While no one can bring the same flare and media attention to a team like James Stewart, considering how the supercross season went for Stewart and JGR, maybe that’s a good thing. The Stewart/JGR headline has now vanished from the front pages and in its wake sits a new face for JGR. Alongside Davi Millsaps, Kyle Regal has been asked to fill the void this summer in place of Stewart. Not as much will be expected of Regal, but he’s proven on numerous occations in the past that he’s capable of outperforming expectations. A lot will be riding on Regal’s shoulders this summer, but he’s hoping his first experience with a team as powerful as Joe Gibbs Racing will be a lasting one. We caught up with Regal in South Carolina at Club MX a few days before his debut ride at Hangtown and will attest to the fact that he appeared primed and ready for a long, grueling outdoor season.
First off, congrats on the ride. How did this all come into fruition and how is testing going so far?
It’s been going really good. I’ve been here for about two or three weeks, just riding as much as I can. We’ve had a few setbacks with the weather but we’re going to try and finish out this last week strong and get ready to go to Hangtown.
Photo: Randall Overby
You’ve been on quite a few teams so far in your pro career. I realize it’s still early, but is JGR somewhere you could see yourself making home for a while?
Totally. I love the group of guys here. It feels almost like what I had at the house with the testing track and everything like that. I would definitely see myself, if I could, wanting to stay with a team like this.
But as for the now the deal is just for outdoors, correct?
Yes, it’s just for the outdoor season.
You were kind of on the rookie program last year by only racing the final four nationals. We’re you ever planning on racing the entire series?
Yeah, originally I was supposed to race the first five. But then things didn’t work out and I was just kind of waiting, waiting, waiting. It wasn’t really my call. Once I didn’t race one of the first five races I was able to do what I wanted, which was to actually go out there and race. So I had to wait until the fourth to last one.
Photo: Josh Anderson
I think it’s fair to say that you are definitely more comfortable outdoors and more of a top threat. Given the amount of backing you will have with JGR this summer, what are your goals?
I would think the main goal would just be staying consistent. The one year that I did get a couple of podiums I had seven DNFs, so you know what that does to the scorecard. Staying consistent and being up there each and every race is going to be key.
You had your best championship finish in 2010 with a 9th overall as a privateer. How much easier do you feel it will be given your deal with JGR and how much better do you hope to perform given the situation?
I would definitely say that I’m not going to be as stressed out. When I was doing that I was killing myself flipping the bill for everything. Having to worry about if the truck was going to be here or if I needed to order this or that during the week was a lot of stress. Seeing the other side of the whole thing now, I can appreciate it because I know how much goes into it. But yeah, I would definitely say it’s going to be a little bit easier on my part because I can focus on what I need to do, such as training and stuff like that, rather than having to drive across the country and worry about making it from one round to the next.
JGR is known for doing some of the most extensive R&D and testing in the sport. How much have you learned already?
It’s almost like the capabilities are endless. Just from my two or three week experience so far, I know this is going to be a great summer.
End of the season, where would you like to see yourself to consider this a successful year?
My goal is obviously to do the best that I can. I think being somewhere inside the top five would be a huge thing for me. I know that I can do it, it’s just going to be staying consistent and being up there every race.