Ricky Brabec is a rider that wears many hats. Splitting his time between the National Hare and Hound series riding for JCR/Honda, and the Monster Energy Factory Honda Rally Team, means he’s a busy guy these days. After chatting with him at the Idaho National Hare and Hound round we decided to send over some questions so our readers could see what he’s been up to.
Dirt Buzz: Ricky, you’ve been all over the place racing and riding since the start of the year, how have things been going so far?
Ricky Brabec: Racing all over and around the world is awesome, everything is going great so far and I wouldn't change it for anything.
DB: You had yourself a bit of a streak started in the NHHA series, but unfortunately a crash at round four a few miles from the finish resulted in you missing round five. What happened?
RB: The reason I sat out round five of NHHA was that it was smarter for me to do so rather than race and worsen my injury. Now, I'm recovering at home to get back to 100% and will be ready to rock in a few weeks to regain the NHHA championship. Thanks to everyone for understanding, it's something I had to do. We take chances racing at 100 percent healthy and I didn't want to go race at 70% and gamble.
DB: This year was your second Dakar Rally and you took your first stage win but ultimately were unable to finish the race. Would you say 2017 was a learning year and heading into the 2018 event you know even more of what to expect?
RB: Each and every race is a learning experience for the next in my books, whether you win or not, you still learn something new. I know more of what to expect for 2018 Dakar of course.
DB: With the logistics involved and high costs to race rally events such as the Dakar, having the support of a company such as HRC is a huge advantage. What’s it like riding for team with such a rich racing history?
RB: It takes huge amounts of dollars to race rally and to be with HRC is incredible. The logistics they know compared to most is insane. I'm still new to rally compared to everyone else, so like I said, every rally is a learning curve for me and the logistics for each day of the event is different.
DB: With your association with Johnny Campbell and his JCR/Honda team, it seemed like a natural transition for you to move over and gain a seat with the factory HRC rally team. Was Johnny a big help connecting you with the HRC Rally team?
RB: I was actually riding with HRC before Johnny contacted me, but in the end, it was best I took JCR and HRC as a pair. For what I'm doing worldwide, it would only make the most sense. I’m still to this day in awe for what I've done and its truly a dream come true.
DB: What’s next for you in rally racing besides the 2018 Dakar? Any long-term plans to expand even more into rally racing in the future?
RB: There are long term plans for rally for sure. I will be with HRC for a few years to come and I haven't announced it yet but this is a good start. In those next few years I hope HRC, JCR, and myself can tackle Dakar.
DB: When we saw you at the Murphy Hare and Hound you had had a busy week leading up to that race and also quite the story about getting to Idaho.
RB: Hahaha oh yeah, that week was insane with racing the Sonora Rally then flying in a chopper with Jim McCoy from Baja to Palm Springs, then from there to Idaho Friday night was a little close for comfort for me as well as having the “bubble guts shits.”
DB: After Idaho, you finally got to relax and do a little social riding with Cameron Steele and the crew from Rip to Cabo. Seeing your social media photos made us jealous! How was the Rip this year?
RB: The Rip was Badass, I saw stuff in Mexico I thought was never there because usually I'm always racing and not paying attention to the villages and scenery. I can’t thank Cameron and the entire Rip crew enough for the epic adventure. What Cameron puts on is incredible, and I suggest everyone to put it on their bucket list… higher up on the bucket list for sure.
DB: Let’s take things back a little. How was it that you became interested in desert racing? Was that always an interest of yours growing up or did you just end up there and realize you had a knack for that type of riding?
RB: Hahaha, well I always raced BMX and jumped bicycles and had a dirt bike around. I was introduced to desert racing in 2007 and immediately became addicted and knew I wanted to succeed in it. Watching videos and movies I soon found out who was at the top and who the fast guys were and I wanted to be like them and race against them.
DB: Desert racing is so unique in that you rarely ride the same trail twice in 100+ miles of racing. It requires and uncanny ability to read the terrain at high speeds all while you stay on course and don’t miss trail markers. What is it about desert racing that enjoy the most?
RB: That’s exactly what I enjoy the most, right in the question. I like going over new terrain for long distances and not going over the same trail more than once in a single race… it’s desert racing, let’s explore the land.
DB: Nowadays dirt bike racers are very scientific about their training and diet; is there a particular training regimen and diet you stick with in order to be able to maintain optimum endurance and conditioning?
RB: There are all sorts of diets and training, I don't take it too serious because that’s no fun. Live life and enjoy every moment of it. However, I do have a diet and I do train my ass off, but I do slip up a little sometimes and go out to dinners and have desserts and enjoy the little things.
DB: We know there has to be a guilty pleasure though when it comes to diet. What’s the Ricky Brabec go-to food when you want to treat yourself?
RB: I like Outback Steakhouse and pizza. For dessert though, I'm an ice cream guy!
DB: Another off question: what’s in heavy rotation right now on your music list? Are you a Head Banger? Hip Hopper? Country Boy?
RB: I’d have to say Volbeat, Shinedown, Metallica, Eminem, and some country is what I have going right now.
DB: Last question, because inquiring minds want to know: what’s in your Netflix queue at the moment?
RB: I have no desire for TV or movies … EVER. I will listen to music in the garage and walk in circles before I sit on my couch.
DB: Thanks Ricky for putting up with our questioning. We hope you heal up quickly and we wish you luck when you are back at the races. Be sure you guard that Dirt Buzz tee of yours. They’re highly sought after. LOL.
RB: Thank you for squeezing out my secrets and see you guys at the races … hahaha, joke.