Frid’Eh Update #6 | Luke Renzland | Presented by Yamaha
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #6 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Yamaha Motor Canada. As we sit up here in Canada waiting for winter to end, Luke Renzland is down at his Dreamland MX facility in Live Oak, Florida, living the off season dream.
I first met Luke after it was announced he’d be riding for the MX101 team a couple years ago. We were at the Tampa MX Thursday night race before the Daytona SX and I tracked Luke down in is van at the end of the night for an interview, which he kindly agreed to do.
I could tell right away that, not only was he stupid fast on a dirt bike, he was a good dude and an easy rider to talk to. We had a really enjoyable conversation and it was going to be interesting to see how he would do in Canada.
Fast forward to now and he’s the reigning Canadian 250 Supercross champion.
I got the chance to go to his track down there at the north end of Florida to catch him and a few fast Canadians putting in laps at Dreamland.
Let’s have a quick look at Luke’s 2019 season:
I actually just did an interview with Luke and his brother Kody Renzland just before I left their place last month:
Oh, and here’s a short video of Luke ripping it up at his track:
And now we got in touch with Luke again for this intro interview to get his take on a few things:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Luke. I don’t think we’ve asked you these first few questions before, so let’s back it up all the way to the beginning. How did you first get into Motocross?
Luke Renzland: My dad rode dirt bikes as a kid and ended up being a top Expert rider in the northeast in the 80’s. He was actually a Yamaha support rider back in that day, so it’s cool how things have worked out for me to be on Blue for so many years in my own career now!
What was your first race and how did it go?
My first race was at a track in New York called Walden Playboys. I’m going to say it was 2000. It went terribly! We went up racing with a friend that I would ride with at our little backyard track. I would whoop up on the kid in the backyard but when the gate dropped at the race, he was smoking me!
I ended up pulling out of the race early and made the excuse that I “Had a bug in my goggle.” It wasn’t an epic first race for me but it definitely makes for a funny story now.
What was your first number and how did you choose it?
My first number was 43. When my parents bought us district cards for our local series, they requested the lowest two-digit numbers for my brother and me. He ended up with 19 and I ended up with the 43.
Who did you come up through the amateur ranks battling?
I battled a lot of different faces through the amateurs. Having a December 28th birthday always made me bump up to the next age class early. So, it seemed like I kinda grew up racing two different waves of riders depending on if I was the young gun in my first year of an age class or if I was the proper age racing with the other kids who were my age with better racing birthdays.
I battled for Loretta’s titles with Colt Nichols, Joey Savatgy, Nick Gaines, and Chris Alldredge. In my local racing scene in the northeast, I spent a lot of time racing guys like Joey Peters, Josh Clark, and even John Dowd and Keith Johnson in New England!
What was your best amateur result?
When I turned 15 something clicked for me and I became like a Loretta’s guru almost. Haha. That year, I went from being a “top ten guy” to winning the championship in Schoolboy and getting a third in 250B. After that, I never finished off of the podium overall at Loretta’s for the rest of my Lorettas career.
I won a pair of 450A titles in 2013 and 2014, and backed that up with a 2nd and a 3rd in 250A in the same years.
The Loretta’s results are definitely my highlight from my amateur days.
What year did you turn Pro and how did it go?
I turned pro in 2014 right after Loretta’s. I inked my first pro contract with Cycle Trader Yamaha at Loretta’s that year and went to my first pro race with them the following weekend at Unadilla. I think I went 18-15 at my first race, so it wasn’t the best but not terrible either.
After that, 2015 was my first full year doing SX and MX. I believe my best SX was a 7th and I had a few outdoors in the top 12 that year.
What brought you to Canada in the first place?
Man, coming out of 2018 and into ’19 I had a bit of a hard time trying to find a good team who I felt would help me achieve the goals I had set for the following season. Nothing ever came along for the US series, so I started exploring some other options.
I ended up going to work for my parents’ construction business in NJ for the winter, and got my deal locked in with MX101 at the end of January. I got down to Florida on February 20th and started my training! I was a bit late on the preseason training but it all worked out all right in the end!
What’s your favourite track up here?
I took a liking to PG, Deschambault, and Sand Del Lee. Any track with loamy/ sandy soil is a winner for me, but those three were on my podium for sure.
What’s the biggest difference you see between racing in Canada vs. the USA?
