On the track, Mike Day has it all. But what makes him one of the most unique double-A Pros out there is that his style and flow seem to have no limits; he can kill it at the trails and has been known to shred mini ramps and skateparks. We sat down with one of the most versatile riders to race double-A since Brian Foster, and asked him about his style, what he likes to ride, how he sees himself, and a little bit of everything in between.
How did you get to be such a good all-around rider? Is that something you worked on becoming or did it just sort of happen?
Thanks for the compliment. I was lucky enough to grow up in southern California, where we can ride all year long. When I was younger, I rode a lot of trails and just recently (my friend) Randy Roberts got some ramps, so I’ve been messing around with those. It wasn’t something that I tried to do, it just happened.
You ride pretty much everything–what’s your favorite?
For fun, I would have to say a good day at the trails with my friends. Everyone trying new tricks and different lines, laughing, joking, and having a good time.
Do you see yourself as a racer first?
I’ll always see myself as a racer first. I do like to go to the trails and ride the parks, but my main focus is racing.
How old were you when you turned double-A? How has it been so far?
I turned double-A at 17 after the Gold Cup in Chico (California). It’s been great so far, but I wasn’t in a big hurry to turn double-A. I raced both NBL and ABA as a single-A pro to figure it all out. I knew what to expect going into double-A ’cause I raced Pro Open to get in the mix.
Do you have a favorite spot?
Not really; Randy (Roberts) ‘s house is only a few miles from mine and I ride there the most. I like to go to Sheep when it’s running. There are always good riders there and it’s like a racetrack, but I always have to sit in traffic, so I don’t go too much.
Bubba Harris once said that he doubted there was another double-A out there that rides his bike as much as you. Is that true?
I do ride my bike a lot, but I don’t think that it’s much more than he does. Bubba was always the one that had to do a couple more laps when we were ready to go.
Do you ever get burned out on riding?
Sometimes I get burned out on racing; it’s hard to race double-A and go through the ups and downs, but I never get tired of just riding. When I start getting burned out on trails, I’ll put a peg on and go to the skatepark.
Describe your perfect session.
The UCI downhill race; the rain came through and delayed the race for a couple of days. In the meantime, we got to ride all the skateparks at Woodward as the track was drying out. That was perfect.
Would you ever trade some of your skills for more horsepower?
No–horsepower is something that I can build on; skills seem to come more naturally. And I think that the horsepower part of my racing is starting to come around; that’s something that I have been working on lately.
How do you feel racing against guys who are almost twice as old as you? Do you ever feel like you’ll have an easier lap with the older guys or a harder one with the younger ones?
It doesn’t really matter; older or younger, they’re all double-A. Every lap in that class is hard; it doesn’t get easier with older guys. I think when you have the older guys in your moto it seems to be harder.
Who would you say has skills?
As for just racing, Thomas Allier has the most skills. Brian Foster has the most all-around riding skills–he can ride anything. I also love to watch Kyle Bennett; he’s got the best style. If you put skill and determination together, you get Bubba.
What was your favorite race last year?
It would have to be the X Games. They treated you like you were a king. When you signed up you got a backpack full of stuff. They had lunch catered every day. It was just an exciting and well-put-together race.
If you could build the perfect first straight, what would you build?
Something different; all the tracks have the same three jumps. I would have a big starting hill with as many jumps as possible. First straights need a change…
Name three things you wish you could do on a bike.
I wish that I had a few more tricks in the bag… I’d really like to learn tailwhips; maybe backflips. But I want to win a double-A pro race; that’s my main goal this year.
First, my pops for all the help, Jason and Spencer at Staats, Fly Racing, Red Bull, UGP, and Oakley. I would also like to thank Steve Staats, all the friends that I ride with, and Karl Williams.
A lot of people have said that tracks like the downhill X Games were built for guys like Mike Day. Since he picked up the bronze his first time out, we’d have a hard time disagreeing.
If Mike Day is the future of double-A racing, then the squat rack is on its way out, and bike-handling skills are on their way back in.