ICYMI | Catching Up with Ryan Lockhart
By Billy Rainford
Direct Motocross: Hello, Ryan. Let’s go all the way back to he beginning. How did you get started in Motocross?
Ryan Lockhart: Pretty common story, my dad raced pro locally so pretty much from the time that I can remember I was at the track watching and playing.
What was your first number and why did you choose it?
First number was 8. I was 7 when I did my first race but decided to go with 8 because it was late in the season when I did the race.
Do you remember your first race? Where was it and how did it go?
Yes, I do! It was in Summerside, PEI ( Prince Edward Island ) and was on the infield of a horse racetrack. It was 1992 and I was the only 60 so they put me with the 80’s. I was terrified being on the track with the bigger bikes but since I was the only 60 I guess you could say I got the win.
Who was your hero growing up?
Never really had any heroes, but lots of guys that I looked up to and that were very important to my career. My dad, Blair Morgan and especially Mike Treadwell all played a huge part in what I was able to do in this sport. So, thank you to them.
Who did you come up through the ranks battling?
Mitch Cooke. Growing up racing in a small area like the Maritimes, I guess you could say there was always some drama. Haha. Mitch and I battled from the time we were on 80’s all the way through the pro ranks, and I’m sure if we lined up right now we would still battle.
We didn’t always get along but at times we were best of friends, teammates, and I always respected him for his natural ability. It always felt extra good to beat him though.
How did your Intermediate year go? Titles?
Wasn’t great. Got hurt a lot and never really got a shot to go to Walton or anything since I was injured. I believe I won the Atlantic region championship and went Pro.
What year did you turn Pro and how did it go that first year?
I went pro way too early and it’s probably one of the biggest regrets in my career. I was 15 and just went for it. I was great at the local level but not ready for the nationals. I tried a few nationals in 1998 and did the full season in 1999 with some great results, but mentally wasn’t ready.
As I’m sure everyone has heard, the sport of motocross changed in 2000. I was 16, never heard of training, and just figured I would go out and get top 10’s no problem.
Well, I got my ass kicked so bad and it took me 2 years to recover mentally and figure things out. I still preach to this day to the up-and-comers in our sport: take your time and don’t move up too quick. Once you’re Pro there is no going back.
OK, who misnamed you “The Newf,” and how could a guy from Nova Scotia let it stick?!
Well, that would be Ron Ashley. I met Ron in 1999 and had the opportunity to ride for him in 2000. It started out as “Super Newf” then went to Newf. It’s weird, I know, considering Toronto was closer to me than Newfoundland. So not sure but the name has stuck for the last 20 years! Haha
If you had to pick a racing highlight from your career (which you do), what stands out at the top for you?
Lots of different moments in my career stick out, so I will list a few. My first national podium in 2002, World Supercross GP Podium in 2004 (Toronto), having the opportunity to do almost the complete SX series in 2006 in the 450 class, working as a mechanic for some top riders and getting podiums with them in both classes. Taking almost 3 years off from racing and coming back to score top 10’s in the 450 class.
But the biggest was winning my one-and-only national moto in 2003 in the 125 class. That will always rank number 1.
What have you been up to this season? How have your races been going? And what’s your role with the GDR team?
It’s been a busy year, to say the least. I’m heavily involved with the Future West Moto series out here in BC, acting as the race director, wide open with my normal job at Matrix and Atlas, trying to be the best husband and dad to my young family, working for GDR at the races, and yet still trying to ride myself.
The riding part has been a little weak this year and that’s just because I don’t have the time to focus on it. This is the first year that I can say I feel like I have lost some speed, but I’m ok with that. I still love riding and will continue to do that as long as my body will allow it.
I made the connection with GDR last year as I was able to put the Jake Nicholls deal together and be his mechanic for Popkum last year. I was supposed to work for the #37 (Jake Tricco) for the west round but that never happened, so I mentioned to Diggs (Derek Schuster) that I would still like to help out where needed — the riders, mechanics, etc..
It’s been awesome working with those guys and, to be honest, I love the feeling of winning, especially when it’s a team effort.
What’s exciting over at your work these days and what’s coming up with Atlas/100% etc.?
Lots of good stuff over here. I have been with the company for 7 years and these guys are family. Our line-up of products keeps growing (Atlas, Matrix, 100%, Mobius, Tag, Strider). All brands that I’m very passionate about and love being a part of a growing company.
Will we see you at the TransCan racing?
You will see me at the TransCan but not racing this year. I’ve just been too busy and not near enough prep to commit to the logistics. I will be there from Thursday to Sunday supporting all of our Atlas Athletes, working for GDR, and will line up for Shift Holeshot Challenge. Hopefully, make the racing part happen next year.
So, are you heading into full Moto Dad territory? What’s the wee lad’s plan for sports?
My son, Meston, is obsessed with moto! He watches, talks, and loves it but then again he’s never had a chance not to like it since we have had him at the track from the time he was born.
He rides his PW 50 now and did his first race a few weeks back at Gopher. I’m sure I will turn full crazy, but for now I just let him do his thing and let him lean on his own.
The funny thing is he doesn’t listen to me when I try and give him tips and when he decided to race at Gopher he asked Dylan Wright to take him to the line.
Ouch. Who are your picks for the 250 and 450 MX titles this summer?
Hard to bet against Dylan in the 250’s and Colt (Colton Facciotti) on the 450’s. The 800 has been impressive as of late so things could get interesting if he wins again this weekend.
OK, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Who would you like to thank?
Thank you, Billy, for doing what you do along with all the people who have supported me over the years and the people who believed in me. My longtime supporters Maple Ridge Motorsports, Kawasaki, Fox, Shift, Matrix, Atlas, 100%, Tag, Mobius, Mongoose Machine, Reklus, Direct Suspension, my wife Randi, Meston, Mom, Dad, Rick Sheren, Troy Smith. Thanks to everyone.