Bubba Harris

    The Video interview

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    The typed version

    On the evening of Thursday January 18, 2007 Adam Robb from Total BMX had brought Bubba Harris and Gork Barrette from Redline USA to the HQ for an interview. It was obvious that Bubba was also there so he could have a ride on the backyard track. We recorded it on video (link above). For those of you who don’t have the bandwidth we have transcribed the video, but you will have to try and watch the video as we also captured some of the riding. Before we get started I have to ask you is Bubba your birth name?
    Bubba: No it’s not I’m Burlin Harris, I’m actually the third, my grandpa is Burlin Harris, dad, me

    AUSTRALIA How are you enjoying Australia?
    Bubba: I love it, it’s really nice, I’ve been to a couple of other countries, I’ve been to France, Argentina, Brazil, Holland and so far Australia’s pretty much my favourite. I like it a lot. The gold coast is really nice. Did you get to a beach up in the goal coast?
    Bubba: Yeah, we stayed right on surfers (paradise) Did yiou check out the Kangaroos and other native animals?
    Bubba: Yeah we went to a wild life sanctuary. That was one of my assigned projects when we got here. I had to get a picture of me with a Kangaroo or my girlfriend was going to shoot me. Did you ask if you could take one home?
    Bubba: Oh no I wouldn’t go that far How are you coping with the Australian accent?
    Bubba: Sometimes I have to ask people to say some things twice, but other than that it’s not too bad, I’ve known a lot of the Australian guys that have come over to race in the US, so I’m kinda used to it. I was prepared for it before I got down here Have you picked up any Australian sayings hanging around the Aussie guys?
    Bubba: “Too easy” Do you see yourself coming back to Australia anytime soon?
    Bubba: Well with the Olympics coming up I think I am going to have a busy schedule the next couple of years but, I mean some time in the near future, like next 2 or three years I will definitely come back. I think there’s a supercross race here either this year or next year It’s in 08, I think it’s the last UCI race before the Olympics
    Bubba: I’ll definitely be back What do you think of the tracks here?
    Bubba: A lot of fun, I went to 3 so far Ashmore, Nerang and Park Orchards, and they’ve all been really good. Nerang was a lot of fun, I liked the pro section there. How are you coping with the different surface? It’s not the clay surface that you are used to from back home.
    Bubba: Yeah, it’s way different, kind of like pebbles on the surface. I have dealt with that before, at the UCI worlds in Vallet France, Holland was kinda that way, then the most recent worlds in France were the same. I’d ridden that surface before so. How do you think the Australian riders rank on an international level?
    Bubba: Oh man, the Aussies are fast. You have so many fast guys, from Warwick, to Fenwick, to Luke, Tiger, there’s just so many guys from down here. What do you think of Warwick Stevenson?
    Bubba: He’s an awesome guy, we really get along. I mean there was a lot of drama with our first title of course, but, we are both competitors you know, we both really wanted it. I mean I spent time with him, he recently moved back to the US. This January we had a race in Reno and I hung out with him all night after the race, had a few drinks with him. We get along really well actually. How has the XBR Super Clinic been going?
    Bubba: Awesome, very smooth, I’ve been teaching clinics since I was about 12 years old. So I have been teaching a lot of clinics. It’s always good when you go to a clinic when the kids really want to learn. And that’s what I found here, everybody is really stoked on having people to train them so they are really listening and really putting 100% in and that’s what makes a good clinic, because the kids are putting 100% in and not just you. So everybody are really wanting to learn so they really are learning a lot, it’s great. The Aussie Kids don’t see a lot of US pros, do they put you up on a bit more of a pedestal than say some of the American kids might?
    Bubba: I don’t know it’s kinda the same as the US. Because, I mean, we go to some of the tracks in the US where it’s the same thing, they don’t see too many pros. With my dad’s company we have tracks all over the corners of the US, the US is pretty…well it’s as big as Australia and so you see kids that don’t get to see pros as well in the US

