Rodrigo Ampudia - I Ride - Dirt Rider Magazine

Won the CORR World Championship race in Crandon, Wisconsin, in his rookie year; Qualified first in CORR Pro 2 his rookie year; 2006 Pro Lite Champion; races Lucas Oil Short Course Racing and SCORE off-road. Age: 26.

My dad got my first motorcycle for me when I wasn't even a year old, and my mom made him sell it because my legs wouldn't even go down the seat. My dad has always been into riding motorcycles and racing in the desert. I started riding when I was six or seven years old, just down here in Baja in the desert with my dad and doing some poker runs and fun rides. It was like a family activity that we'd do in the summer.My dad always thought I was really aggressive when I'd ride my dirt bike, so he thought it would be better for me to not race them and have a rollcage around me, so he got me in a 1600 car and I started racing off-road desert cars.When I've prerun on my dirt bike for one of my Baja races, the advantage is that if you see a different line or an option, it's really easy to turn around and check out the other line or stop on the side of the road and you're not really blocking the road. The only disadvantage is that if there's a car coming up in front of you, you'll get the bad side of the crash.Riding a dirt bike has always helped improve my driving abilities. I feel it's really similar. If you're riding on a track, the lines change, the ruts get bigger, and that's something that relates to truck racing; you have to see which line's better, which line's getting too deep to be the fast line. And I think that it also helps a lot with the gearing and shifting and having your mind connected with the brakes, the clutch, the shifter and the gas.One time before the San Felipe 250 my prerunner wasn't ready and I really wanted to go riding, so I made up an excuse to leave school early and go to San Felipe and prerun a section of that race, which ended up being changed to Ensenada. So it was just me and a couple of buddies in Baja riding our bikes for a couple of days with the excuse of prerunning a race that never even happened.I think the trucks are a lot faster down here in Baja; it's just that the bikes take shortcuts so that's why they get faster finishing times.I never had an opportunity to race a dirt bike. That was my threat; if I ever raced a dirt bike, I'd get kicked out of my house.Last year during the Rip to the Tip I wanted to show Ox , rest in peace, a couple of single-tracks I knew around that area. And as I was coming off the main track I fell in a rut and hyperextended my knee. Jeff helped me get out of there and called for some help, and they took me to a hospital. That was two weeks before my next race. I got surgery a week later, and a week after that I raced with my leg braced into the truck and it actually didn't hurt my racing it just… that's when I got my best finish, a second place in Vegas, and the race after that I won, only driving with one foot. The joke on the team is that they're going to break my leg again so I can win.