Spend 15 minutes with Davi Millsaps and you’re liable to hear all sorts of interesting stuff.
Hang around with Monster Energy AMA Supecross Series veteran Davi Millsaps for even 15 minutes and you’re likely to hear banter you simply wouldn’t hear out of one of his competitors.
Gearing up for a midweek practice session and a photo shoot of his custom GMC Sierra pickup–which was modified by SoCal Supertrucks–at the not-yet-opened The West MX (the former Starwest MX Park) in Perris, California, the 27-year-old Floridian gabs away while mechanic JR Boyd gives Millsaps’ BTO Sports KTM a final once-over.
“Hey, JR, today’s Fat Tuesday. What are you giving up for Lent? You have to give up something,” Millsaps pronounces.
“I don’t know. What are you going to give up? I know, you should give up Starbucks,” Boyd shoots back.
“Ooooh. I don’t know about that. What if I just give up Starbucks but not coffee? I like my coffee.”
“Well, maybe if you just gave up corporate coffee—no Starbucks or Coffee Bean or Dunkin Donuts. But even a Keurig is still bad for you because you’re pushing hot water through a piece of plastic.”
“I never thought about that… Well, but the plastic that Keurig supposedly uses is supposed to be PTE free and anti-microbial… Man, I have to think about this. I am pretty addicted to Starbucks.”
Just a few minutes later, Millsaps is slamming huge whoops and attaining nose-bleed heights over the triple jumps on the West’s pros-only supercross training track, and he’s probably mulling over his coffee prospects during Lent while ripping off lap after lap.
There’s no question that Millsaps is a unique individual in the sport of supercross. He’s humorous, über-direct, and some would say he’s cocky. That last one would be hard to argue, but just maybe he deserves a bit of a break because it is hard to deny the talent and dedication that Millsaps has displayed in the sport of motocross/supercross since turning pro in 2004. Those traits have allowed him to enjoy tremendous longevity in the sport along with one championship title: Millsaps won the AMA East Coast Supercross Lites (250cc) title back in 2006, during his time as a factory Honda rider. He has also finished as high as second in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, twice, and he won the 2014 Monster Energy Cup during a brief stint with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team, a relationship that ended in controversy, to say the least.
But that, like the rest of his career, is water under the bridge as far as Millsaps is concerned, and he is happy to focus on the now, on his family and on his new ride with the BTO Sports KTM team. Just like his relationship with wife, Brittney, a former Miss Supercross, the BTO ride has already proved to be a good marriage. Millsaps has pulled holeshots and won heat races, and he finished fifth in last weekend’s main event at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
So, when Millsaps says he isn’t done with racing quite yet, you can’t help but believe him.
How old are you now? Because you seem to have had a pretty long life in this sport already.
I’ll be 28 in six days. My wife just turned 29. My son will be 4, and my daughter will be 2.
And marriage and fatherhood have continued to suit you.
Yeah, until they drive me nuts. (laughs) It’s just like when you have someone who works with you who drives you nuts. It’s the same sh*t.
How have you liked riding the KTM so far?
It’s pretty good. We’re still working on it. I’ve never ridden a bike like it. It is definitely different than a Japanese bike. That’s for sure.
You ought to know. You’ve pretty much ridden them all.
Yeah. I started with Makita Suzuki back in 2004. Then, from 2006-2010, I was at Honda. Then, JGR Yamaha, then Rockstar for 2 years, then Kawasaki and then this. If Husqvarna hadn’t come back, I would have raced every brand, just like Jeremy [McGrath].
Well, he didn’t race a Kawasaki as a pro.
With Pro Circuit? That wasn’t a Kawi?
His Peak Anti-freeze ride with Pro Circuit was a Honda.
Oh well. That’s one thing I don’t know about this sport, its history. It doesn’t really intrigue me even though I love doing what I do.
What is the one thing that you remember the most about your amateur career?
