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Interview with Robert MacPherson, AA Pro Racer for Diamond Back
The following interview was conducted January 24, 1999 at the ABA Volunteer Nationals in Memphis, TN.
BMXtreme: Hi Robert. So far this year, you've had a pretty good start. I heard you were kicking butt in Reno…and today you're not just winning your motos, you're winning convincingly. What do you attribute that to?
MacPherson: I'm a little more focused this year. Last two years weren't up to par for me. I got number one pro a few years ago, then I got number 5 and number 3. I told myself, "You know, that's not good enough." So I totally started training hard. More focused. I'm coming to races wanting to race. Wanting to win. Not just be there. I want to win. That's it now.
BMXtreme: Can you tell me about your training or will you have to kill me?
MacPherson: Pretty much what everyone else does. I hit the gym like everyone else, ride trails and, the biggest thing is I really stepped up my sprint program. A lot more sprints. More focused, more concentrated. More out of my sprint program. That's been the biggest thing.
BMXtreme: I read something about you doing high altitude training. Is there truth to that or is that just a rumor?
MacPherson: For me? High altitude training??
MacPherson: No. There's no reason for that. We don't race in high altitudes except for Denver. I'm not a mountain biker. This isn't an endurance sport. Really, oxygen intake isn't really important for only a 40 second ride.
BMXtreme: As far as mental focus and preparation...you have your goals set. How do you maintain that focus? I mean, everyone wants to win. But you, you probably NEED to win, you're hungry for it. What keeps you at that level of focus?
MacPherson: More of the fear of losing probably. No, I just want to be the best. I want to be focused every lap, every moto, every race, every weekend. That's what separates the best from the second best. The person who keeps their focus and motivation up the longest usually winds up the champion. So that's my goal. I've been really working at it...working at it at home just really concentrating on winning...you know, concentrating 30-40 minutes on racing before I race and just totally working on it, you know? Just like training. Concentration is a big part of my training.
BMXtreme: Do you consider your number 3 finish last year a disappointment? Not necessarily in the eyes of anyone else, but personally? That you feel you can do better?
MacPherson: Yeah, I went to the Grands and the best I could've done was number 3, so that was my goal. I achieved number 3 and after the mains I was like, "That's a letdown." You know, I don't want to be thinking, "OK, I'm gonna get third, I'm gonna get top 3," that's not my goal anymore. I mean, I had a good year but not good enough. I don't want to settle for the top 3, I want to settle for the victory. When I win I had a good day and accept it, when I get 2nd or 3rd I had a bad day. And that's how I think it now.
BMXtreme: Usually everyone talks about Leveque/Purse, Purse/Leveque, and now Allier is on the scene. Do you think you sometimes don't get the recognition you deserve? I mean, you a consistent main maker, a main event winner...do you think your name should be thrown in the mix more when they're talking about the top guys?
MacPherson: Personally I don't care. It doesn't make a difference what they do or what they say or about respect. It's about what I do and how I feel. If I'm happy with my performance, that's all that matters. You know, I'm just as good as anyone else and they're just as good as me. If they get more recognition because they're a little more stylish, or more known in the past, you know I've only been racing for four years now. So, if I had been racing a lot longer...as a pro...well, I hold my own.
BMXtreme: So you have the new ride this year (Diamond Back). How do you like it?
MacPherson: Oh, I love it. Personally, I won the first race on it. It's a little different (than the Mongoose) but I made the adjustments. I'm a professional so I have to make the bike work for me and I'm doing that.
BMXtreme: So are we gonna see a Diamond Back MacPhersome model or anything?
MacPherson: (Laughter) Signature line coming out soon? They talked about it, it's so hard. But they're bikes are really good right now there's no reason...unless they name a bike that's already in production after me they might. Otherwise, the bikes they have now are good enough for anybody to ride.
BMXtreme: What was your reasoning behind leaving Mongoose for Diamond Back? Was it a contract thing? A timing thing? Any bad blood?
MacPherson: No bad blood. Their (Mongoose's) focus has changed. They're not focused on a full-fledged race team. They're more into marketing now.
BMXtreme: Yeah, they're hitting department stores now.
MacPherson: Yeah, and that's really not my...I'm a racer. I want to focus on it. I want the company to be behind me, and Diamond Back offered that.
BMXtreme: OK, thanks for your time. Anyone you want to thank?
MacPherson: I want to thank my fiancé Tatiana, my family, of course Diamond Back. Without them I couldn't be here. All the people who support me at the track. Without them the sport would be nothing.
Copyright 1999. All rights reserved.