MPG / DAILY BREAD / JANUARY 26, 2017
Words / Image: Lake Kilpatrick
Anyone in attendance at the 2016 Baja Brawl knows the name Ronnie Demorest. He came out of nowhere and stole the show in the Friday night whip competition from some of the projected favorites, eventually going on to take the bragging rights and the accompanying five hundred dollars cash. The Pennsylvania native has continued to make some noise at whip competitions around the Northeast, taking both wins at Eastfork MX and High Voltage. Not only does he have a sick style on the bike, but he’s got some speed to back it up. Demorest earned the required points to get his pro license throughout the 2016 season, all while working a full-time job to fund his own racing career. We caught up with Ronnie to chat about what it was like coming out of the woodwork to win the best whip at Baja, running mailbox numbers on his dirt bike, and what he’s got planned for 2017.
So, first of all…let’s take it back to the Baja Brawl. Tell everyone a little bit about your journey to the best whip competition there.
We drove from Pennsylvania up to Michigan, and I got pulled over ‘cause it was like raining a little bit or something, so the cop gave me a speeding ticket for going the speed limit. Haha! He told me that ‘cause of the weather conditions, going the speed limit wasn’t appropriate. So, I got there and told both my parents that I was gonna enter it. They both yelled at me and told me “No,” because I was on my way to get my pro license, and it would be stupid to get hurt over something like a whip contest. So, I went and entered it anyways. Then when eight o’clock came around and I started getting dressed, my parents are like “What’re you getting dressed for?” and I told them I was goin’ to the whip contest. I’d never entered one before, so I went to just have fun. Out of twenty-three people I went top eight, and then started getting comfortable...made top three. And then I threw one backwards and everyone went crazy, and I somehow managed to win it. It was freakin’ hype, dude. It was so sick! I started entering more after that and won every single one I’ve entered after that, so I’m definitely gonna start doing ‘em next year, too. I did the East Fork one for Battle of Ohio, we did one up at High Voltage just for fun, but the Baja Brawl was definitely the biggest one with the most stacked competition.
What was the feeling like trying to find your limit in the middle of a competition like that?
I throw whips and stuff, but never really in a competition. When I went there I was trying to talk to all those guys, and like I dunno if it’s because I wasn’t well known like them, but they kinda gave me the cold shoulder. So, that was what I used as motivation to pretty much try to stick it to ‘em, and like try to beat them. When I threw the first one that actually went backwards, I was like ‘Okay, I made it around and didn’t wreck, so I’mma try to do it every lap.’ So, that’s what I did...and uhh, my hand fell off on one of them which is when I knew I was startin’ to push it a little bit too far. Like I said, I went there for the Pro/AM, not the whip competition. But, I got my pro license now, so next year I’m going strictly for the whip contest and then if I make it out of that, then I’m gonna race the Pro/AM.
How do you approach throwing a whip mentally? What’s going through your head from the face of the jump to the take off?
Well, honestly I just was tryin’ to carve as much as I could. I knew it was a sandy face, but I kept the sand tires off, because apparently paddle tires are hard to whip in, so I put the MX-3S on there. I just went up there and I dunno...like my whole family was watching. I also have a twin brother - he was in the whip contest; he got booted out and when he was on the sideline, he was like “Just go throw a big one.” So, I was like ‘Alright, I got this!” He came off a major injury last year. He wrecked and his femur blew out the back of his hip, shattered his hip, and had to get it reconstructed. So, having him there to watch me is just insane, dude. It’s so awesome! Not only do I wanna do my family proud, but having him there...I definitely wanted to do something good for him. I just was literally throwing them as big as I could.
You mentioned at the end of the Brawl that you didn’t really have anywhere to practice whipping and you were trying to find a way to get a ramp at your house. Have you made any progress with that?
I have not got a ramp at my house, but a buddy of mine got a ramp at his house, so I went there a couple times. We’re gonna try to talk him into making it bigger...like X-Games big where it kinda has the same dimensions, so if there’s ever a time where I enter something like that then I’m kinda prepared for it.
Been working on them oppos?
I have been working on the oppos, ‘cause there were comments made in the whip contest that I shouldn’t have won because I didn’t have variety...even though they were the biggest, there was no variety, I shouldn’t have won. So, this year when I go to Baja for the best whip contest, I won’t have to hear my variety isn’t there, ‘cause I’ll be throwing oppos and hopefully inverted whips.
What sort of stuff do you like to do to pass the time off the bike when you’re not working or riding?
Drifting. I love to my drift my car. I have a BMW M3; it’s in the stages of getting supercharged and that whole thing. But, I love to drift, dude. It’s so fun! After the moto things done - which won’t be for a while - I’ll get into drifting just ‘cause it won’t take as big of a toll on my body.
The most recent major national that you raced was at Mini-O’s, besides finally earning your pro license, how’d the week go for you down there?
Yeah, I mean it’s been my dream since I was like seven to get my pro license, but it was alright. I raced the pro classes down there; I was running top ten in both outdoors and SX. I was running sixth in SX and got taken out, so I ended up gettin’ a fourteenth overall there. I was running seventh in the outdoors and tucked my front end going over the rollers, so I ended up getting sixteenth overall there. I mean, I have a full-time job where I work Monday through Friday for almost eleven hours; I’m really trying to get out of that. I wish I could just take motocross serious and make it like a job. So, I was only riding like once a month...to go down to Mini-O’s and be pulling top tens, getting taken out and still pulling top twenties - I was content with that. But, I’m definitely gonna try to step it up this year.
You’ve been running the #90 for a long time, is there any significance to that number for you or was it kind of a random pick that you stuck with?
When I got my first set of numbers, me and my Dad went into Lowes...we were standing in front of the mailboxes and he told me “Pick some numbers out and we’ll put ‘em on your bike.” I was like six years old, #90 was the number that I picked and I’ve been running it ever since. So, I had mailbox numbers for literally the longest time. I didn’t get my first set of actual number plates until I was racing B class. It’s so funny!
What’re your plans for 2017? Which races will you be attending and are you making any changes to your current program?
This year I’ll be doin’ it as a full privateer. PR2 gives me good deals on suspension and some local shops, but for the most part I’m full privateer. Right now with my work schedule...I wake up at five o’clock in the morning and don’t get home until about seven pm. I go to the gym everyday after that; me and my girlfriend do ‘cause she supports it, so we go to the gym for about an hour or an hour and a half. For the most part, we go riding every weekend. I definitely don’t wanna lose it, I want to be in the best shape of my life for 2017. I wanna have the best bike - since I have my job - I’m trying to get all the best parts. We’ll be at High Point, for sure, and I’ll probably be at Budds Creek and Red Bud. I really like Loretta’s, but since I have to pay for it all myself...I’ll probably go to Mini-O’s; it’s just an overall better experience in my opinion.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
My Mom and Dad, PR2, Mosites, Bell Helmets, NoTeeth and Von Zipper