ICYMI | Catching Up with Chad Saultz

By Billy Rainford

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In case you missed it, we caught up with Illinois rider, Chad Saultz. | Bigwave photo

#34 in 2019 is Chad Saultz from Illinois. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen him here representing the digits and we’ll find out why.

He did every round in the 250 class last season, and here’s a look at how the MX portion went:

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His best was an 11th at McNabb Valley MX in Manitoba.

We got in touch with him as he recently returned from a nice trip to Hawaii. He may have the best “origin story” we’ve heard yet! Here’s what he had to say:

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Chad may have the best “origin story” we’ve heard yet! | Bigwave photo

Direct Motocross: Hey, Chad. We haven’t seen you in a while, so let’s start at the beginning. How did you first get into Motocross? 

Chad Saultz: When I lived in South Florida my mom and I went to pick up a part for our jet ski.  My mom’s brother used to race motocross and as we were leaving the dealer my mom spotted a Honda 50 and her fun memories of her brother racing all came back to her. 

At that point she  asked me if I would like to ride one of them. I said yes.  She bought the bike and my dad had a fit and said I wasn’t allowed to ride it and to take it back. 

My mom refused and the bike sat for 6 months until one day my dad relented and said, “Let’s go ride the bike.” 

Well, from there it’s history. My dad really got into it and, needless to say, so did I.  

What was you first number and how did you choose it?

My first race number was 416. I ended up with 416 because my mom said since she’s the one who got me started into this sport, and my birthday is 416, it sounded like a good number. My dad and I agreed.

Growing up, did you play any other sports too?   

When I lived in Florida up to age 7 I played Baseball, Basketball and Soccer. When I moved to Illinois that’s when Motocross became my focus. 

What made you decide to come north to Canada in the first place?

I had never been to Canada before and wanted the experience of seeing Canada and traveling around. Motocross was the perfect opportunity to travel and be able to do what I enjoy most. Also, some friends had done the Canadian rounds and said it was a cool experience. 

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Chad misses the friendly people up here and, of course, Tim Hortons. | Bigwave photo

Can you take us through your 2018 season up here in Canada.    

The beginning of the season started off great! Calgary and Popkum were good. Prince George was a disaster with all the rain and, unfortunately, blew a bike up and ended with a DNF.  Manitoba was really good because I had my best result of the season.

Coming back East from the break, I unfortunately lost my mechanic and decided to do the rest of the series solo. It was definitely a struggle with a lot of bike problems. On the up side of the struggles, I ended the outdoor series at Walton riding like I should have been.

SX in Montreal was a really cool experience and rode good and walked away with 7th OA. The rest of the SX Series was a memorable experience and I’m glad I did it.

What did you get up to over the winter?

I trained at GPF all winter getting ready for the SX Futures to get my SX license. I trained with Dylan Wright on SX during the week and learned a lot riding with him. I got 4 of the 6 points needed, but missed the last two rounds of Futures because of an injury.

What have you been up to this summer?    

My summer started with a huge disappointment because, during a quick practice at a friend’s before Vegas, I tore my ACL and meniscus. My only choice at that point was to have surgery.

First six weeks after surgery was on crutches with non-weight bearing on the knee. Since then I’ve been doing a little traveling. I went to Hawaii and then over to Maui and it was nice to get away and do something. Next week I’m heading to Jamaica for the week and looking forward to it. 

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He’s been doing some traveling while recooping from ACL/MCL surgery. | Bigwave photo

That’s not all bad! Did you pay attention more to the AMA or MRC Nationals this summer? Colton just won his record-breaking 6th 450 title and has now retired. 

I watched them both about the same because I have friends competing in both and like to see what’s going on. Colton parked next to me at GPF all winter and I had the privilege of getting to know him a little. Nice guy and I think it’s great he retired on a high note with his outstanding career accomplishments.

You’re not far from Crawfordsville. Will we see you at Ironman this weekend?

No I will not be attending the last round at Ironman.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be released to ride again mid-November and after the first of the year I’m planning on racing the first few rounds of the SX Futures to get my last two points.  If everything works out, I will race East Coast SX.

For the summer of 2020, I plan on racing the AMA Outdoor Nationals and possibly a few Triple Crown Rounds.

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Chad still needs 2 points for his AMA SX licence, so he’ll try to get those and race East Coast SX next year, the AMA MX Nationals, and maybe some Canadian rounds. | Bigwave photo

What’s your best Canadian memory? 

Traveling British Columbia.  The scenery was spectacular and the views are amazing.  Also, I really enjoyed meeting so many nice people.

What do you miss most about us up here?       

The friendliness of so many people. And of course Tim Hortons (Laughs). 

OK, thanks for chatting with us. Hope we see you again soon. Who would you like to thank?Paragraph

Roger Larson with Seven MX for always keeping me looking fresh. Buca Di Beppo, Planet Hollywood, Bertucci’s, Motocutz, CycleTrader Rock River Yamaha, Dunlop, ProTaper, Tucker Powersports, TZR Racing, Hinson, No-Toil, TLR Performance, KSR Wheels, Yoshimura, Cycra and my mom, dad, grandparents, along with all my family and friends.