Troy Dog’s Shack: ‘The Moment’ Har Dog Received His WSX Ride with ClubMX

I know, I know, ugh another Grant Harlan post. No! This one is entirely different! A week and a half a ago I called Har Dog to talk about what went into his incredible ride at Pala and during that conversation he got an important call that he had to take. I can’t make this stuff up. If you work with me on the Troy Dog Squad we lead riders to the top.

Harlan went from driving to every Lucas Oil Pro Motocross round this summer on his own dime out of a van to a ClubMX 450 World Supercross Championship ride! His hard work paid off and he put together a great finish to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with a career high 12-11 for 11th overall at Fox Raceway, on a borrowed Keefer Inc testing bike. It doesn’t make sense how it all worked out, but if you know Grant, it does make sense because he shines when things get tough. 

Below is ‘the moment’ and our conversation about his day at Fox Raceway.

Vurbmoto:You weren’t going to race the final round, but decided to after Ironman went so well. You bought a plane ticket and you showed up to California on Wednesday with just a bag. What do you do from there?
Grant Harlan: We rented a truck from Turo, so I got in that at the airport. At that point I didn’t even know what time it was and I was hungry. I hadn’t had any breakfast or anything, so automatically I’m looking for a Chipotle. I didn’t think I was staying with (Kris) Keefer and it ended up that I didn’t, so I hit up my buddy Thomas Welch. He was riding at Elsinore, so I drove in that direction, just to see if we could meet up after they were done riding. So as I’m driving, I stopped at this shopping center and just fell asleep.

Wait, you just randomly took a nap?
Yeah, I took an hour and a half nap in a parking lot. In the two seater. I felt like I was starting to doze off while driving, so when I got there I was like, I’m going to sleep.

You could have been taken.
That’s fine. I didn’t know where I was staying yet, so if I was taken somewhere I probably would have been given a bed or at least somewhere to sleep.

What happened next?
Welch got back to me and asked me if I wanted to go golfing. We went and played nine holes and it was horrible. It was hot and we sucked. Then we went to the apartment that he was staying at with two other guys. I didn’t even ask to stay there, but I did and didn’t leave. 

On Thursday I woke up and went straight to Glen Helen to meet up with Darkside (Vital Jamie) and he had the bike, because he was staying with Keefer. I did some laps to get the bike setup a little bit. Then after that guess where we went to lunch?

Hmmm. Does it include rice and tortillas and stuff like that?
Yeah! Potle! This was day four or five in a row of Chipotle by the way, just so you’re aware.

You can’t be feeling that great at this point eating that everyday. I mean it’s hot in California.
I’m feeling fantastic. Chipotle is great!

This is just not adding up. This whole story does not make sense. You’re eating nothing but Chipotle, you have no plans, a bike you haven’t ridden with everything stock except suspension, racing at a track you’ve ridden one time, and you get your career best. You were running third at one point and fifth for a while.
Right, so back to the story. I asked Darkside if I could stay with him and Micheal Lindsey, so I went over there, hung out, and got to hang out in the neighbor’s pool, which was nice.

Was Darkside walking around with his shirt off?
He had his shirt on for a while, but once we got to the pool, the shirt never went back on.

So you asked Keefer if you could use his bike and then just went to Cali on that?
Yeah, pretty much. I wasn’t going to drive to Cali. So, I was either going to fly and borrow a bike or I wasn’t going. On Friday I met up with Keefer, put my graphics on, and hung out

When you first got on the Honda did you have a good feeling? Did you know it was going to be a good weekend?
I don’t even think I rode much better than I did on the Kawasaki. If you compare lap times I got closer to the guys, but I didn’t gain any time on Eli or Chase. I got one lap in that second qualifier that was pretty decent. Then in the motos I just started up front. The track was pretty hard to pass and it was hot. In that first moto Roczen, Dungey, Plessinger, and a couple other guys were behind me for a long time. I know Dungey and Plessinger were riding at a pretty good pace, but there were four or five laps where Kenny wasn’t gaining too much.

It wasn’t like you were holding anyone up. It took those guys a while to get through the pack.
Yeah, even in that second moto when Wilson and McElrath got me, they weren’t going that much faster. I think they were a second or two at most, but there were two laps in the middle where I went from 37-38 and they stayed at 36. That’s when they passed me and then they pulled on me a little bit, then I caught them back but obviously it was too late for that. You know, I just wanted Dean-O to go out with a top ten.

You know he wanted that one bad in his final moto ever.
Yeah, he was yelling and screaming at me out there. I like you Dean-O, I’ll let you have that one.

How did you pull those starts on the stock bike and Chipotle?
I ran the scoop tire all day.

That was the reason?
It had to be. The first moto my jump was decent, but with the start being deep I think it helped me get to the corner first. The second moto McElrath actually got me on the jump and I was pinched off a little bit, but I just stayed in it through the whole corner. I was able to come out in front of him, which was cool.

This is your career best, how are you feeling right now, and don’t say it’s ‘just another day’.
It really just is another day.

You had to have been pumped!
I was feeling pretty good until 8PM and I was tired and didn’t really eat much because my stomach hurt.

Did the heat get to you?
There was one corner of the track where Sexton crashed, that left hander, you’d be feeling good all lap and then it was such a slow speed corner that all the wind stopped. You just got blasted by a furnace. That corner really got to me.

You even blew out a muffler too, right?
Yeah, the top silencer bolt fell out.

Hey, I’m getting a call, do you have time for a call back? It’s kind of an important business meeting.

So, there you have it. ClubMX offered Har Dog a deal to race the world Supercross Championship on a 450. He’s been down at the facility all month putting in the laps with his teammates Cade Clason and Jace Owen. He hasn’t had the chance to ride with Phil Nicoletti much yet, but he said he likes the bike. The deal is for the two announced rounds, but his foot is in the door and that’s the reason he kept charging hard all summer. Harlan said that he’s feeling positive underdog vibes and that’s what we all like to hear.

Main image: ClubMX

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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