    GENERAL If you weren’t racing BMX what would you be doing?
    Bubba: Right now I would probably be going to art school. Getting a degree in computer animation. I really like computer animated movies and graphic design. I’m actually going to come out with a clothing company soon. Do you tinker much on a computer, do you find time to tinker much on a computer?
    Bubba: Yeah when I’m at home. I try to design as much as possible. I’m trying to get my little company off the ground so making sure everything is alright What are your favourite sports outside of BMX?
    Bubba: Oh…BMX. No…I don’t know I never really did too many sports growing up. I played soccer from 5 thru 7 and then once I started racing, I started racing on my 7th birthday. Ever since I started racing everything went out the backdoor. I’ve been in love with my bike ever since. I like watching the grid iron games, and I like watching supercross What sort of music do you listen to?
    Bubba: All kinds, I listen to everything from rap to rock to punk to … my girlfriend makes me listen to country. I don’t really mind. Do you like any Australian bands?
    Bubba: Ummm [Bubba looks at Gork in the background] I guess ACDC. I just recently found out they’re an Australian band. [Laughter] ACDC’s not too bad.
    Gork: You have no idea
    Bubba: I have no idea. I’m definitely not a music buff I don’t pay attention too much to band names I just know if I like the song
    Gork: come on say Rose Tattoo man
    Bubba: Oh year Rose Tattoo. Gork is in love with Rose Tattoo, I’m yet to hear them but I heard they’re on Mad Max What do you think of Neil Young?
    Bubba: Neil Young? {Bubba looks stumped] Ok so that’s the answer to that one.
    Gork: The traditional question. Do you find any time for the internet?
    Bubba: I probably could have time for the internet but I don’t make time for the internet. I try to stay away from all of that. Say no to Myspace. Myspace is horrible. I mean, I don’t even go on too many of the BMX websites. I didn’t even know that Luke was hurt. I know it was on bmxmania and everything but I didn’t even know Luke was hurt until about a month and a half ago. I definitely kinda stay away from it. What websites do you check out?
    Bubba: I guess just the normal. I mean it’s really rare that I go on to a BMX website but I usually type in bmxmania What’s your favourite place to ride?
    Bubba: I love riding trails. Any good trails, it’s a lot of fun I love to ride. There’s a really good track actually over by my house, it’s a NBL track that’s recently opened up which is really fun. Pretty much trails. Any good set of trails. Alright so you have hit up the BSX track for about an hour now what do you think of that?
    Bubba: It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great backyard track. I could come back here and spend hours each day. Who do you ride with most?
    Bubba: Growing up I rode with Mikey Day almost every single day or at least twice a week we tried to ride together but since I moved to Arizona lately Joe Sowers, actually he won the cruiser junior elite title in brazil, he’s a world champion right now. Karl Clarke my buddy dingo, that’s about it.

    THE FOUR-PEAT I wanted to talk to you about the possible our-peat this year. When you first started racing as a pro at the age of 16 did you even think you would be in Australia just over 5 years later having broken records like:
    • the youngest ever pro rider to have won the ABA pro title
    • The first rider to take a three-peat AA ABA crown

    Bubba: Oh no you cant know anything like that I always knew I would be in BMX for the long run and I always knew I would be a AA pro one day. But I didn’t know that everything would come so quick. I didn’t know that everything would fall my way so soon and to have three already is just amazing. I could quit today and be so happy. But I won’t. Do you think much about the four-peat?
    Bubba: Not really. Not at all. Last year I didn’t think too much about getting three I try to take it race by race. One race at a time and make sure you’re prepared for the next weekend. I think if you concentrate too much on the future you forget the present. And then prepare for that race you are going to that weekend. It takes each race to win the title so it’s one race at a time Let’s say you pull off the four-peat, something that’s never been achieved before; would you trade it for a gold medal at the Olympics?
    Bubba: Trade it? I don’t know, I don’t know a gold medal at the Olympics is pretty huge you know. It’s my major goal right now but to trade my titles that I’ve won, I mean they meant so much to me in the past I don’t know that I would trade them for anything. It’s been a big part of my life the last 3 years. I think I would probably keep those but I mean at the same time you are talking about Olympic gold, the biggest thing in sports. That’s such a hard question.

    THE OLYMPICS I saw your name listed in a US Olympic Committee document along with Stumpy and Mikey Day as contenders for the 08 Olympics; how does that make you feel, considering we are still 18 months away from the event?
    Bubba: Great just to be a part of the Olympic committee, I mean we had a big chunk of the elite us riders do a camp at the Olympic training center this winter just to be a part of that Olympic team and get that Olympic feeling you know being at the training center and getting the support from the US Olympic committee is an amazing feeling you know. Hopefully I can stay on top of my game and keep my name on that list that’s the goal. Is there anything you will do differently in your lead up to the Olympics than say the world championships?
    Bubba: No not at all. I don’t think so. I actually think the world championships are going to be a tougher race you know because say take US and Australia alone there’s a lot of US guys that aren’t going to be at the Olympics. We and Australia have such big talent pools they’ve got to pull from and to only be able to pull 3 riders you are already missing a lot of competition right there. The Olympics are just going to be another race but of course you have got to peak at that time so make sure your training is right. Do you think an Olympic gold medal in BMX would mean more to a BMXer or the country they win the medal for?
    Bubba: Both. It’s a new sport of course a gold medal for any body in BMX is going to be huge because that country is going to own the only gold medal in that sport ever to be achieved until 2012 so I think for the country and the rider its going to be huge for both. I know personally for me I’ll feel like it’s bigger for me, it is personal, if I even make the gate. Definitely something I am planning on putting my wheel in there for.

