There are many individuals involved in motocross, who have had close ties to the sport since their earliest of years. However, not too often do you hear of entire families competing. Looking a little further, the parents of Ryder Thompson, actually met, through a common interest of motocross; almost an automatic push for Ryder to be encompassed by this lifestyle. A true love at first sight phenomenon, Ryder has been captivated by the game, embracing every aspect to the fullest extent. It’s reflected in his results and pure speed, as he continues to add remarkable finishes to his résumé every weekend. Intrigued by his story, we sat down with Ryder recently, and below is what he had to say.
Tell us how you got involved in motocross?
My mom and dad both grew up racing and that is how they met. My dad raced professionally for a while and my mom did a lot of the Amateur National races in the women’s division. Racing dirtbikes is pretty much in my blood.
Do you have any early memories of you on the motorcycle? First race? First win?
I got my first dirtbike for my second birthday. It was a PW50 with training wheels and I rode it right up a tree the next week. I started racing when I was 4 and my first race was at Redbud in 2011. I actually didn’t win at all in my first year of racing. My first real win was in 2012 at a local Indiana track called Wildcat Creek. It was a Loretta Lynn area qualifier.
Are there any local, or professional riders you look up to? Or whom you can credit for having any influence on your riding?
I have a couple of local Indiana riders who I really look up to. The first one would be Chris Bach, he is a pro GNCC rider. The second one would be Josh Osby, as I’ve been able to watch him race through the amateur ranks and he is now racing the Canadian Pro Circuit. I have grown up training with both of these guys at my dad’s motocross school, Thompson MX Academy. They both have always helped pushed me from a very young age and I owe a lot of my success in racing to them. I would say that my most influential pro rider would have to be Ryan Dungey. I had the opportunity to meet him while racing the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge at Indianapolis Supercross in 2015. I was impressed at how down to earth he was and I really admire his drive and work ethic.
Early in the spring, you had a strong showing at the RPM Sports Spring Classic; how did you feel when walking away from that event?
I was pretty excited going into Millcreek because I had been training so hard all winter and was really feeling solid on my bike. I had a wheel blow apart while winning one of my first moto’s and it all seemed to go downhill after that. I feel like I had good speed that week and showed everyone, including myself, that I could run out front. Even though I didn’t have the results that I wanted, I still walked away with a ton of self-confidence and I feel like that is a great way to start the year out no matter what.
Quickly thereafter, you had a top ten finish at the James Stewart Freestone Spring Championship; pleased with how well you rode against such stiff competition?
I definitely knew going into Freestone that there would be some tough competition and I was pretty excited about that. I had a few solid moto’s and a few not so great moto’s. I still ended up walking away with a 9th overall in the 7-9 class so I was pretty pumped about that.
Did you feel comfortable riding the Supercross-style track at the Junior MotoX event? Your results sure showed it.
I wasn’t too sure how Junior Moto X would go since I had only raced indoor one other time. I was pretty pumped after my first practice because of how quickly I adapted to the track. I thought the dirt was great, the jumps were awesome and overall the track had a great rhythm. Diesel Thomas and I threw down a nail-biting race all the way to the very end and it was awesome! I was pretty excited to walk away with a 2nd in the 7-9 class and an 8th in 7-11. I’m really looking forward to going back again next year!
Coming into the Gatorback regional, did you expect to do as well as you did?
I was putting in a ton of hard work going into the Southeast Regional. I knew that if I could keep my bike on 2 wheels then I would have a great shot at qualifying in both classes. I had a really great first set of moto’s and I was able to keep that momentum going for the rest of the weekend. Coming out of there with a win in the 7-9 class and a 6th in 7-11 gave me a lot of confidence going into the big show.
You had some very solid results at Loretta’s this year; were your expectations met once all was said and done?
My goal going into Loretta’s this year was a top 5 in the 7-9 class and top 10 in 7-11 but the heat and rough track conditions took it’s toll me on me. I fell short of my goals this year, but we have a solid plan in place to come back stronger next year and will hopefully bring home a win. I was definitely happy to bring some hardware with my 10th place finish overall in the 65 7-9 class.
Now that Loretta’s is over, what other nationals will you attend for 2017?
My plan for the rest of the year is to race the Suzuki Top Gun Showdown, Ponca City, Mini O’s and the RV Cup at Pala.
Any type of major changes for your camp in 2018? New classes? Bikes?
There’s definitely some changes coming. I still plan to race my KTM 65 through the end of next season but I just got 2 new Suzuki 85’s. I plan to make my 85 debut at the Suzuki Top Gun Showdown in 85 9-11 and 85 9-12.
What else do you enjoy besides motocross? Any other activities you participate in?
Some of my favorite things to do while not racing are bowling, playing Xbox, shooting hoops with my cousins, and swimming. I was an only child for a really long time and now I have a 2 year old little brother named Revin. I would say that my ultimate favorite thing to do is to build sand tracks in the yard with him.
Any sponsor’s you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank Aaron Yoder at Y&S Designs, Jimmy Petrie at Braap Supply, PR2 Suspension, Mika Metals, Shockbox Consulting, Diamond Dave Mitchell at MXTime, Cycle Sport KTK, B&E Honda, The Car Company, Thompson MX Academy and of course my Mom and Dad.
DAILY BREAD BY / LOGAN MATTINGLY
IMAGES BY / JESS TEN HAGEN
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