Chad Reed leaned back in his seat in an empty Angel Stadium the day after New Year’s, letting the silence and memories wash over him.

He felt completely at peace. In the stillness, he saw an 11-year-old kid filled with dreams of racing here as he thumbed through motorcycle magazines in his bedroom in Kurri Kurri, Australia.

For the past two decades, Reed said his mind has been racing almost faster than his dirt bike whenever he came to Anaheim. This is an iconic place in the history of Supercross, and a victory at the Big A can make a career, so up until now his single-minded focus to be the best suppressed any wistful childhood flashbacks.

But with retirement often comes reflection. And that time has come for the 37 year old.

On Saturday, Reed will say goodbye to the Big A as the AMA Supercross Series makes its second and final stop of the season in Anaheim.

“Rolling into Anaheim and thinking that this will be the last one trying to take in the moment. … It is crazy to think that this is going to be the last one,” Reed said. “It is not fair to say you get to choose when you retire. It chooses you. I am 100 percent at peace with it. I feel like if I had walked away last year there would have been unanswered feelings. I would have questioned my timing. Now, it just feels right. Life has shown me other things than motorcycle racing, trying to transition into sports cars and doing that sort of things”

Last year in Watkins Glen, NY, Reed made his debut in the IMSA sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series, and with some help from co-driver Justin Price Reed won four of his eight 2019 LB Cup starts. But Reed was on his own in the LB Cup World Finals. Still, the four-wheeled rookie won the championship, winning one race and finishing second in another.

Reed said he and his “inner circle” had a talked about 2019 being his final year, so he could begin a full transition into sports car.

“But I wasn’t fully committed to it. It didn’t feel like the right time,” Reed said. “I wanted to race one last season where I say thank you to the fans and get a chance to embrace what a career it has been … embracing the love I have felt throughout.”

But there is an asterisk attached to Reed’s retirement. One of his goals, he said, is to ride in a professional Supercross race at 40. If that indeed does come to pass, he has no idea right now where it would happen. If he had his way, he’d move the San Diego race from Petco Park to an aging relic on the east side of town because he’d love to race at Qualcomm again. The cavernous football-only stadium always delivered a track layout that made him a fixture on the podium.

“But I do love the vibe at Anaheim 1 (the season opener),” Reed said. “So maybe I wouldn’t go as far to say that this will be my last one (at Angel Stadium).”

Anaheim has become a very special place for Reed too. It was the site of the first of his 44 AMA Supercross victories, where he turned in a dominant performance in the 2003 season opener. He’d win seven more main events in Anaheim, including two in 2014.

He ranks his first Angel Stadium triumph of the ’14 season as one his most memorable because he didn’t have the fast bike but he said he rode “like a diesel truck,” slowly building power and speed during the race.

Since then, though, he hasn’t had much luck in Anaheim.

During the season opener earlier this month, Reed had to earn a spot in his 250th main event through the Last Chance Qualifier after falling in the first turn of his heat race. He finished 18th in the feature race, more than 19 seconds behind the leader.

“I felt like a fish out of water. There were a lot of different emotions that I didn’t expect to feel,” said Reed, who was honored in a video tribute during the opening ceremony as he circled the track to a standing ovation. “I think I can win another main event. I just need to be in a better place, and that takes some some time.”

LA Daily News