Fox Racing invited me and some other magazine guys over to meet a few of their riders just days before the FIM World GP at Glen Helen this weekend May 29 and 30. Over from Europe were the Teka Suzuki factory team riders Ken Roczen, Arnaud Tonus, and Clement DeSalle.
Fox’s own Warren Johnson, who’s a troublemaker by nature but usually not at this level, talked Ryan Hughes into competing in the GP, and Ryno was on hand as well. Ryan looked ready for the weekend of racing, but for a tough competitor wasn’t putting too many hard goals on himself for the race –
“My goal is to show [up for] the fans, support the race and support motocross. The US GP is huge to me. My goal is to come away at the checkered flag for the last moto with a smile on my face and put another experience and another chapter in my back pocket. If I ride the way I know I can ride, I definitely fell I can compete with these guys. How am I going to do? I don’t put a result on myself because then there’s an expectation and if I do that then there’s pressure. So I’m just going there to ride and race the best I can.”
I pressed him for a number, and got, “At the practice tracks around here I’ve been matching the times of top [American] guys, but I think I’m probably seven years older than anyone else that’s racing it, but like I say, if I ride the way I know I can ride I imagine I have top five speed. Am I as prepared as I was back in my prime? No, but I’m as prepared as situations allow right now.” Those situations are running his training facility and his healthy food brand Ryno Organics.
Signing up for this race got him thinking about more racing. Nothing is set but he told me, “I’d like to do Southwick, Unadilla… I want to do the toughest rounds. I want the roughest, gnarliest rounds. The roughter the track the better I ride,” then he added with a laugh, “and the rougher the track, the slower you have to go.”
16 year old Ken Roczen, when he wasn’t scaring everybody on Fox’s skateboarding half pipe, talked about his upcoming weekend. He’s currently second in points in he MX2 (250F) class. He’s ridden at Glen Helen before, sort of, “I’ve been here in 2008, practicing a little bit there, but it was not the whole track because they were preparing it for the next national. And it was just a little piece.” For the GP, “This weekend I want to make two good races and no crashes. Get a good start and give 100% and get the best position I can get.”
Swiss rider Arnaud Tonus sits sixth in the MX2 class, and was happy to be racing in the US – a round the riders and teams were told of late, not hearing they would be coming to the US until they were at the season opening GP. “It was great for me to [learn] that. Riding in the US is always a dream, so I really enjoy it. We’re riding Glen Helen and it’s the best I think.” He’s seen the AMA races on TV, “I saw the races and it’s a really huge track and really fast, typical American [track], so it’s great for me to ride here.”
MX1 (450) racer Clement DeSalle was over in the US last year to race the Washougal round. “I’m excited to be racing in the US and it’s a good track. Hopefully it’s the same like the national track.”
One way to find out what the track will be like, and for a rare chance to see the top riders compete for World Championship points, get to Glen Helen this weekend for the 2010 US Grand Prix.