Dropping In On: Ryan Sipes

Ryan SipesPhoto by Shan Moore

Ryan Sipes’ phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he returned from winning the individual award at this year’s ISDE in Slovakia, and that’s to be expected. In addition, the Kentucky rider won the Black Coal round of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series the very next race, which shows his liking for the restart format.

We spoke to Sipes during a recent photo shoot to see how he’s dealing with all of his success.

The win at Six Days opened up a lot of doors for you.

Yeah, a couple offers are going on for next year. A lot of sponsors calling and saying - and you rarely get personal calls from sponsors unless it’s something big. They were all pretty fired up. MIKA handlebars made this custom cool trophy that was pretty awesome. That and just a lot of the people calling to say congratulations and interviews and stuff. It’s been fun. It’s been real busy, but not a bad thing.

You’ve got some offers to ride World Enduro, too?

Yeah, I got an offer to go race World Enduro full-time. It would be fun but I can’t leave my family. That’s why I quit racing Supercross to start with. I didn’t want to jump back into something to where I’m gone all the time. I appreciated it, I just can’t do it.

Do you think your combination of moto skills and what you’ve learned the last few years in off-road were just the perfect combination for Six Days?

Yeah, I think that’s exactly what it is. The intensity that you learn racing motocross for all those years, you have to have that kind of intensity over there. I think if I only raced off-road I would never ride that hard, that intense. But in moto you do. You have to or you’re not competitive. Then those tests, some of them are pretty technical. It’s things that you’d never see on a motocross track. But my now almost two years experience racing GNCCs I think that brought that part of my riding up to where it just fit right in with it being intense but I can still handle the technical stuff. I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s a blend. And my skill set was tailored to that.

At what point did you feel like you wanted to get out of motocross and into something different like off-road?

I guess when I got married. I just felt like being gone all winter and half the summer was just going to be too much on my family.

Was that a huge change for you? Not just the riding part but as far as lifestyle, was that a big change?

Yeah. It’s been for the better on one end because I’m home more and I like to be home. I don’t like to be gone. Didn’t really like the west coast that much. I make less than half the money, that part’s not cool. And I work way harder for my money now. But part of that’s been fun because I feel like I’ve built something kind of from nothing with my off-road program and I’m proud of that.

Tell me about how you train differently from Supercross to off-road.

One thing I did start doing this year was I started training on a Trials bike at least once a week. When I went to the Tomahawk GNCC in New York I went Trials riding with Hatch and a guy named Mike Komer, who owns The Tryals Shop, and that weekend I finished on the podium at the Tomahawk. So I’m sold on cross-training on a Trials bike.

Going to off-road you’re doing everything yourself. You’re making your own deals, your own advisor and calling sponsors on the phone and stuff. That’s got to be hectic in addition to everything else that you’re doing.

Yeah, it’s a ton of work. It’s like I said, I work way harder for money now, especially since I’m making less. But that’s what I got to do. I got to make money for my family so we can make it and have food and a house and everything. But that being said, I’ve learned a ton over the years, and I still rely upon those sources sometimes when there’s a decision I need to make and I’m not sure. I got a ton of people that have been in my corner forever, be it mom and dad or Steve Hatch. I’ve made a lot of friends since I came to off-road, and even when I was in Supercross, just people that are good at business, that own businesses or run businesses. I’ve relied on that a lot. Call them up, hey, what do you think about this? These are my choices, what would you do? I don’t always follow that but I try to just be calculated in the decisions I make business-wise. And in racing I’m learning to be more calculated too. You have to be in GNCC. If you crash ten times you weren’t very calculated to start with, and then you’re not going to do good. So you got to try to just in life in general just be calculated. You’ve got to have some spontaneity but got to be calculated too.