an unpredictable year for racer Chad Reed.
It was only eight months ago that the championship-winning dirt bike rider was sidelined with multiple broken bones and other injuries stemming from a Supercross incident. Just three months later, though, Reed returned to racing — this time of behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO.
It began when Reed connected with IMSA driver Ryan Hardwick through mutual friends. The pair headed to Las Vegas earlier this summer for Reed’s first ever test in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo race car for Dream Racing.
“The test went well right away,” said Reed. “The owner, Enrico (Bertaggia) was like, ‘I’ll know in five minutes whether we’re going to put him in the car or not.’ I guess I passed the test.”
Just one week later, Reed found himself headed to Watkins Glen to make his debut in the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series as a part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend.
“I had heard a lot about Watkins Glen, but I had never been there,” Reed explained. “We race close by in a place called Unadilla, about an hour and 45 minutes away. So, though I’ve been to that part of the country quite a lot, I’d never gotten out to Watkins Glen. It was really exciting to go and see a pretty historic venue for IMSA racing.”
Originally competing in the Pro-Am class with Hardwick, Reed moved to the LB Cup class in July after Hardwick suffered a season-ending knee injury of his own in a crash during a WeatherTech Championship practice at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Last month — following four wins in eight LB Cup races alongside new co-driver Justin Price — Reed headed to the Jerez circuit in Spain to compete in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals. The duo won the final race of the 12-round Super Trofeo North America season, before Reed prepared to contend individually for the World Final LB Cup Championship amongst Lamborghini Super Trofeo competitors from around the world.
“I actually lived in Europe in 2001, so when I first left my native country Australia as an 18-year-old kid, I went to race the world championship in Europe,” said Reed. “I got to venture all over Europe and I got to spend some time there. I’m a huge MotoGP fan and Jerez is a big part of that championship and testing program, so I knew the venue quite well.
“I had never been there, but I’d known it well enough that I’d watched so much of it that basically going there for the first time didn’t feel like the first time. To get to go to a venue I knew so much about and cared about its heritage, to race a Lamborghini there was really exciting.”
After winning the first of two World Final races, Reed finished second in Race 2 to clinch the LB Cup World Championship, adding his first four-wheel title to his already impressive collection of championships on two wheels.
“I’ve been a professional athlete for 22 years,” said Reed. “I come from a lot of experience in the racing world and in my opinion, racing is racing, always. From two wheel to four wheel, it’s a little different here and there but for the most part, racing at the highest level is always the same. It always takes the same mindset and it always takes the same successful way of going about it that is rewarded in every way. That’s just what I think.”
But what is it that keeps the drive going for the multi-time AMA/World Supercross champion? His participation in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America shows just that — his desire to learn.
“It’s that progression at never arriving and always trying to be better and trying to figure out what it is,” explained Reed. “That desire to jump into something and try to find more. Though I won in Jerez, already immediately I re-watched the race. I got to watch it on TV and a lot of the battles I was in.
“With watching it, already your mind says, ‘Ah, I could do this better, I could do that better or I could approach this better.’ The competitive side of you, you’re always looking for more and always trying to find that competitive edge and understanding of how to be better. I guess that just drives me and it fuels me.”
Reed added how competing in four races at Jerez — instead of the traditional two at IMSA weekends — added even more fuel to his fire.
“Four races is double the time, so you have double the day there and double the experience and double the learning,” he said. “I’m left on this high where, ‘When’s the next time I get in a car?’”
Although now in the IMSA offseason, Reed hopes it won’t be long before he returns to a race car. The now 37-year-old is becoming more aware of the impending end to his two-wheel career, but has no intentions of quitting racing any time soon.
“I’m at the tail end of my Motocross career and life beyond motorcycles is becoming more real each and every year,” said Reed. “At this point, I’m not sure how many more years I’ll race. But it just feels normal to go racing. I feel the change. I really enjoyed my time in the car this year.
“The goal currently is to do Super Trofeo again. I think that’d be awesome to get in a car by myself and try to maximize my time, jump up a class into the Am class, then go learn and try to figure that out. That’s pretty much where I’m at, just figuring out what I can do.
“As far as being in IMSA racing, that is the goal. I love racing so much. It’s like I see Sebring and Daytona and the Six Hours at Watkins Glen. I don’t know why, but that seems really appealing to me and it seems fun. I love that grinding away, finding the limit. If I could find a level of driving that I feel I need to get to, where I can be competitive at that level, then obviously a GTD or something like that would be something I would really enjoy and love to do.”