Wyatt Lyonsmith put together one of his best years as an amateur throughout the 2016 racing season. The Idaho native decided to pack up and make the move to Club MX Training Facility down in South Carolina where he’s been putting in the work for about a year and a half. Living and training at the facility has definitely allowed him to take a step to the next level with his riding, placing him in a similar environment to an amateur national everytime he throws his leg over a bike. Lyonsmith had two of his best finishes ever at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch this past year in the Schoolboy 2 class and the 250 B class, scoring a seventh place and a tenth place overall, respectively. He was able to carry that momentum into spring nationals in the 2017 season where he ended up grabbing a title in the Collegeboy class at the JS7 Spring Championship at Freestone, and he also was able to show his speed with multiple podium finishes at Oak Hill throughout all of his classes. Lyonsmith is determined to take another step forward in his racing career this year with his sights set on a podium finish at Loretta Lynn’s. We caught up with Wyatt to chat about his roots in the sport, how things went throughout spring nationals, and training down at Club.
How old were you when you got your first bike and how’d you get into the sport?
Well, I think I got my first bike when I was four years old. My dad rode as a kid and I watched one of my friends race when I was like five or six maybe. As soon as I saw him race, I was like “I wanna do that,” and then it just kinda escalated from there.
Do you remember your first race?
My first race was fun. I remember it was pretty nerve wracking. I think I fell eleven times total in the two motos that I did, so I’ve improved a little bit since then.
You had some pretty solid results throughout the spring nationals, were you content with how things went?
It was good; it was cool to win a title and it was cool to see a little bit of success, but I still think I could’ve done a little bit better. I would’ve liked to finish a little bit better in 250 B and 450 B, but y’know, you gotta take the good with the bad. You can’t get greedy, that’s the thing.
You ended up with a seventh overall in 450 B at Daytona; there were a lot of fast kids there. How’d things go for you at RCSX?
Honestly, that race is a little bit of a struggle for me. I didn’t get that great of starts and then I just kinda struggled with the track, but it was still a fun event. I just kinda struggle with a track like that where it’s really gnarly -- like you’ve gotta scrub everything really hard, it’s just wide open. I’m good at more of the technical, rutted stuff where you have to think about it a little bit more, like Freestone.
Do you do anything differently to prepare for that race considering it’s kind of a unique track compared to the rest?
I didn’t do anything in particular to prepare for the dirt, but we did practice a lot of starts and really tried to work on our intensity. We also worked on some bowl corners and gettin’ those figured out.
You definitely had your most consistent, strongest results at Oak Hill with three overall podiums. How’d things go for you there?
Oak Hill was good. I really liked the track, I thought it was a lot of fun. I just had a lot of good luck and things kinda went my way. I just felt good all week. The SX track was a cool thing to do for a day. It was a little bit different, but I thought it was a cool little side event.
It seems like that track is a rider favorite; it gets really rough and beat up with all of the sand there and everything. Does riding the sand track down at Club help to prepare you for that sort of terrain?
Yeah, definitely. Riding the sand track definitely helps a lot, because it’s pretty similar. I mean, it’s not quite as big, but it’s the same sort of conditions -- everything’s whooped out, gnarly breaker bumps, y’know, the whole deal. It’s definitely crazy. They like to leave it rough; they don’t like to groom it ‘cause that’s not good training. For like a couple months I don’t think it got touched and it was just absolutely insane. But y’know, once I got to the races I felt good ‘cause I was like “Woah, this stuff’s easy!”
Freestone went really well for you. You had some solid rides in 450 B and ended up getting the championship in the College class. How’d things go for you down in Texas?
Umm, it was good. I wanted to leave spring nationals with a championship and when I woke up on the last day, I was like “I’m not leavin’ without one.” I felt like my moto finishes in 250 and 450 -- I didn’t feel like the overall finishes were that good, but I felt like in some of my motos I showed that my speed is there and that I can keep up with those guys. I feel like come Loretta’s I’ll be able to show that more, like I’ll kinda be able to follow through with my speed. I would have a couple good laps then somethin’ would happen; nothing was just completely put together.
Did you have to make a lot of changes to your bike throughout the week to accommodate the changing track conditions?
I didn’t really make too many changes. I just made a couple little clicker changes just depending on how it was that day and what time of day it was, but nothing too major.
Aside from racing motocross, you’re also a black belt in kempo karate. Have you been able to keep up with that or has racing kind of taken that over?
That’s actually from quite a while ago. That was kind of somethin’ I just used to do and then racing kind of took off and I was done with that; I think racing kind of filled that spot.
Did getting into that at a young age help with your discipline for training and everything?
Maybe a little bit. But, honestly that was soo long ago -- maybe when I was eleven or twelve. So maybe a little bit, but I honestly don’t remember that a whole lot.
You’re back at Club for the summer now, how long have you been training down there and how do you like the facility?
I’ve been here for about a year, year and a half or so. I just like the program that they have and I like how pretty much everyday it feels like I’m at an amateur national ‘cause I have so many good guys to train with. I have three different tracks like right next to me -- like I can throw a rock from my garage and hit the track, y’know, so you really can’t beat that. I guess that’s why I stay here.
And you’ve also got some pros down there like Cameron McAdoo and Alex Ray, that must help a lot too.
Yeah, when you’re riding with people like that you’re able to pick things up off of them that you can’t really see on TV. It’s definitely good for me ‘cause the more you ride with them, the easier it is to get to that level. It’d be pretty much impossible to get that to level if I didn’t ride with those people all the time. Like I said, it’s kinda like an amateur national or a pro race every single day that I’m riding, so it’s pretty sick.
You ended up with two top ten finishes at Loretta’s last year with two of your best finishes ever at the Ranch. That must have been awesome!
Yeah, last year was a good year. It was the first year I’d ever been under the tent, so that was a cool experience. I felt like I kept it pretty consistent, so overall it was a good year. I kinda just wanted to have a solid year last year so that this year could really be my year. I feel like I can land on the podium or do better come Loretta’s.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Atlas Racing, Fly Racing, EKS Brand Goggles, FMF, Twisted Development, JGR, ClubMX, Brandon Haas, Mike Evenson, Garrett, Joey, Brian Garner, Zach Douglas, and of course my mom and dad.
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
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