He's competed in the X Games, Supercross and is a regular face in Arenacross. Now at 32, Daniel Blair might be considered in the twilight of his career but you wouldn't know it based on the results from this year.
Racing for the MotoSport.com/Lauerman MX Race team, Blair leads the field for points in the West Lites class after one round and has raced in every East Lites race this season as well to keep sharp for when it counts. So far, racing in both classes, Blair has notched seven Top 10 finishes which includes two third-place results and a checkered flag.
He briefly retired after the 2013 season when he finished seventh in the Arenacross class but then got urged back in front of the gates for 2014, had little trouble resuming his career for the 2015 season and now plans to compete for several more years. In addition to his skills on the track, Blair is also the color analyst this year for the AMSOIL Arenacross races broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
MotoSport got a chance to talk with Blair during the two-week break between Round 5 in Wilkes-Barre, PA and Round 6 this weekend in Tampa, FL.
Years riding pro: 15
What age did you start riding and on what: 5 on a PW50
What do you ride now? KTM250sxf
Hometown: Lodi, Ca.
- 2009 9th overall Supercross Lites East (Geico Honda)
- 2009 9th overall X Games
- 2013 7th overall Arenacross Championship
Other hobbies/interests: Lead Singer in the rock band Main Event.
1. How did you get started riding a dirt bike?
My dad started me when I was a 5. He was a pro in the 70s and 80s. When I was born my dad gave up his dream of being a pro racer to support our family. He bought me a PW50 when I was 1 and I sat on that thing until I was 5 and started racing.
2. Did you always have a goal of going pro or was there a moment when you realized the possibility and then made it a goal?
It was my dream since I was 8 years old. I won the World Minis when I was 8 and from then on I wanted to be a pro. I idolized Jeff Ward and Damon Bradshaw and wanted to be like them when I got older.
3. You retired in 2013, got talked back into racing for 2014, and here you are again in 2015. What kept you lining up behind the gates this year?
I try to retire every year but get sucked back in. Some people are addicted to drugs, some are addicted to video games. I race dirt bikes and I will forever unless they come up with an AA for Motocrossers that need to move on.
4. It is only one Round but you sure looked like the rider to beat for the West Lites series. What's the difference this year over past years?
This year is all about having fun and working with my ducklings. I am motivated to win the Lites West but my main priority is helping Gared Steinke, Jake and Jonah Locks, and Brian Alquist achieve their goals and improve their results.
This and all above photos: Mike Vizer
5. You compete in the East Lites class though not for points, how do you approach these "non-factor" races versus when it really counts?
I approach each race the same. On the East I don't get any points but I still want to win. Unfortunately for me, the East tracks are rutty and I hate ruts. I tend to do better when tracks are dry with big whoops and so far we have had one race like that, and I won.
6. The first three Rounds of the West Lites series is pretty sporadic, is there a mental or even physical aspect to the time off you have to overcome?
Yeah, it takes me a minute to get back in the swing of things. These young kids are pinning it this year and I've got to get my starts dialed. When I get a bad start I have struggled because these youngsters get pretty nutty and this old dog isn't riding like that. When I get a Top 5 start, I can win and podium.
7. You've competed in Supercross, Arenacross and X Games. How do they measure up against each other and what do you like best?
I loved X Games. At that time I was in my prime and loved the gnarly tracks. In 2009, it was a great year getting top 10 overall at both the X Games and in Lites East Supercross. At this stage in my career I am very happy and content with Arenacross. It has extended my career for sure.
Photo: AMSOIL Arenacross
8. At 32, you're considered an older rider, what gets harder that didn't bother you in the early days?
When I was young I could weed up and get back on the bike like it was nothing. Now, I pull my back out trying to put my bike on the stand.
9. Do you need to make adjustments to how you ride or approach a race that's different because you're older or is it always practice, practice, practice?
I have made huge adjustments to my style the last few years. I race with my brains now where I used to race with my balls. I have two kids so every time I line up I think about staying safe and racing smarter so I can come home in one piece.
10. Will we see you next year? What are your future plans?
Honestly, I will race forever. My dad is 54 and races every weekend. I want that. My short term goals are to race Arenacross until I am 35. My son will be 7 and can race the 50cc class at Arenacross. I'm going to pull him out of school for a year so we can travel the whole series. Don't tell his mom.
Written By: AndrewT