ATV Motocross

Tuesday Feature: Doug Gust

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 12:00 AM

Just when it appeared that Dustin Wimmer could not be stopped, a familiar face proved that raw speed isn’t always the deciding factor in a race. Especially a mud race. Round three of the 2008 ITP/Moose Racing AMA Pro ATV Motocross Nationals at Ballance MX saw another packed gate of pros who faced one of their biggest challenges of the young season when the skies opened up and muddied the jump-laden race course. The first moto was another Wimmer run away, but as the conditions worsened between motos, the importance of a good start became the focus of everyone on the starting line. Nobody knows the advantage of a holeshot in a mud race better than 41-year-old Doug Gust. The Rockstar/MSR/Suzuki/ Yoshimura/Pro Taper rider pulled one of the biggest holeshots of his storied career and rode a smart race to take second place in the moto, and first overall. We caught up with ““Digger” to get his take on his popular win and his thoughts on the season to this point.


We’re three rounds into the series and things seem to be going well for you and your team.


It’s just gone real good, I’ve been real consistent. I didn’t get on the podium at Glen Helen, but I had two solid fifths. Then Alabama went well for me, I got third and got on the podium, then I came out of Ballance with a win. I’m just getting more time on my quad. I spent a lot of time on the snow-mobile over the winter so I was a little rusty on the quad for the first couple rounds. But the weather is starting to change here, stuff is starting to dry out, and I’ll be riding during the week a whole lot more. Hopefully that will help me get faster and keep getting these podium finishes.


Talk to us about your team. Your group really seems to have things together. You have factory Suzuki backing, Kory Ellis as your team manager, and a grand buffet of associate sponsors. Is this the best team you have ridden for?


Definitely. I mean I wouldn’t be here without this team. This is the best team out there, we’ve been here a while and we’re established. Kory Ellis and Jeremiah Jones really help us out, I mean they have been around and know what to look for out of us on the track. John, our driver, cooks for us, my mechanic is great, and our engine builder, Ryan Cox, has done a great job, our motors have been incredible. I can’t thank Rockstar/MSR/Pro Taper/Yoshimura, Fox Shocks, and Maxxis Tires enough. Having those guys at the races makes it a great team and brings it all together.


It sure seems like you guys have the horsepower because that second moto holeshot was big!


I knew I needed that one! I didn’t want to be full of mud, I wanted to be the rooster and not the roostee. [laughs]


The Suzuki’s have been really dominate this year, winning every moto except one. Do you feel like riding a LT-R gives you an advantage?


Well, we’ve been over here for a couple years with this LT-R450 and had this factory team put in place with a bunch of good guys. I think that has really been the key.


You’ve been around for a long time and watched the sport go up and down. What are your thoughts on how the series is being run right now?


I think they are doing a real good job. It’s AMA Pro Racing, and the times are good, we are on schedule, and I’m really satisfied. I think they are doing an awesome job. I have to tell you, I’ve been racing a long time and the competition is just unbelievable. There are a lot of guys going fast and now on any given weekend we have 12 guys that can win! I mean, it’s unbelievable.


Yes, indeed. When you look across the wide spectrum of AMA Pro competition, the AMA Pro ATV series has the most parity by a long ways. That has to be exciting to be a part of.


I’m excited to death. There are so many good guys out there and it’s really tough to win one of these now. There are no slouches anymore, before you would have a couple fast guys but now, dang! [laughs]


Well, you have one under your belt.  It sounds like you are starting to hit your stride and the series is coming to you. What are you going to work on to get that little extra?


Well, like I said I’m going to be able to ride my quad more and get myself a little more rust-free, and work on starts and try to pick my pace up where I can be on the podium every weekend.


Danville is coming up this weekend, anything else to add?


Bring it on, I’m ready for it.


Thank you for your time, Doug.