Blair Morgan Racing Ready For A Great Season
By Scott Sumner
Slednews.com had the opportunity to sit down for an extensive interview with world no.1 snocross racer Blair Morgan to talk about his injury, the upcoming season and the Blair Morgan Racing Team.
"We rode for the Blackfoot Honda guys in motocross before. This year we decided to do the same thing we are doing with Ski Doo in snocross. We started our own team, making our own decisions and handling our own sponsorship and stuff with Yamaha," said Blair Morgan. "I did a few races in the US before the Canadian Nationals started and did one race early in the third or fourth lap of practice for a motocross race Blair Morgan had a serious injury." I hadin Canada.
"In Nainamo, BC on a Saturday morning, June 21/03 some bike troubles and the throttle stuck wide open. I went over one of the jumps, over jumped it really big, kinda flew off my bike in mid air and landed on the hard Nanaimo soil. I ended up breaking my leg really badly. The fibula broke and shattered near the bottom of the leg. I dislocated my foot out of the socket. It was a bad injury but everything is healing really good now. I haven't been riding anything, just doing cardio at the gym," explains Morgan. The previous season in snocross was the ultimate for Blair Morgan, winning the WSA Pro Open and Pro Stock championships, the indoor championships and the X Games again. "It couldn't have been any better. It was awesome. Hopefully I can match it this year again," says Morgan. Bur will Blair be able to race come the Duluth opener. "It will depend on how I feel if I race at Duluth. With a back injury you should give it a full six months to heal."
(Blairs injury was June 21) "If it does heal well, which it is, I could come back earlier. I feel ok now, but no where near what I was before. I'd like to be at least 80 or 90% of what I was before the injury. I think that's still good enough to win," smiles Blair Morgan. The competition has changed on the prestigous WSA National circuit this year with the absense of former number one rider Tucker Hibbert.
"I don't think Tucker will come back this year, but he is still really young so you never know about the future," Blair Morgan has just turned 28 on the 9th of October. He is 5 feet 11 1/2 inches and weighes 165 pounds. Right now he is heavier. The Blair Morgan Racing Team has a staff of 14 and has built up a nucleus of returning members who work well together. "We got Carl Kuster, who finished 3rd last year and second in the Indoors, Earl Reimer, in the the CRSA nationals and Veteran class. He's Scrap Iron, he likes breaking things," laughes Morgan. Morgan himself will concentrate on the WSA National Circuit. "Being able to handle your own sponsors, make your own decisions, do what you want to do with freedom is important," says Morgan. "That's why I started my own team. You would get sponsorship and everything would filter down through many levels before it would get to you. Even after I retire I can still run the team and hire other riders, having my own team has been really good, Basically I hired Wayne Matson who is a family friend of mine. One of my best friends is his son. First it was just as a financial advisor and it took off from there. He started negotiating my contracts and stuff. Awesome guy. It's tough to go out and try to get your own sponsors and hype yourself up." says Morgan "I turned pro when I was 16. I started winning some races and then getting some sponsorships helped to pay for everything. Now I'm paying them back."
Where will Blair be 10 years from now when he is 38. "I don't know. Look at Kirk Hibbert he was competitive in his 40s. If I can't win anymore I dont think I can see myself doing it. I've been there and done it. I may be team manager. It's tough to say. I'm not sure what I will do," says Morgan.
"The WSA races are where all the sponsors want me to race. That and the X Games and the Indoor Series basically will be my main focus which is 16 or 17 races in itself. Last year we did a few races where there were two on the same weekend so it was pretty tough. Indoor on Saturday night and WSA national on Sunday," states Morgan.
"The Ski Doo sled was totally awesome. It felt good from the first year we rode it. Last year with the 440 they improved it and this year they have improved it again, says Morgan. This year there is the changing of the clutches. The suspension is a little different plus some other smaller points. I will be at the Ski Doo test session doing some riding, test cornerng but I wont be skying any good jumps."
What makes Blair Morgan Number one? "I try to be smart out there, smooth. I always try 100 % even if Im at the back of the pack, every little bit counts. You may be last and think youll only get to 5th or something and you end up winning the race so I try all the time. I have a lot of experience in snowmobile racing as well. I've been around racing for along time. I raced motorcycles since I was thirteen. Before that it was BMX stuff and before that my brother raced motocross," stated Blair Morgan. "I'm from Prince Albert Saskatchewan. My family has a big farm with grains and hogs. That's how I grew up on snowmobiles and motorcycles as being in Saskatchewan you can go anywhere."
Blair Morgans first big race against all the top guys was in Yellowstone. The year before he raced some local events and won a lot. "My first real race was Yellowstone 97 and thats where I realized it was something I could do," says Morgan.
Jamie Answeew the team manager had a severe injury snocross racing the masters class in Calgary and became a parapeligic. Does injury ever come into your mind when you are racing? "It certainly came into my mind this year when I broke my back like him. I had a 50% compression fracture of my L 4. You can break your vertebrae but if you sever your spinal cord you are a parapeligic. The safety back equipment wont save you from breaking your back. The knee braces help a lot. My knee would be totally wrecked right now if I didnt have the knee braces," said Morgan.
"You cant think about crashing when you are out there. You have to concentrate on what you are doing. If you start thinking about injury you might as well pack it in because youd be so scared. If you start thinking about it it will happen to you. Racing in the Pro class is safer. I know a lot of amateur guys get hurt because they don't know how to react and get out of the way. Over the years I've learned how to crash."
What does Blair Morgan do for fun? "I just like going home and hanging out with the family. I have two kids know. Also Paint ball stuff. I have a really wicked RC car now. I also like video games, shooting people up," says Blair. His vehicle know is the Accura MDX although he wishes he still had the AccuraNSX. Morgan flys home to Prince Albert each week. "On Sunday night or Monday. I go home and do my regular schedule of training and riding getting prepared for the weekend. I fly back on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, Lake Geneva is the best track in my opinion It has up and down hills, more of an uphill outdoor track not just a small oval. There is nice weather then and the track is really rough," says Morgan. "I've got my own track at my home. I put in hard laps probably longer than what a race is, just try to improve things. Sometimes friends come over and ride with me but I like being by myself when I'm practicing. You dont have to worry about people going the other way or getting into trouble with other sleds during practice. Silly things happen then and you can get hurt."
"Usually people know who I am. In the midwest like Minneapolis the kids in 711 know who you are. Sometimes in California they know who you are from the bike stuff. I used to live in Nainamo for awhile and they don't know anything about snowmobiles or who I am," says Morgan.
Does Blair Morgan do any trail snowmobiling? "We try to go the mountains once a year. The best riding is in the mountains, there is no doubt about that. I haven't gone to Alberta or BC. Thats where Carl ( Kuster) rides all the time. I've only been to Wyoming and it is probably the best place I've gone. Also places like Montana or Colorado are awesome." says Morgan. "Depending on where you are there has been different snow conditions. We had pretty good snow at my place, last year which is pretty good. My track is mostly dirt anyways. I just keep riding on it."
What about the state of snowmobiles? "The sleds are getting a lot lighter, Arctic Cat has a 13.5 inch track which is skinnier but longer. You have to have a certain amount of track on the ground to get your traction so I'd rather have short and wide than long and skinny myself, I think it gives us a competitive advantage. They had a lot of troubles turning them last year. Tucker was the only guy that could make that thing work."
How is it racing along side your team owner Blair Morgan? "We have great respect for each other. We treat each other no differentthat any other competitor. Were there to win." says Kuster. The REV is the best snocross sled.