Interview: Tyla Rattray
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray is preparing for his second-ever SX season.
Former MX2 World Champion Tyla Rattray has been doing his thing Stateside now for a few years. This will be his fourth year racing in the USA, and his second season racing supercross, as he did a motocross-only deal for his first season and was hurt prior to the start of what would’ve been his first SX campaign. Still, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider had some solid results last year, and this year he’s hoping to pick them up some more and win some races prior to his anticipated move to the 450cc class full-time in 2013.
Motocross.com: What adjustments have you made going into 2012 now that you’ve got a season of supercross racing under your belt?
Tyla Rattray: Obviously, I know what to expect going into supercross. I’ve got one full season under my belt now, so I kind of know what to expect. I mean, I’m going to be West Coast again, so I’ll be familiar with the stadiums, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing. I had some good races last year, and I want to carry that into the 2012 season.
But what’s really different about how you’re approaching the season? Anything?
Obviously, I want to go out there and try and be up front, and my plan is to get good starts and win some supercrosses. Zach [White] and everyone at Pro Circuit have been working hard on the engine, and our bike’s better than what it was in 2011, and I’ve been practicing my starts a lot and doing a lot of testing, and our bikes are really awesome. Working with Bones [Bacon], with the chassis, too. It’s all coming together good, and I’m just looking forward to getting out there and racing. I’ve been riding supercross for quite a while now – a good two months – and I’m looking forward to just getting out there and going racing. I’m tired of going to the track and just practicing!
You can actually get burnt out on riding the same couple tracks, huh?
Yeah, obviously Kawasaki rebuilt the Kawi track around Thanksgiving, and we’ve got the track up at Glen Helen, and the track at Ryan’s house, and Milestone has a pretty good supercross track, so there are a few tracks to ride, but it’s still not racing. I definitely want to get the season going. These next two weeks are going to go pretty quick with Christmas, and then New Year, and then the next weekend it’s time to go racing. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and racing again.
Having been through it now, if you were giving advice to a guy who was a GP racer or an outdoor-only kind of guy as they headed toward racing supercross, what advice would you give them?
Just go to every race and learn as much as you can. Obviously, like for me, last year was my first year, and I thought I did pretty good because I got on the podium a couple times, and I know what I can expect from myself now. Going to a race is different from training [practicing]. You’ve got two or three tracks you can ride, and then when you go to a race it’s completely different – different track, different dirt, different rhythm lanes that you’ve never hit before… It’s just different. You just have to try and get into it as quickly as you can, and with a year under my belt now, I’ve ridden pretty much all of the different rhythm sections they can do, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing again. It’s going to be fun.
You went back to South Africa, right?
I did. I had a good time after the Motocross of Nations and went back to South Africa and got to hang out with my family and see some of my good friends and charge the battery up again. I was there for three weeks, then got back here and it was time to get ready for supercross. Ever since then, I’ve been putting in laps and trying to get ready for this season.
It had been a little while since you’d been home, so how was the reception?
Yeah, it had been a couple years, and it was definitely good to see my friends and family again. With me racing here in America, I don’t get as much time to go back home to South Africa as I did in Europe. In Europe, the season didn’t really start until like April, so I had a good three months to go back home to South Africa, whereas here you have to get back and start getting ready for supercross. But I’ve enjoyed it, and I still love racing, and living here in America… It’s always been a dream of mine as a kid to come here, and it’s pretty awesome to be here racing.
We saw you ride really well on a 450 at the Motocross of Nations this year, and now that Pro Circuit has a 450 program, do you want to race a 450 outdoors this year?
Yeah, I’ve been talking to Mitch [Payton] about it, and he knows I want to race a 450, but I’m contracted to race Lites this year, so it’s going to be up to Pro Circuit and the people at Kawasaki to decide. But yeah, I’m a big guy for the Lites bikes, and that’s hard off of starts, so I think a 450 fits me better, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
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