There is a story that has been sweeping across the industry all summer. Throughout the outdoor nationals you could see a racer screaming around the track with long hair flying out of the back of his helmet. However, it wasn’t the sight of him racing that had captivated the attention of race fans, it was the sound. Gared Steinke was racing a 125cc two strokes against the 250F machines and doing quite well. All of the hoopla manifested into an invitation to the Pulp MX Show where things escalated quickly for Gared and now he is invited to the 2015 Monster Energy Cup. One of the more colorful personalities in the sport, Mr. Steinke travels around the country in his van and does it on his own. We got Up to Speed with Gared to talk about his summer, t-shirt sales and how he was able to get invited to the biggest Supercross race in the world.

Let’s go back to the Las Vegas Finals in AMSOIL Arenacross, which you won. What did you have set up for the summer at that point?

You know, honestly I didn’t have anything lined up after the race. That’s when Mike Vizer and myself came up with the idea of riding a two-stroke in the nationals. We got some help from Jeremy White with Thermo-Tec Coolant, which sponsors Junior Jackson’s AMSOIL Arenacross team. They got me to High Point, Budd’s Creek and Red Bud. We ended that deal after Red Bud, then I had some other sponsors that wanted to help me out and they got me going on the KTM for the rest of the summer.

You were on the Pulp MX Show last week and talked about how your “2Stankin” t-shirt sales helped you get to the rest of the outdoor nationals. How many did you sell?

It was actually 378 "2Stankin" t-shirts (so far) which worked out to  $3780. That’s pretty much the only way we got the fuel money and entry fees covered to do Millville through Indiana. That money that Vurb Moto made for me was really the only way I was able to keep racing.

Being on a vastly underpowered 125cc machine racing against 250cc 4-strokes must have been difficult. Were you just out there trying to keep your name in the headlines, or were you really trying to score points and finish inside the top 20? My goal every single moto was a top 20. In the past, like the last couple seasons, my goal was just to qualify in the outdoor nationals but once I got that out of the way I was like, “OK I just went 27-27 at High Point, I can do this. I can make the top 20.”

Well, you came very close to reaching that goal at the Utah national where you finished 21st in the second moto! Did you know where you were on the track, and was your mechanic telling you on the pit board how close you were?

Yes, I came close. My buddy Eric Dillon was my mechanic for me that weekend and he kept telling me with five laps to go that I needed to get Alex Frye. He put on the pit board that he was only 10 seconds ahead of me and he was getting tired. I could see him on the last lap and I came to within three seconds of him but just came up a little short.

Let’s go back to the Pulp MX Show where they wanted to talk to this guy on the 125cc machine making headlines and then the question comes up asking if you wanted to go to the Monster Energy Cup. At first you said you couldn’t go, because you don’t have the funds, however something came up in a big way. Jim Holley, Daniel Blair, Steve Matthes and Kenny Watson put together a package for you and now you have an official invitation to Monster Energy Cup.

You know, it’s kind of unbelievable.  I don’t believe it would be possible without racing the two-stroke so I can’t thank the folks that helped me this summer enough. Last year I didn’t get an invitation, so it just feels amazing to see that deal come together and get the invite.

What bike are you going to race?

It’s going to be a KTM 250 two-stroke.

In addition, Jim Holley said he was going to put up $500 for you, then Matthes backed it up with another $500, then your friend Daniel Blair said he would throw in $300 more.  Does that still stand?

I know Holley came up with $500, then other people started stepping up on the show and I couldn’t exactly tell who it was, but Daniel Blair texted me he is like, “Dude, Monster Energy Cup, it sounds like you have $1300 to help get you there!” I was like all right, sounds good to me, let’s do it!

Let’s change gears a bit and talk about where you left off by winning in the AMSOIL Arenacross series. Jim Holley brought up a good point that you have been riding very hard on the 125cc two-stroke to keep up with the 250F bikes. It forced you to use your momentum and rely on the basic fundamentals of going fast.  Will this help you for 2016 heading back into AMSOIL Arenacross?

Absolutely. All summer I have concentrated on keeping my momentum up and really railing the corners and trying to keep the power to the ground.  The biggest thing is just keeping my race craft sharp. If I hadn’t done the nationals I would have been riding and stuff, but not getting gate drops at high intensity against the best. You know, it is going to help me going into the 2016 season. I just think that I need to prepare myself physically for the new season coming up and it is going to be a lot easier for me to start strong.

What are you doing between now and Monster Energy Cup on October 17th to get yourself prepared for the race?

Well, this weekend I’m heading to Mexico for a big race that I’ve done for a few years. Kyle Regal and Josh Hill are racing in it so there will be some good competition to gauge myself against. Then after that I’ll be hitting up the Top Gun race at Washougal and a couple two-stroke races. I’m going to be racing and riding as much as possible that’s for sure. The Monster Energy Cup is a big race and I want to make sure I’m as prepared as I can possibly be.