All the traveling, and that the sport was fun and not too serious. It was really fun. Now everyone is so serious and you’re only as good as your last race. In amateurs, if you didn’t win a national title at Lake Whitney, you’d go right to Mosier Valley, and if you won it there then everyone forgot about what you did at Whitney. Here (in the pro ranks) they don’t let you live anything down. Honestly, a lot of people in this industry nowadays are d**kheads. Their egos are too big. Everyone forgets where they came from. This sport is too small for people to be like that.
You said at the Anaheim I press conference that you felt like you had a lot of years left in you yet. Do you have any idea what that number is?
Well, it’s hard to really say. It depends on what I’m doing, you know? Is it supercross only or is it outdoors, too? Because if you throw me in outdoors that number is going to be a lot smaller.
Do you have any kind of exit plan for when you do decide to retire?
Yeah. I’m gonna retire in Havasu on my boat, with a lot of Captain and Coke. (laughs) No. I don’t know, man. I’ll have to do something because I can’t sit around for very long. I think it would be fun to train one or two kids in supercross who are pro or are just turning pro. But I wouldn’t want to work with amateurs because that’s just too much traveling and no private tracks. In supercross, you can get private tracks, and you can work on stuff.
Your BTO Sports deal is supercross only.
Yep. I don’t have a ride for outdoors this year. With BTO, it is me and Justin Brayton for supercross, and Andrew Short and Justin Brayton for outdoors.
How do you get along with the guys on the team?
All right. I have been teammates with both of them before. I was teammates with Short at Honda for 5 years, and then I was teammates with Brayton at JGR.
Moving back to your family, would you ever want your kid to get involved in the sport?
People ask me that a lot. I don’t know if I’d be able to keep him off of a dirtbike because he already loves it so much. If it was done the right way… But I have been doing this for nearly 25 years, and I don’t know if I could do it all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a great life, but it wasn’t a normal childhood, and it can be hard on families. And just because he is my kid, it doesn’t mean that he would be good on a dirtbike. There are a lot of things I would love to see him get into. This is a tough sport, and it can take a toll on you.
Obviously, injuries can take a toll.
I think losing an internal organ kind of sucks. In 2010 I crashed in the first moto at Budds Creek and lost a kidney, broke my back, broke a bunch of ribs, bruised my lung, and I don’t remember that day. That was a good one. I’ve had quite a few, but that part of the sport really doesn’t bother me too badly. If my kid isn’t going to get hurt on a dirtbike, he is going to get hurt somewhere else.
So, what is your final word regarding your controversial parting with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team.
It was bullsh*t. I mean, I don’t hate anyone over there, but I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. Yeah, my results were not good, and I was sick, and I couldn’t get rid of the illness. If they had given me a heads-up, like, ‘Hey, your results aren’t there. We don’t know if we want you back next year.’ Well, okay. That will give me some time to find somewhere else to go. But they had to take matters into their own hands and fire me for no reason. It is what it is, and it is water under the bridge. There are people over there who are good people. There are also people over there who are only out to protect themselves.
After the Kawasaki debacle you seem to have landed on your feet with the BTO Sports KTM team. How did that happen?
Well, I’ve known the owner of this team, Forrest Butler, for a very long time, so that helped. I don’t know. I just think I’m a pretty easy guy to get along with. People might find me to be intimidating or hard to approach, and if you catch me at the wrong time that might be true. But, all in all, I try to be nice to everyone and get along with everyone, and I attribute some of me being able to get good rides to being someone that everyone can be around.
Well, this is the longest we’ve ever been around you, and the biggest impression we get is that you’re a real person. Like Popeye, you are what you are.
(Laughs) That’s it, man. There’s no need to have an ego in this industry. We ride dirtbikes for a living. We are small. We are famous in our own little world, but we aren’t Steph Curry or Lebron James. There are, what, 72,000 people, max, that come and watch us at a stadium? But outside of that stadium
how many people know us, really?
C’mon. It is a little bigger than that.
Yeah, maybe. I mean, I have had a couple of pilots on airlines mention my name when I’ve gotten on a plane to go somewhere. That’s pretty cool.
But you’re still not cool enough to be invited into the cockpit…
That’s okay. I don’t like flying anyway. (laughs)