ICYMI | Catching Up with #19 Dylan Wright
By Billy Rainford
Dylan Wright just wrapped up the 4-round Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Arenacross championship and now sets his sights on the rest of the 3-part tour.
Dylan is the rider who we watched progress through the amateur ranks as one of the most eye-catching and flashy riders we’ve ever seen here in Canada. His scrubs and 2-stroke skills are things of legend.
He’s always been known as a rider with incredible raw speed, but consistency has been his nemesis over the course of his first couple Pro seasons.
He’s finally locked down his first-ever Pro title and now looks to head outdoors with the red plate and see see if he can carry his confidence and consistency to the hard core tracks of our Motocross series.
We got in touch with him from Drummondville, Quebec, to talk about the AX series and what he’s hoping for this summer.
Direct Motocross: We’ve been talking to you a lot lately, but here we are at Week #19, so we need to pester you some more.
Dylan Wright: Ya, obviously it helps when you’re getting the results that I’ve been getting. Ya, we’ve been talking quite a bit, so that’s always a positive.
I spoke to your dad (Bill Wright) because I was thinking of doing something different like interviewing him, but he was quick to say that I should ask you before doing that.
Ya. I think maybe you could interview my mom. I don’t know if Bill’s interview would be PG enough.
So, you’ve always been fast, but did you come into this season with a different attitude or approach that turned this into a consistent championship run?
I’d like to say I did change something but I didn’t change the way i was training or my program at all. I was riding with Colt (Colton Facciotti) at GPF. The only thing that really changed was maybe my mindset coming into round 1. Maybe I needed to take it back a step and just worry about being more consistent and not making as many mistakes.
“Dude, if you just ride like you do in practice, you’re going to do just fine.” ~ Colton Facciotti
What really changed was that I wanted to be there every weekend. Maybe not riding the fastest every weekend, but be a guy who could just put in solid laps and almost take a page from Ryan Dungey‘s book. If it’s a 3rd, it’s a 3rd. To do that on a bad day and then if the win is there you maybe take a few risks to take the win, but if it’s not there, it’s not there.
Kind of like how I rode the last weekend in Barrie. I had a rough day going into the main event. I knew the win may be there but when I got off to kind of a bad start I figured I’d just take a 3rd. I wasn’t going to push myself and risk getting hurt or going down. That mindset probably is what changed a little bit.
Has anyone around you ever sort of sat you down and said that maybe you should aim for that sort of thing?
I mean, people have been telling me that for a few years, but it’s tough when you’re out there. You’ve got to be thinking about that while you’re racing but, at the same time, you’ve got a thousand different things that you’re thinking about. so, yes and no. I don’t think anyone really told me to do that. I, more or less, kind of realized by myself.
Especially training with Colt. In practice, we ride together quite a bit and he says, “Dude, if you just ride like you do in practice, you’re going to do just fine.”
So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do is go into it with the same mindset like I would so I kind of mimic what I’m going to do on race day in practice. It’s been working out for me and it was kind of a nice thing for Colt to do — help me out a little bit in that sense. It gave me the confidence to do the same thing on race day.
Do you ever straight up ask Colton how he can go out there and win by over a minute on certain days?
(Laughs) Ya, I oftentimes ask him like what happened and he just says that he was on. That everything he was doing was working for him that day.
Sometimes you have those days where you go out and everything you do on the bike just works. You also have those days where everything you do on the bike doesn’t work.
He came into the season fired up and ready to go and I think he caught a few people off guard with his raw speed coming into the season. He was ready to hang it out and had a little bit more aggression, maybe, than a few other guys coming in.
He surprised me, that’s for sure!
What would you say is the main thing you learned from your parents over the years?
The first thing would probably be to always stay humble and remember your beginnings. That’s a big thing for my parents. Even though we had so many good results coming up through the amateurs they told me to treat everybody the same. Even though you’re out front it doesn’t change anything. You’re still the same person as the guy that would finish at the back of the pack. Treat everybody the same and stay humble. We know in this sport anything can happen, so that’s probably the biggest thing that they would have taught me.
They also taught me that hard work pays off. They worked hard for me when I was growing up to give me the program that I needed. That didn’t come easy for them. They worked their butts off and I can’t really thank them enough for that.
My dad was making me load the trailers every weekend because he knew that ultimately it would pay off for me to know how much work actually goes into a race weekend or into the bike. When he worked on the bike, I would most of the time be out there helping him.
I knew, even when I went pro, just how much work went into it and just could appreciate it more.
