Jason Anderson speaking with this writer out at the Kawasaki test track in Corona, California a month before the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross series kicked off at Angel Stadium in January.
“I want to end it with a bang,” said the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross champion who signed on with the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team after a long run with Husqvarna. “I needed change. I think it’s the spark that I need to get back at it and try and reinvent myself. I want to be an older good guy, you know what I’m saying? I really want to be that guy who is going to be in his 30s and is still able to win races, you know?”
Seven supercross victories capped off by a run of four straight wins as well as his first-ever AMA Pro Racing outdoor national win (Hangtown on Saturday, June 4) have made 2022 one hell of a year for the veteran racer. Currently fourth in the 2022 AMA 450MX, Anderson is keen to score more moto wins and podium finishes before everything wraps up at Fox Raceway in California in September.
Q: You’re an 11-year veteran of the sport who has performed at a championship level throughout your entire career. Before the 2022 racing season even started you talked with me about the new two-year deal you had signed with Monster Energy Kawasaki as well as working at almost reinventing yourself for this later phase of your career…
JASON ANDERSON: Yeah, it is different. You know for me it is crazy to think that I’m on the later side of my career. I’m well past the halfway point, obviously. You get to a point to where you kind of want to enjoy it and you don’t want it to end, so I’m trying to keep it going. I’m enjoying it still.
Q: So far in 2022 you’ve managed to win seven main events and place second overall in the Monster Energy Supercross Series. You also won your first AMA Pro Racing outdoor national this summer and are currently fourth in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. A hell of a 2022 for you, and the season isn’t even complete.
JA: Yeah, it has been really good. I think supercross went really well. There were times when it didn’t go well, but overall, I’m really happy with it. And outdoors, it is going well, but it is also tough. For me, trying to learn this new bike and I’ve also been injured the past two outdoor seasons, it has been tough trying to get back into it. Sometimes after missing a couple of years, you forget some of the tough parts of it.
I’m just trying to keep my head down and to keep progressing because, like you said, I have a two-year deal with Kawasaki and for me it was really big to think about having a really good two years. I didn’t want to put too much on my plate this first year, although I had amazing success. I really wanted to learn the team and the bike and try to have everything really ready the first year and to hopefully improve and to be aware of the situation a little bit more going into the second year. I think I’m trying to make improvements to try and even be better next year. It has been good.
Q: All summer you’ve had Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton and Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey and Antonio Cairoli and many others out there you’ve had to fight with. And to race against these guys and to try and beat them in two 30-minute motos takes an extraordinary effort.
JA: Yeah, it really does take everything out of you. The outdoors are just crazy. This last weekend at Southwick it was as rough as can be and then you go to High Point and you’ve got hardpack and dry and slick stuff. You definitely have to be ready for everything the outdoors throw at you. You’ve got these guys that are racing right now and Sexton, he’s the young gun and he’s strong. You’ve got Eli Tomac and he’s a beast. And then you’ve got Ryan Dungey in here this year and you’ve got Ken Roczen. It’s a pretty colorful lineup, to be honest. It is kind of cool.
Q: You’re currently fourth in points in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship point standings with Millville, Washougal, Unadilla, Budds Creek, the Ironman and Pala yet still to be run. How have you felt about your outdoor campaign, and how do you feel about these six races and 12 motos yet to be run?
JA: I feel good. I’ve felt like I’ve had really good flashes of good stuff. I just haven’t been able to seal the deal on a lot of these races. There have been a few little mistakes coming from my end. Realistically, this is one of my better outdoor seasons. I’ve never finished better than fourth in points ever in outdoors. It would be nice to hopefully be able to crack into that top three in points and get some more podiums and maybe a couple more wins. That would be awesome. I’m just trying to finish up strong and to keep progressing. That’s my biggest thing. But as a racer, you always want to be a little bit greedy and try and take as many wins and podiums as you can.
Q: The Spring Creek National will run at Millville, Minnesota this coming Saturday afternoon. What are you hoping for in the two motos in what will mark the seventh national of the summer?
JA: Millville is always a good one. It is where I got one of my first outdoor podiums. Hopefully, I can get another win there, or just be in a good battle for one of those podium spots. That’s a good goal of mine and I just want to start trending my results more towards the front and go from there.
Q: Can you still make a run at this outdoor title?
JA: It’s tough to say right now. if you look at the past history of the sport, if I made a run at this title, I’m pretty sure that would be one of the craziest upsets ever, but you never know. It’s dirt bikes and anything can happen. I have a good bike and everything underneath me to be able to get some wins. I’m going to try and take it one race at a time and see where we go from there. I’ve really been enjoying Kawasaki. The team aspect there is really amazing and as far as the motorcycle, I’ve been loving it ever since I hopped on it. It’s been really refreshing. It’s always positive and the whole team is always progressing and it is a real good group and environment to work in.
Q: How about the approaching Motocross of Nations? Has anybody talked with you about lining up for Team USA over at RedBud on September 25, 2022?
JA: Yeah, I’ve heard a lot about it. I’m playing it by ear because I don’t know what their plan is and stuff like that, but, man, I would love to do it and I think this a good year to be able to take the W on home soil, so that would be cool.