Probably the biggest difference is the depth of talent, I’d say. In Canada, at the front of the pack, the guys are stupid fast, but you don’t quite have a battle for the full length of the moto like you would in the US. It doesn’t matter if you’re 3rd or 23rd in the US, there’s always someone right in front of you and right behind you. It’s a bit more of a brawl for position.
You ended up 3rd in the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Tour points in 2019. Can you sum up your season for us?
The season was OK in my book. It’s a big learning curve, stepping out of your home country and trying to learn new tracks, new competition, and a new team all at once. I had some good moments, and a bunch of satisfactory moments as well. But, with a good year under my belt, I think we are set up pretty well for some standout moments this year.
What have you been up to since the season ended up here?
After the season ended I went back to work with my dad for a couple months, and then headed south after Christmas. I’ve been on the new 2020 MX101 machine since New Year’s putting in the preseason work and feeling good already!
What are you going to do to put yourself in the battle for the top spot in 2020?
I feel like I was pretty solid in the battle for that top spot in 2019, but some inconsistency cost me a bit. I believe I was one of only three riders to win a moto in the 250 class all summer. So, I was in the fight, but this year I’ll clean it up and be there consistently.
Does Randy Saltine and the Sextraterrestrials have any winter gigs booked? What does the future look like for the band?
Randy Saltine is a busy guy. He’s booked solid for the next 69 weeks. The future is looking awesome for the band, and I hope everyone in Canadian Moto gets to experience a taste of it this year!
How has it been working with the Canadians down at your Dreamland MX facility in Florida?
It’s been awesome getting to bust out a solid program with the crew down here. Marco (Cannella) has only been here for about 10 days but he is already looking sharp and we are pushing each other on the track everyday.
I think it’ll be key for both of us, having someone to battle with all winter. I believe our intensity will be better this year due to the race day type vibe we are getting everyday.
On top of that, Cale (Foster) has been keeping our bikes in tip top shape and looking good everyday. It’s been great having the Canadian crew down here.
Any eastern rounds of AMA Supercross for you?
No Supercross for me this year. I definitely want to race SX again, and the team wants to do it with me. I just felt that I got on the program a little too late this year to be perfectly prepped before round 1. We are staying focused for the Triple Crown series this year and then we plan to prep for SX 2021 in the fall.
Uh oh, we’ve gone into overtime here. Anything you’d like to mention before we ask you to thank some sponsors?
Yes, anyone who is reading this should definitely keep their eyes peeled on social media for training camps at Dreamland in the future! Everything from SX Futures training to standard MX lessons, we cover it all. Get a hold of us to train at a top of the line track!
Dreamland MX Instagram page – https://www.instagram.com/krmc_moto/
OK, see you soon, and who would you like to thank?
I gotta give a huge shoutout to the whole crew behind me. The MX101, FXR, Yamaha Racing Team has been so fun to work with and I can’t wait to get this season underway with them behind me! Also, a huge shoutout to all of the team sponsors! Theres a list too long to say off the top of my head without leaving anyone out. But, really, nobody’s help goes unnoticed around here, I appreciate them all! Other than that, just a shoutout to the home team at Dreamland, KRMC Moto for the moto training program, and Driven New England for the off-bike program.
I forgot to ask him about his table tennis skills, but he’s up there pretty high on the ‘Motocrossers Who Play Ping Pong’ list, for sure! In fact, he may have the best game of any rider I’ve rallied with so far.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Luke, and good luck with the rest of your prep heading into the 2020 season.
Tyler Gibbs Racing First Pro AMA Supercross in San Diego
BC racer #214 (#25 in 2020 Triple Crown comp) Tyler Gibbs has earned the necessary points through the Supercross Futures program and will line up for his first-ever Pro Monster Energy AMA Supercross Saturday in San Diego.
He’s a rider who grew up cutting his teeth in the Future West Moto Arenacross program, so he’s definitely got a leg up on a lot of other riders as he makes his debut.
I gave him a call today as he was getting ready at Kevin Urqhart‘s Bulldog Training in Menifee, California, to see how he’s doing heading into this big day:
Good luck, Tyler. And don’t forget, although the entire Canadian Motocross Community will be watching, it’s not pressure you should be feeling, but support. Just learn the track quickly, ride like you can, and enjoy the experience.
Future West Moto AX Championships Wrap Up this Weekend
Speaking of FWM Arenacross, they’ll be wrapping up the 2020 season this weekend out at Chilliwack Heritage Park in Chilliwack, BC.