OK, we had 4 very different conditions at the Arenacross races this year. What was your favourite event?
My favourite was probably actually Calgary. The dirt was pretty dry and they had that technical little rhythm, the 3-5-3 there, the whoops were good, and it was big. All in all, I feel like that was a really good round. I liked the layout. The floorspace was a little bit bigger and it gave us more room to move around.
Barrie was pretty good too. The dirt was better but I don’t think the layout was as good as in Calgary.
So, this is your first Pro title. Where does this rank for you?
The first Pro title is, obviously, great to get. This one is going to rank at the top of my accomplishments. WInning a few outdoors is good and it ranks up there, too, but to actually wrap up a title is nice for me.
It was an Arenacross title and it was pretty short but just to put it together is nice and will give me a little bit of confidence coming into outdoors, knowing that I can put it together.
My main goal is to win the Triple Crown and the outdoor series, so it’s a medium-size win, but I think we have bigger stuff set for us coming into the rest of the season as well.
Did you have any memorable bar-banging battle that stood out?
You know what? It was pretty quiet which is surprising because in the past I’ve always had a good battle with someone or some controversy, but that’s another thing that’s different this year. I came in with a bit of a different mindset. I didn’t want to be that guy that’s kind of a dick or start bad blood with anybody.
I was getting good starts and didn’t really battle with too many guys all season. I was kind of in my own space a lot of the time.
Take us through the situation in Barrie. You had to do a full bike swap, right?
Ya, it wasn’t exactly ideal to do on race day. In the first timed qualifier I had a bike malfunction at the beginning of it so I pulled off the track and through the tunnel to grab my practice bike that we had there as a spare. In Arenacross you don’t think you’re really going to have engine failure but anything can happen.
I went out and rode the rest of that qualifier on the practice bike that had outdoor suspension. We had to switch all the suspension to make it out for the next timed qualifier and I have to give it up to Justin (Petker) and Kyle (Ward) for switching it over super quick.
You don’t really have a lot of time between those two qualifiers. To be able to get all that done and have it primo ready for me to go was pretty impressive.
What will you do between now and round 1 out at Wild Rose in Calgary on June 1st?
This week I was just riding at local tracks around my place here in Drummondville, so I rode quite a bit this week. On Sunday I’ve got to head back to Gopher Dunes to get a photo shoot done early next week. Then we’ve got a bunch of testing after that on our race bikes.
I’ll just put my motos in and stick to my program. It’s been working really good this year, so I’ll just stick to it and do the last few weeks of grinding before the season starts, so I’m 100% ready when that gate drops in Calgary.
We’ve got a lot of solid riders in the class again this year. What are you expecting?
It’s going to be a deep class. It’s going to be good. It’ll be close to the deepest 250 outdoor class, maybe ever, so that’s always fun. I’m the type of guy who likes to battle. I don’t think anybody is going to win every weekend. It’s going to be tough to do like a (Ricky) Carmichael and sweep. Obviously, that’s the goal but there’s going to be lots of good racing. It’s going to be tight between a lot of us. I’m looking forward to it.
I like to race. If (Adam) Cianciarulo was coming up to race, my mindset wouldn’t change. We’d have to beat him and we’d have to figure out what we could do to make it happen.
I feel pretty comfortable on the bike, so that’s always a bonus. I’m healthy and everything is good, so my mindset coming in is super positive. I’m going to have the program and the bike to make it happen.
It’s going to be a tough season. It’s going to be lots of fun racing. There’s going to be a lot of close racing, so it’ll be good for the fans and for our sport, for sure.
Adam may be coming up here after Las Vegas! What do you do to relax, by the way?
(Laughs) Honestly, there isn’t much relaxing going on. These last few weeks it’s been that grind time where you’ve got to make things happen. You have to put as much work in as you can right now.
If I’m relaxing, I like to just put a movie on the TV with my girlfriend and our dogs and just chill out and have a coffee or something.
Jeff McConkey got a photo of you before a race in Barrie. You had your headphones on and your eyes were closed. What were you listening to?
Chances are, I was probably listening to Wiz Khalifa. A little bit of rap but kind of mellow to just get into the zone. In that picture I was probably trying to have a nap because I’m a guy who likes to nap on race day.
Well, thanks for talking with us today and we’ll see you in Calgary. Who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank the team, Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing and everybody that’s been putting the time in from the mechanics to the truck driver, Derek, Colton…I can’t thank everybody enough.