Ask anyone to name the toughest, most-intimidating guys in motocross, and the name "Ryan Hughes" will undoubtedly crop up. Hughes has been a top rider in the AMA motocross series for 15 years, and he has no intentions of slowing down. Ryno talked to us about his rejuvenating switch to Honda, the upcoming MX season and winning the first-ever U.S. Endurocross.DR: Tell me about your new team.
RH: My mechanic Jonathan Lower, my partner Kevin Howard and I . We're sponsored by Escondido Cycle Center (ECC), FMF, Moose, Bel-Ray, Alpinestars, Suomy Helmets, Pirelli, Competitive Edge, Utopia, Ceet, Renthal, MRM, Red Button, Tom Morgan Racing, Works Connection, Cycra, Twin Air, Parts Unlimited, MB1 Suspension, ING and Dutton Motorsports.Who else do you have lined up on your team?
Just three of us: me, myself and I . Next year I'd like to get a couple of guys to the West Coast, so anybody who doesn't have a ride , please contact me.How are you taking to the Honda CRF25OR?It took me about one minute to adjust to it. These are awesome bikes. I can't tell you how much better I feel on this bike the KTM. I was almost going to quit this year, but after riding the Honda, I think I'm going to ride two more years. So I'm pretty stoked.So adjusting to Honda's frame and the linkage was a big change, but a positive one?
Yeah, I feel like a whole new rider! They're the best bikes out there for sure. The Honda is like a Ferrari: They're not red for nothing. Honda definitely did its homework, and it shows.Why did you leave KTM?
KTM got rid of me. I guess I was too slow and too old.Are you riding Motocross only this season?
Yeah, that's what I want to do-just Nationals. I haven't ridden supercross in a while, and I don't really have that much fun doing it. If I did the whole season, I probably wouldn't be able to give 100 percent when the Nationals came around, and that's not my style. I'd rather just focus on and spend more time with my family.Do you plan to race any off-road events this year?
I don't think I'm going to do any GNCCs. I have bad wrists, and they get sore after a long ride; they can't take pounding for three hours. it took a long time-a couple of weeks-for them to recover, and I don't want to go through that again. I'm gettin' too old!After the motocross season, what will you be focusing on for next year?
After '05 wraps up, I'm hopefully going to be focusing on finding some guys for my team and getting them into supercross. It's a long ways away, but that's our plan: Get somebody on the team and make him a winner.Has being the main force behind forming Team ECC Honda taken away from your focus or your training?
No, my mechanic, my partner and I have been working on it . I have such a long time before the Nationals, so I'm not too worried about it. It's kind of a good thing, because it's making me be a lot more patient. In the past, I've always rushed to do things and come into the season kind of burned out-almost overtrained. This year's going to be different. I'm going to come into the season a lot more prepared.What did you think of Endurocross?
It was great! It was definitely a tough race; I think everybody was pretty surprised. I even heard the Europeans saying, "Man, that's a tough track!" They had an advantage over us, but I think my motocross skills came in handy in the corners and the starts. I just wanted to win; I was very determined. I was sick of the way last year went, and I wanted to turn things around. And it is starting to turn around now.