Defending champions Kiana Sache and Collin Jurin will be trying to lock down 2 more titles for the Cycle North Powersports team.
Kiana has nothing but 1’s across the results sheet, and won’t be denied, but Washington State’s Jurin leads the Pro/Am class but is 2nd to Calgary, Alberta’s Keylan Meston by 4 points in the Pro Open class.
Racing resumes tonight at 7pm PT/10pm ET and you can follow the LIVE TIMING HERE.
Here’s a look at the points with just 2 rounds remaining, this Friday and Saturday:
Full standings HERE.
Gulf Coast MX Series Race at MP @ County Line
Our friends down at MP at County Line in Florida will be hosting a Gulf Coast MX Series race at their Fountain, Florida, facility.
If you’re going to be down there on February 22-23 and are looking for a good preseason gate drop, check it out.
Brock Leitner Back on a Bike in California
A couple years ago, it was Canadian #497 Brock Leitner we were chasing around the west coast Supercross series, then he got hurt.
He even hinted that he was hanging up the Pro Motocross boots…and none of us believed him.
In an inevitable move, Brock is now down in California hitting the tracks and getting himself back in racing condition.
It’s great to see him back doing what he loves, and I tried to give him a call today, but I’m guessing he was on a track somewhere. Check out his latest Instagram post.
Jess Pettis Making Progress
BC’s Jess Pettis is another rider who’s been on the mend, and it’s great to see he’s also making progress. He’s making a bid to be ready for a couple late-season 250 West Supercross races.
Here’s his latest Instagram post:
We’ll have to wait and see if his lofty goal of being ready for this SX season comes to fruition, but if anyone can do it, it’s Jess.
Rockstar Triple Crown MX Nationals Schedule Change
Round 2 of the MX Nationals will move from the Blackwater MX track in Prince George, BC to Whispering Pines MX in Kamloops, BC.
The move came fairly late in the game as we head into the 2020 season, and Kourtney Lloyd commented on the change in this reply on Twitter:
A labour of love! But all good things must come to an end. I loved holding it and loved having all of my race family in my hometown. Thanks to all who supported it over the last 3 years…On to the next project!
I gave Kourtney a call this afternoon as she was preparing to head over to the barn for some AX action.
She had been voted off the Prince George Motocross Association Board back in December and considered the work that would mean to put on the National without enough help. She also wouldn’t be covered under the association’s insurance.
She said that she was subsequently asked back on the board but said no.
After talking it all over with her family, she decided that, since it seemed no one else in the city saw the value in hosting the national event, that she would have to contact Jetwerx owner, Justin Thompson, to talk over the matter.
She was pleasantly surprised by the support she received and added that she’s received a lot of disappointed messages from riders who all really seem to enjoy the PG track.
Round 2 will now be hosted by the Whispering Pines MX track and we will revisit the potential of heading back to the northern BC city of Prince George in the future.
Keylan Meston Prepares to Close Out his First-Ever Pro MX Championship
Before we go for this week, I’d like to expand on the fact that Calgary’s Keylan Meston sits poised to capture his first big Canadian AX title this weekend in Chilliwack!
Keylan sits 4 points ahead of 2019 Pro Open Champion Collin Jurin. There’s a pretty good chance Collin could win the final 2 rounds of competition, which would win him the title again. However, if Collin should falter, the championship could come back to Canadian hands.
I called Keylan and caught him as he was picking up some things for tonight’s racing and then headed over for the 4:30 practice.
When I commented on the size of this possible accomplishment, he replied, “Ya, it’s a first for me!“
Unfortunately, he heads into this final weekend fighting through a finger/wrist injury after a crash last weekend. He said it’s swollen and sore, but that he hopes the adrenaline will take over and he can race to his full potential.
He said Kyle Beaton has given them some great tracks to race on and that this weekend’s course is a bit tighter than the normal Chilliwack tracks.
While I had him on the line, I asked how his 2020 racing plans were coming along.
He said the “plan is in the works” and that he will be doing “the whole circuit.”
We’ll have to wait for the official release of what he’s got going on and we’ll bring that information to you as soon as we have it.
OK, we’re cutting this one close to the 4pm ET deadline, so we’ll end it here. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.
Oh, we’ll be doing our FXR/K DEAM Optics contest again this week for the San Diego SX. You have to pick the 250 and 450 podiums for the win.
We have yet to get a winner, so I may soften the rules as we head into competition tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.