Anyone that followed the AMA Pro Motocross series throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s is familiar with the name Robbie Reynard. The Oklahoma native was one of the most highly anticipated riders coming out of amateurs in the history of the sport. He immediately burst onto the professional scene in style as he became the youngest rider to win a national at the ripe age of sixteen years old. On any given day, he was undoubtedly the fastest rider on the track which led to four more 125cc national victories, but unfortunately his career was marred by a multitude of consecutive injuries. Flash forward to present day and Reynard is still one of the baddest dudes around on a 125 -- he showed up at Loretta Lynn’s last year in the Junior 25+ class and laid the law down against notable names such as Austin Stroupe and Michael Byrne aboard their 450cc machines. If it weren’t for an untimely mechanical failure, he would’ve snagged the number one plate to take back to his home at Reynard Training Complex. He still plays a major role in the sport as a riding coach/trainer for some of the top names in the amatuer and professoinal scene; such as Austin Forkner, Justin Bogle, Benny Bloss, and Colt Nichols. We got ahold of Robbie to chat about how things have been going from the other side of the sport, breaking out the 125 for Loretta Lynn’s, and keeping training fun.
You’ve built quite the facility down there in your home state of Oklahoma with Reynard Training Complex. Could you talk a little bit about what you’ve got going on down there?
Well, I’d say it’s a lot like the other training places. We all have SX tracks, MX tracks, and all that stuff. Obviously I have a good group of riders that have had pretty good success. I’m just really involved in it -- like I live here, it’s my life, y’ know. I enjoy it and I enjoy seeing the kids improve and if I can’t figure it out, it drives me nuts, so I have to to always pick apart everything and figure out how to fix stuff. I think that’s maybe the difference that separates me and some other trainers -- I know it’s not textbook how to ride a bike, you have to kind of grow with the rider and learn things that each rider needs and stuff like that. It’s been a big learning experience for myself, y’know. Some of the things that I took for granted that I just did, not everybody can do, so you just have to learn little things like that. It’s a good thing, y’know, we just keep growing the place and it gets better and better. One of these days, y’know, I’ll probably be buried out here, haha!
It’s definitely a really tight knit group with all the Oklahomies down there.
Oh, for sure. We definitely have a good group and everybody somewhat gets along. Everybody’s here and for everbody to be around each other 24/7 and have to do everything together -- I think we have an awesome group. One thing that I try to do is keep everybody positive, y’know, you can’t have a negative environment. We’ve gotta keep everything positive. Obviously, there’s a lot of crap talking, because they’re motocrossers and they like to talk crap, haha! But, then again that kind of motivates everbody a litlte bit and helps push them.
I’ve heard from talking to some of the riders that you have one of the gnarliest sand tracks around down there — like three minute lap times — and it really beats the guys into shape. Forkner even told me you can go out there and still show them the way around sometimes.
Yeah, I’m getting further and further away from that; that’s probably why I don’t ride too much ‘cause I’m still way too competitive. I don’t like getting beat, so I go out there and try to ride harder than I really need to. But, that place is out at my dad’s place and it’s kinda where I was riding from eighteen onward. It’s a really sandy place -- all natural terrain, just big rolling whoops, and it’s pretty gnarly!
Obviously motocross is one of the biggest family sports in the world, especially on the amateur scene. You kind of took it to another level when you were a professional with your dad, Robert, pretty much being your mechanic your whole career. Talk a little bit about how integral he was to your program and your relationship with him now. Does he help out around RTC?
No, obviously me and my dad are super close and my mom; family is really important to me and I think that’s really important. It’s good to have them around. I have a few of the dads that are around here all the time with their kids and it’s good, y’know. I think it keeps the kids humble and it’s just good to have that kind of environment as long as the dad’s positive and supportive. My dad, obviously, was a big part of it growing up and my pro career. Actually, he rides way more than I ever do; he rides almost every weekend! We have open practice and him a bunch of old guys come out and ride. The young kids out there are talkin’ crap to each other and these old guys are out there talkin’ crap, too! “You see me goin’ through that rut after that?” So, it’s awesome. It keeps ‘em young -- it makes me a little nervous, but it’s great to have them out there havin’ fun.
And then your wife Ashely used to be Miss Supercross, and she still does the podiums at the races. It’s pretty much a moto family through and through for you guys.
Yeah, for sure. Ashley’s still pretty involved; she does the announcing at SX live on the floor. So yeah, she’s pretty involved and she helps me out a ton here. I wouldn’t be able to do it wihout her.
You’ve got loads of really fast amateur kids as well as professional riders training at the facility. Obviously it benefits all of them to be training together, but is there anything that you have them do differently or is it more or less the same program?
Um, the pros obviously take less work ‘cause they’ve been around and they kinda know -- you just have to give little things here and there, so it’s not as much where the amateurs are still learning, and still sculpting what they’re developing with technique and stuff like that. Plus you’ve got to try and make everything fun, the on and off the bike stuff, because it’s a lifestyle. You’ve gotta enjoy it or you’re not gonna want to do it day in and out day out, so we try to find a good balance of on the bike and off the bike stuff so you don’t fry yourself. I know a lot of people like myself, y’know, when I was racing -- everything was a challenge and I don’t know how I did as much stuff as I did in one day. It’s just a different environment, y’know.
Before SX started this year, you went out to California with a lot of the riders and kind of did a little boot camp out there. How did that differ from what you would normally do back at home?
