Carey Hart is a motocross multihyphenate, a breakout rider turned TV star, tattoo impresario and team owner. He’s also one half of a high-profile celebrity couple, having married Pink in 2006, and with the birth of their first daughter in 2011, he added another title to his resume: bad-ass dad.
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These days, Hart’s retired from competitive riding, but RCH Racing, his Fox Head sponsored team, is in the hunt for a title in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. And with the tour set to take over MetLife Stadium in New Jersey this weekend, he sat down with Rolling Stone to talk about fatherhood, going fast, and life with the baddest pop star on the planet.
We don’t do a lot of dirt-track racing in New York City … can you explain supercross to us?
It’s pretty straightforward. The great thing about supercross is that, you don’t have to know anything other than it’s loud, it’s aggressive and the fastest guy wins. It’s really in-your-face, there’s tons of pyro, and the ‘monster-truck guy’ voice is announcing everybody as they come out.
That sounds awesome. Do you miss competing?
Sometimes. But I’m having more fun riding now than ever. I’m just trying to get back out there. I had my spine fused nine weeks ago, the doctor thinks I compression-fractured my lower spine at least 10-12 times, so we had to go in and take care of it. I’ve been through some gnarly stuff, I’ve broken everything you could imagine, but recovering from this was brutal. I was just off my feet, laying down flat for 22-hours a day, in excruciating pain, because they elongated my spine. I’m a half-inch taller now, which is cool.
What’s the worst injury you’ve ever sustained on a bike?
There’s been a couple. The most recent one was probably in 2003; Tony Hawk did this tour, and we were on the second day. There was a vert ramp in the middle, and me and four other guys were jumping over it, like a circuit track. There was a miscue in the show, because they were running a little slow inside the vert ramp, and I got my cue too early, so I took off to hit the ramp, and Tony popped up on the deck in front of me. I had to decide: either go into the crowd or go into the vert ramp. I went into the ramp, and when I hit it, it shattered both my legs, both my arms. I was in ICU for a month, it almost killed me. I didn’t ride for almost three years after that, I had to let my legs heal.
And yet, you got back on the bike.
Always. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been laying in the dirt, something broken, bone sticking out, just thinking ‘Why the fuck do I keep doing this?’ But you go to the hospital, you get stitched up, or bolted back together, and you go home and heal, and eventually, you start to forget the injury and start to miss your motorcycle.
Would you want your daughter, Willow, to follow in your footsteps?
I’m buying her a dirt bike for Christmas. I started riding when I was four, my wife rides, so if Willow chooses, the bike will be in the garage. I got the ‘Worst Father of the Year’ award back in October, because I posted a photo of her on my motorcycle, and she didn’t have a helmet on. I got crucified. But what am I gonna do? It’s good for my image.
You mentioned your wife, Pink, rides a motorcycle, and she does all these mid-air acrobatics during her concerts, too. Is there an ongoing competition between you two?
[Laughs] Maybe. I can’t get her to surf, because she’s scared of sharks. And she won’t golf, either. She’s got this thing that, like the original initials were ‘Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden’ or something like that, so she’s pretty anti-golf. And I’m like, ‘But it’s changed! We drink beers and hit this stupid little ball and it’s awesome,’ but she’s like ‘Nope.’
But there are moments when you two actually relax, right?
Oh, yeah. When we’re home, we’re home. Me and my wife are into Game of Thrones, and she sucked me into Nashville a little bit, but she’ll watch Sons of Anarchy in return. But we have a kid, so the chance to watch TV is rare. I’ve seen Frozen too many times. But I got Willow into Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry, and she thinks they’re the best things since sliced bread, and I’m like ‘Score, I can actually watch this and not want to scratch my eyes out.’
Would you ever consider getting back into TV?
Probably not. I did that awful TV show, The Surreal Life, it was horrible. My manager talked me into it. One of the only good things was that I rode with the cast. Jose Canseco was classic on a motorcycle. He was like a bear on a little tricycle.
You clearly enjoy putting your life at risk, so how many Monster Energys can you drink in one sitting?
Zero. Those things just whack me out. I get the shakes. I’m not young no more, that stuff just doesn’t do me good