Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! I have one in my garage right now and I can’t wait to go shred it! Thank you to Yamaha for believing in my ELITE columns on this dirt bike website enough to sponsor me. What a dream come true! BTW: Have you seen the all-new YZ450F? OH. MY. GOODNESS. I can’t wait to test that bad boy.
Look, you like Trey Canard, I like Trey Canard, and my wife Ginger Dog has been the President of the TC41 Fan Club since I introduced her to the sport. She knew nothing about any of this sport and latched onto Trey as her favorite rider simply because he’s a great guy. So, the more Canard content the better, right?
I laughed, and I told Trey this, that he was the first champion in the sport that was younger than I was, so he killed my dreams of ever making it in this sport. I was for sure hot garbage on a dirt bike, but I’m still faster than Slaw Dog, but Trey agreed that he was for sure my dream killer when he won the 250SX East Region title in 2008 as a rookie. Trey is a month younger than me.
I called him up late last week to talk about what he’s up to now and reminisce on his incredible career. It’s been a while since Vurb has talked to him and he is an OG, so I had to get his thoughts on what he thought about us being back. You can catch the full interview later in the week including topics about testing with HRC Honda, Colt Nichols joining the team, what it’s like switching between a 250 and 450 in testing, his Ted Talk, and so much more.
For now, here’s a snippet to tide you over. I asked Trey about his 2008 title run, his favorite races, and his favorite Vurb moment.
Vurb: Looking back now, when you think about the preseason in 2008, did you know that you had the speed or skill to win that season?
Canard: No, not really. I mean I was really struggling to get through the whoops. Everyday was a grind and kind of sketchy. I just had in my mind that I wasn’t going to focus on the result as much as the effort. I knew if I could give a full effort every time out there that I would be pretty good at least. I had no idea that I would end up winning four races and the championship. It was wild.
Then you come into St. Louis and you have the now famous run-in with Villopoto at the finish line. When you’re entering that turn, and I’ve always wanted to know this, what were your thoughts when you saw the opening that you had?
I had won three races, but I knew he got swiped by Josh Grant, the second one we battled for a minute and we both went down. I got up first and finished the main event strong. The third one was Daytona and it was a complete mudfest. The next three races he was on his game and I really struggled. I had bad starts, crashed, and the pressure was really mounting for me. I had this pretty big points lead and I was trying not to throw it away. Our times were close in practice and I think I might have qualified first, but I knew who I was racing. I was racing the best guy, you know? I had it in my mind that if I had any opportunity to win this race, I would let it all go that night. As soon as I saw him make the mistake, and I saw an opening, I just went for it. I didn’t hold back and I knew that opportunity might not come back around.
Obviously, I didn’t go into it with any intention to take the guy out. I just wanted to get in front of him and if that meant getting my wheel in front of him and we both have to roll the finish line, then all good. I just wanted to take the opportunity. My rear wheel kind of slid out and got into him. In the heat of the moment you don’t really know what happened. When I went back to look at the video, I’ve never seen anyone intentionally take someone out with their rear tire. That made me feel pretty good about it. It was an aggressive move, but I had peace about my intentions. For a championship I had to do anything I could do.
What is your all-time favorite race?
Oh man, well I have a few that stand out to me. Right there at the top would be 2010 Washougal on a 250. It was just a day where everything seemed easy. I think I qualified second, but I think I pulled both holeshots and won both motos. Rarely does it feel easy and that day came so naturally. It’s like I could enjoy every lap and that was cool.
Also, my first race back after breaking my back was really special to me. I had so much doubt if I could even go racing again, obviously a lot of fear, and to come back and I almost won it! Had Davi Millsaps had trained a little less in the offseason I would have won it! It was one I’ll always remember.
When you first moved up to the 450 you would scrub the jumps so hard and you’d make most of your time up by doing that. Sometimes you’d come up short on those landings. Do you remember that?
I’m trying to remember, in 2011 I had a battle with Chad Reed in Jacksonville and I was hitting the light tower and I was barely clearing the downside on the triple. I was just scrubbing that thing so hard.
Now that Vurb is back, what was your favorite video shoot that you’ve ever been a part of with us?
It was my part in Epic. Dude, it was just awesome. The whole vibe was cool. [Brent] Stallo was there, Wes obviously, and John Parkinson. They were all camped out in the motorhome for like three days. I think it turned out really cool.
One of the first experiences of being in one of the videos was Loretta’s in 2004. I was on a KX80 and I was way too big for the thing, just railing powder berms.
I remember the Goat Kreation Days. There was this movie called In the Ranks that Wes put out way back in the beginning. It’s just cool for me to see the origins of that and to see how far it all came. It’s just awesome to see people pursuing their dreams and ending up pretty iconic in the sport.
Main image: Garth Milan/Red Bull