Not too much. Obviously we were doing a lot before we went out there. California’s just got a lot of SX tracks that you can go ride and there’s a lot of fast people out there also, ‘cause everbody’s out there. It’s good to kind of go out there -- you may think you’re going really fast here and then you go out there and go “Oooh, what am I doing wrong?” So, sometimes it’s good to get out there and see what you’re actually goin’ up against before you actually have to go race the first round. Then obviously to just change it up everyday and ride different tracks -- we have two SX tracks here now and still when you ride them everyday, you can almost ride them blindfolded.
What do you to kind of mix up the SX training back at your facility?
We’ve got two tracks here and we switch it up back and forth -- one track’s a little bit tighter and the other one’s a little more open, one’s gotta bigger whoops, so it kinda keeps things interesting that way. I think it’s good to be able to switch it up and back and forth, ‘cause you just ride one and you’ve got a groove around the track that’s almost easy to do twenty laps on when you do it so many times.
You’ve also been a big supporter of what we do at Boom Diggity — coming out and helping the kids, sharing your motocross knowledge and so forth. Could you talk a little bit about your experiences there?
Yeah, that camp is awesome; I think it’s pretty neat -- what they do down there havin’ all the different trainers so riders can go around and meet each one, and do stuff with each person -- I think it’s great. Because, not everybody works great with just me, some may work better with other people if they connect. I think it’s a really neat environment down there with what they put together. Pretty much everything Playground does -- they have a great time doing it and make sure that everbody else has a good time, so I think that’s really neat.
Just recently you were down at Windham’s place for the Loretta Lynn’s Qualifier. You got to do some two-stroke racing with him and Pastrana — that must’ve been kind of a cool throwback to the early 2000’s for you.
Yeah, y’know, Travis called me up and was like “Hey, man! We gotta go ride down there on 125s.” I was buildin’ that Kawi 125 up, so I had to get that thing done before I went down there. It was a great time, y’know, racing those guys ‘cause we all do it because we love it and enjoy it. That’s the big thing, goin’ out there and havin’ a good time. Kevin definitely did a good job making it a great time; it’s pretty awesome doin’ that kind of stuff. I’m more of the workin’ kinda person than I am with the entertainment kinda thing, but I think it was great and we had a blast. Hopefully we’ll have a little event like that at my place soon!
You weren’t feelin’ the pond crossing?
Haha, me and my dad were the markers to split everybody -- that was our part of it. I put too much work into my bike to let it sink in the water; I’d probably cry.
Talk a little bit about your journey to Loretta’s last year — from what I understand you hardly even rode leading up to the event, didn’t really know if you were gonna race, and then you went out and just whooped everybody on a 125. You charging through the pack in the mud was one of the highlights of the week for a lot of people!
No, honestly I had a great time. I have more fun riding my 125s than I do anything. Like I said earlier, that’s my big thing -- you gotta have fun and enjoy what you’re doin’. Honestly, I didn’t ride last year; I hardly get to ride at all anymore. For one, I work too much and then I have wrist that really bothers me when I ride, so between those two things I just don’t really ride. The reason I ended up ridin’ a 125 is ‘cause I was like “I can hang onto it for twenty minutes, I hope, and not hurt myself,” ‘cause obviously I don’t wanna hurt myself anymore, I’ve done plenty of that. I went there and I was like “I’ll ride practice and maybe I’ll ride some and see how I do.” The first day, it rained that night, and I was tellin’ Ashley “I don’t wanna go ride my bike. I put too much work into this thing to go out there and just destroy it in a mud race.” So, now I know how my mechanics used to feel when you put all that time into a bike and then you go out and thrash it in one race. So, even that first morning I was like “Ehhh, I don’t know if I’ll ride or not,” and I’m glad I did ‘cause I had a blast; I surprised myself and I think a lot of other people. It was a good time!
Kind of a heartbreaker for the ‘ole reliable two-stroke to quit on you in the last moto...
Yeah, and what’s crazy is that it ended up being cylinder nuts that came loose on it. It didn’t like stick a ring or anything -- the cylinder nuts just came loose, the anti-freeze went down in the bottom, and it just stalled it out pretty much. So yeah, it was kind of a bummer for sure, but obviously I was havin’ fun. It was a bummer that I had it right there in my hands and it got away, but I still had a blast, and you can’t do anything about that.
How beneficial is it for you to actually be able to race the same track that a lot of your riders are racing when you’re at Loretta’s for the week?
Well, I think it’s pretty huge ‘cause the track changes so much there from the beginning of the week to end of the week -- even if it’s not muddy, y’know. A lot of times it starts out and it’s kinda slick and you’re sittin there watching your guys, and you’re like “What’s wrong? Why are you going so slow?” Until you get out there and then you’re like “Oh okay, it’s a little slicker than I thought.” From the sidelines you don’t think it looks that way, but when you get out on the track it actually is. It’s definitely a huge help and I’ve always said that I’m going there for them, so I might as well go out and have a little fun ridin’ my bike, too.
Are you planning on doing Loretta Lynn’s again this year?
Hahah! It might be another one like last year ‘cause I think I’ve rode like six laps before I went to Windham’s and that’s the only six laps I’ve done since...ummm...Loretta’s, haha! So, I’m actually gonna go see a doctor and see if I can do something to this wrist -- it doesn’t hurt that bad whenever I’m not riding, but when I ride I can’t even hang onto the bike, so it takes the fun out of it.
Hope to see you there! Thanks for your time, man.
No problem, thank you.
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
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