GNCC Racing

Exclusive Interview: Bill Ballance

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | 12:00 AM

We called Bill Ballance to find out if he’s primed and ready to win another GNCC Title. We ended up with this interview. No joke. You be the judge on Bill's plans for 2008.

Bill, I just need some quotes so everyone will know how ready you are. Are you getting ready?
Well, we just got started yesterday.

(Laughs). Yesterday! Wow. You have three days before the first race. Can you do it?
I don’t know. Maybe.

Is Bill Ballance ready? We'll find out on Sunday.
Hooper photo

Well, you won eight titles, and then you said you were going to start having a lot more fun with this. I guess you really meant it!
Yeah. You know, maybe I can just dig down deep and come up with something. I’ll just try to be mentally tough instead of physically tough.

Oreos and ice cream all winter?
(Laughs) I’ve had my share.

I heard you went to Europe this winter.

What was that all about?
We were testing new suspension with Ohlins.

Okay so you have been testing.
We’re still at it. We’re gonna’ see what we can do. I haven’t been able to ride as much as I’d like. I’ve had a lot of obligations with sponsors and new products and things like that took up a lot of time.

And you always get rudely interrupted by people calling for interviews.
(Laughs). No, that’s not too bad. We have an all-new machine on the way with Yamaha, and we’ve been doing some testing on that. It’s not training, but it is riding, so I guess that will help.

So you’re already riding the ’09 stuff, even though you won’t be racing it for awhile.
Yeah, we’ve been doing some testing.

Can you tell us anything about it?
Sure. It’s gonna’ be awesome.

Nice. So you’re testing ’09 and ’08 stuff at the same time.
Yes sir.

So is this a giant hole in your armor? A big opportunity for the competition to take you down?
Perfect opportunity. I’m at my most vulnerable point.

Wow! You want me to print that?
Yeah! Hey, if they can’t beat me now, they will never beat me because I'm not prepared.

So if you win one of these first two races”¦.
Oh they’re in bad, bad trouble then because I’m not even close to ready now.

So how much riding have you actually done?
I’ve done about two-hours worth.

(Laughs). C’mon. This doesn’t make sense!
What do you mean?

How could you have done so little?
Well, just two hours of actual training riding. I’ve done some testing, but that’s usually riding for five minutes, and then changing something, and then another five minutes.

Are you gonna’ have to race your way into shape then?
Looks that way.

Ballance is determined to win title number nine. At least we think he is.
Hooper photo

But when the ’09 shows up, you’ll be ready.
Yeah when that comes in, it will be so good I won’t have to train.

But it doesn’t sound like you’re doing that anyway.

So you’ll cruise through the first 10 races or so, then get the ’09, win the last three and get the title.
Yeah that’s a good plan.

You’re really going to keep the competition guessing right now.

Hey a lot of guys are riding new equipment, maybe they will break stuff and you can stay in the hunt.
Well, that would be nice.

You know, this isn’t really that new. I know when we switched to four-strokes everyone thought you were going to struggle.
Yeah well, I still actually haven’t ever figured out how to ride a four-stroke. I’m starting to get it together though.

Where you boys right now?
Croom in Florida.

Everyone there right now?
Yeah, Borich is down here, the KTM guys are here, everyone has been here at one point in time if they’re not here right now.

They have cameras and things on you to see what you’re doing?
We’re trying to stay away from that.

When you run into these other guys, do you ride with them or do you go away?
It’s fun to jump in there with them for a few minutes just to see what they’ve got, but then it’s back to work.

Back to five minutes of testing?
Yeah that’s right.

Well the competition sure will be intimidated.
You think?

You sound ready.
Yeah, I got a few extra fat rolls and all. I’ll be like Johnny G now. I can get extra traction in the mud.

He lose any weight?
No. He says he did. But he didn't. But he has stepped it up, I think he can get two top ten finishes this year. Two. He’s putting his head down.

How many top tens can you get?
That’s a tough one. I don’t know. Time will tell.