    REDLINE How did you become a part of the Redline team?
    Bubba: Right when my team manager Gork went over to reline I went right with him. We were having issues with the answer team that I used to ride for and things were kinda falling apart there and it was just kind of a blessing in disguise because right when Gork went to redline I had the chance to move with him it was kinda like a family move. Redline has become my family over the last 6 or 7 years. How long have I been on redline?
    Gork: seven years
    Bubba: seven years so it’s just amazing. What do you think of your team mates Jason Carnes and Kim Hyashi?
    Bubba: Oh they are awesome. I love Jason and Kim’s amazing as well. Kim and I live in the same town so we see each other at the track every once in a while we have a cool relationship as team mates. You don’t get a better guy that Jason he’s such a good guy What’s it like traveling with Gork?
    Bubba: You know what? Just like I expected it would be. Me and Gork have known each other for a long time and he’s just real kicked back and neither of us are uncomfortable at all at any of the time so its like traveling with one of the family really. It must be pretty exciting having a Bubba Harris signature series bike and your photo larger than life on the side of the Redline team truck do any of your non-BMXer friends give you hell about it?
    Bubba: Oh yeah of course all my high school friends when I was growing up with them. They kinda knew what was going on all through high school and all my close friends they always give me a bunch of crap but they all do it in fun you know.

    WORD BATTLE Flats or Clips:
    Bubba: Flats for fun clips for racing ABA, NBL, UCI
    Bubba: UCI because it’s the Olympic sanction so I gotta go for UCI Indoor or outdoor tracks?
    Bubba: It depends, the indoor ABA grand nationals I love. The ABA Grand Nationals is like an outdoor track inside so its hard to say it just depends on the track I guess

    RACING I hear that last year you made a charge at the triple crown, #1 in ABA, NBL and UCI, something that Warwick Stevenson also tried but was unable to pull it off. Do you think it is possible? Will we see you have another shot at it in the near future?
    Bubba: Anything is possible of course every year that I race…last year when I was doing the NBL season I kinda had real bad luck for the first couple of NBL races, nearly every NBL race I went to it seemed that I hurt myself. I broke my shoulder at one I hurt my knee at another so just bad luck really last year with the NBL season but I mean every year that I am doing all three I don’t race a sanction to go for second. So I will definitely be going for it in the future. But it’s definitely possible anything is possible just all the cards just have to fall your way Can a BMX pro make a living from race winnings alone?
    Bubba: Race winnings alone? It would be really hard to do but if you have an awesome sponsor like I do and you know family to support you. By family I mean my team and my actual family then it’s definitely possible. Racing winnings alone it would be hard, I think they would have to up the anti a little bit if you are only making money out of race winnings Do you have any tips for international riders looking at hitting up the ABA or NBL circuits?
    Bubba: No, just come over and ride. Be prepared for some competition because pretty much all the classes are steep from the challenge classes up to the elite classes the talent pool in the us is really huge just be prepared for some competition when you come over How do you stay motivated through so much travel, training, and injury?
    Bubba: Thinking about what I would be doing if I wasn’t riding my bike. I get to make a living and have a good time doing something I love to do. It’s not too hard to stay motivated for me because I love my bike, I love racing Are you able to take any down time?
    Bubba: Not too much, in the US we have a 12 month season between the ABA and the NBL so not too much down time, the down time I do get I get a couple of weeks at home here and there. It’s nice because when I am at home I’m at home. I don’t have to go to work, in the morning, wake up leave home. The downtime I do get is totally worth it What are your current goals?
    Bubba: My current goals are, let’s see, what’s the next race Guthrie? So I just gotta make sure I am ready for the next race How long do you see yourself racing BMX?
    Bubba: For as long as I can, I mean John [Purse] made it, he’s still making it, John’s not done yet, you are definitely going to see more of John Purse and he’s what? 34? Something like that I’ll definitely be pedaling for as long as I can. What is your most memorable BMX moment?
    Bubba: Oh man, probably my first year with Warwick, it’s not going to get any crazier than that, more drama than that, to go against somebody…there’s not going to be somebody more of a competitor than that. SO far my first title against Warwick Stevenson is probably most memorable. You’ve raced against him since his return to the US do you think he will be back and the racing will be the same?
    Bubba: Warwick Stevenson is Warwick Stevenson. He’s always there when he’s on the gate, he’s always going to be in the top 3. It’s just how he rolls. He’s definitely going to be there for the #1 title, he’s an athlete, definitely a competitor Which riders do you have the most respect for?
    Bubba: I have complete and total respect for the whole AA class. If you’re AA you are AA for a reason especially in the US it’s not easy to get in the AA if you don’t deserve it. I have to say because I grew up riding with him and I know him as a person and a BMXer I have respect for Mike Day. Mikey’s the man. Which pros did you look up to when you were coming up through the amateur ranks?
    Bubba: I did a clinic when I was about 8 years old with Danny Nelson and Allan Foster. That was before Chris Schoonover came in. When I was a kid around 7, 8, 9 those were the two guys I really looked up to and then when my dad started to do clinics we had a pro work with us called Chris Schoonover and he pretty much taught me everything I know on a bike skill wise he was definitely my mentor. I was his protégé

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