Hey Morgan, How are things going?
It’s been alright. So far it’s been a learning year, just learning a lot every time I race. Just having some struggles so far right now but things are starting to sort themselves out. I think it’s going to get better.
What are your plans for the weekend now that Loretta’s has been postponed?
I’m over at Randy Hawkin’s place right now training with Thad, Chris Hollis, and a couple other guys. I think we’re going to head over to the North Carolina race.
For those that don’t know, you race the XC2 class for the F.A.R. Husqvarna team. Can you tell us how you got hooked up with Fred?
I got hooked up with Fred cause I was riding for the Mastin’s team and they’re good friends with Jason Thomas. I was doing some riding with Thomas and I got invited up to Fred’s house to come ride for a little bit. I went up and Fred really liked me.
At the time there were some complications with Josh Weisenfels and there was an opportunity for me to fill in for the rest of the year. I filled it and didn’t really have that good of a ride but they liked how driven and motivated I was, so they hired me on from there. Then the following year I crashed two weeks before the first race and blew my ACL and meniscus out. So I was out for all the rounds except the last three.
That was 2010 when you blew out your knee?
How were you feeling coming into that season?
I felt really good! Me and Thomas were in Florida together for two months before the first race. We worked really hard and Thomas was definitely going faster than me around the practice track. But I felt pretty good how I was looking compared to him. Then to blow out my knee was a real disappointment. To see him do as well as he did at the first round knowing how well I was riding compared to him, it was real frustrating. But we got to learn a lot from the sidelines.
Coming back at Unadilla you had some pretty strong rides to finish off the year. Were you happy with how you ended the year?
I wasn’t really happy with my finishes. Coming back I felt like I was riding real well, I got the holeshot at Unadilla but my gas was turned off. I got to the two mile mark and the bike shut off. It took me awhile to get it running again. Once I got it running I completed the first lap with the choke on. Then I pulled into the pits and we realized the choke was on then went back out to ride some solid laps. It was a momentum killer because I felt really good coming in. I kind of lost it from there.
From reports during the off season it sounded like you had found that momentum again. How would you say your 2011 season is going so far?
I’ve not been happy with any of my rides so far in 2011. For a little while at Steele Creek I turned some good laps for the first half of the race and I thought that would be a turning point for my year. But I had some bike issues and then a crash that altered those plans that day at least. Then, I don’t know, at other races I’ve had either health issues or bike issues. Just stuff hasn’t played out. But the way I feel I’m riding, practicing, and everything I’m doing away from the race track I feel like there is no reason that I’m finishing where I’m at. But every rider that has won that championship has struggled their first year in that class.
Kailub Russell, Thad Duvall, and other guys moved in and didn’t set it on fire their first year. It’s not that they didn’t have the speed that year it’s just that they had a lot to learn. I’m definitely learning a lot right now. I’m just going race by race right now just doing what I can to prepare for the future.
A big change for you this year is the move to Husqvarna. How has that transition been for you?
The transition wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t get a bike until February then I went to Florida. Within the first week I felt really comfortable on the bike. It felt like I was riding real well and just worked hard down there to get prepared. At the moment I feel real good on the bike. Just working some kinks out and made a lot of progress with that this past week at Randy’s. I feel I have a little more confidence on the bike going into the next round then I’ve had in the past few rounds.
What’s been the biggest different you’ve noticed between the Yamahas and Husqvarnas?
The biggest different the Husqvarna and the Yamahas is just swapping over to a 4 stroke. I’ve rode 2 strokes my whole career and then this year going to a 4 stroke…it’s a different kind of animal. It gets better traction but it’s not as fast as a two stroke. It doesn’t free wheel like a 2 stroke because it has engine braking. You have to ride it harder than a 2 stroke. I’m not sure it takes as much energy as a 2 stroke cause a 2 stroke is so snappy. I’ve had to change up the riding style a little bit. That’s it really.
They’re also some of the trickest looking bikes in the pits. Now 2010 was supposed to be your first year in the Pro class before your knee injury, right?
And in 2008 you won the 200C Schoolboy class?
Two years later you’re running in the Pro class and on a Factory team. That’s pretty impressive!
Tell me a little about that quick progression from running 200C in 2008 to XC2 in 2010?
I don’t know it just seems like everything has lined up awesome in my racing career. I originally raced motocross and got hurt at my regional at Steele City in Pennsylvania. Then I took a year and a half off and came back doing off-road. I did three or four races on minis in 2007. 2008, I rode the SETRA and GNCC series on a KTM. Johnny Barber, who at the time was riding XC2, was training me during the week. Me and Johnny spent probably 4 days out of the week together for the whole year. Just being in the C class but full time training with somebody. It really gave me a lot of knowledge and information about how and what to do. Then the following year I rode for Amanda Mastin’s Off Camber Yamaha team.
What class did you race that year?
250B at the GNCCs. 250B at the National Enduros and Open B at the OMAs. I won the Open B championship at the OMAs. I won the 250B Championship at the National Enduros and I was one race from locking up the 250B championship in the GNCCs when I got the call from Fred. I swapped over to Fred’s team cause you know it’s hard to pass up an opportunity like that. A lot of people made a lot of judgements on me because I left the class one race away from wrapping up the championship. But the whole purpose of the championship was to get an opportunity like the one I got from Fred. The opportunity came early so I had to jump on it.
So you went straight from the B class to XC2?
Wow! That’s not something you see very often. Switching gears a little bit. I’ve heard that your family owns a haunted plantation down in Louisiana.
Yeah. My family owns The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana. It’s one of America’s most haunted homes.
Hoop mentioned that it’s been featured on Ghost Hunters and some other TV shows.
It’s been on Montel, Oprah, Good Morning America, Ghost Hunters, and it’s on the Travel Channel and the History Channel a lot.
Have you experienced anything strange out at that place?
I’ve had a few encounters. Most of it I’ve been told that’s happened to me more than I actually remember. The way it played it was my parents retired. They didn’t have me until they were 42. When they had me they retired from work and my dad bought that plantation not knowing its history. They didn’t expect the haunting to be true when he bought the house. Then some weird instances happen and they turned it into a bed and breakfast. So I lived in the house from about 8 months old to about 4 years old. So I don’t really remember what happened. But I still live on the farm that the plantation is on. We built our personal home about a mile behind the property that you access from a different road. I’m really close to the plantation but I’m not there a tremendous amount. But I’ve had a few encounters.
That’s pretty interesting!
Yeah, it’s pretty neat!
Alright, Morgan! Is there anyone out there you want to thank?
I want to thank Fred Andrews for the all of the opportunities that he’s given me. Joe Mauer for doing an awesome job with my race bikes. I want to thank Wyatt Seals for all the testing and hard work he’s put in with me over the months. Fly Racing, Husqvarna, Enduro Engineering, Eks Brand Goggles, Mitch and all the guys at Pro Circuit. I want to thank Randy for letting me stay here at his bunkhouse and train with these guys. I also want to thank everyone that has supported me up to this point like my parents.