Catching Up With...Cole Thompson
Interview by Billy Rainford
Photos by James Lissimore
Catching Up With...Cole Thompson
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Cole Thompson just leap-frogged the A class and jumped straight to the Lites class in supercross this past weekend. With a ninth place finish in the main event, he made a very strong impression. We called him as he was driving to the practice track to get his thoughts on his big night.
DMX: Hey Cole. What’s up?
Cole Thompson: Hey, what’s up? We’re just driving up to the track right now. We went back to Florida for a few days. Now we’re about to get back at it.
Are you going riding this afternoon?
I think the track is probably a little muddy, so we’re going to work it over and hopefully go riding tomorrow.
So how does this week go for you?
We left Dallas Saturday night and got to Florida on Sunday. I took yesterday (Monday) off to work on the bikes and stuff like that and now we’re heading back up to the practice track for today.
So, how was your race bike. Did you have much time on it before Saturday?
I had only put an hour on it before and it was really good. It’s a pullin’ motor and it felt really comfortable to me, right away.
Cole felt comfortable on his new race bike and in front of 55 000 race fans.
Let’s talk about Dallas! How did it all go for you?
It was good. I mean, it was definitely quite the experience. As anyone who’s ever done one before will tell you, it’s definitely a lot bigger than anything amateur-wise. It was cool that way; just being there and walking the track. I was lucky enough to make it through the timed qualifying with a top finish (in his group) to get to the night show. I got two decent starts that really helped me get good finishes.
Were you nervous looking around the biggest stadium in the country with around 55 000 people looking on?
(Laughs) Usually, the night before, I’m pretty stressed-out, but, for some reason, I was really calm and relaxed about it. Once I made it to the night show I was more nervous about that. I wasn’t sure what I was capable of doing. I made the night show and I thought, ok, that’s good enough for me. I just looked at the whole night as just trying to have fun and not stressing about whether I was going to make it or not. I was just going with it.
Then, we almost missed it because I was up eating and getting ready for it and I looked at the clock and then the schedule and I didn’t know if they were right on time—which they were—so I ran back into the stadium and, luckily, my brother (Kyle) had my bike down there on the gate. I was pretty fortunate for that. It was a good time.
How was Kyle? Was he super nervous?
I think he was more nervous, but I don’t think he would tell you that. He was just doing his thing. He was giving me pep talks all day. We were just trying to figure out how to get faster. The regular crew was there with me: my mom, my dad, and Kyle—just the four of us.
Cole lines up to the gate accompanied, as always, by his brother Kyle.
How did you actually like the track?
I thought the track was really cool. I think we definitely had a tough round to start off the east coast. There were some gnarly sections to it! I didn’t mind it though, it was good.
Were you happy with how your lap times looked and how the race went?
I think it was five laps into the race, I don’t know what happened, but it was like I just wasn’t breathing right. I got to the sixth or seventh lap and I almost hit the wall where I was just done. I was mentally drained and just out of it, kind of thing. I regrouped there in the middle and finished it out pretty strong. That’s not what I’m capable of…I’m better than that. I just need to work on small things like breathing and focusing on my own race and not who’s behind me or who’s in front of me. I need to work on breathing the first few laps and not getting myself tired. Anyone who ever rides supercross will tell you that the hardest thing is learning how to breathe right. I think just because it was the first round I rode a little tight too. I’ll just try to fix those two problems and I think I should be good.
What are your expectations heading into this weekend in Atlanta?
Pretty much just the same thing. We’re just going to go there, make sure I get the track dialed in really quick, and get a good lap time in and hopefully get into the night show again. From there, just try to get good starts and see what I can do once that happens.
Cole expects a lot of himself and sees no reason why he can't move even farther up the results page in the weeks to come.
Were any factory teams sniffing around after that strong first race?
No, I don’t think so. I think I’d have to do well in another two rounds to prove that I didn’t just get lucky.
Looking forward, what do you think about the always-tough Daytona race?
From what I’ve watched, it looks really demanding and tiring, so I’m definitely going to have to make sure I’m ready fitness-wise and mentally too. It looks like a tough track.
So, I guess you weren’t too upset that you weren’t at the Millcreek Spring Warm-Up race last weekend?
(Laughs) No, no, it’s funny, not everybody expected me to be pro yet, so it was funny showing up there and having a good weekend. It made me feel better about my decision not to stay amateur.
Did any of your old buddies contact you after Dallas?
Ya, I had a lot of support through Facebook and Twitter. Everyone was really stoked on it so that’s definitely motivating to go out and do well again for everybody back home.
We turned MX Forum red in your honour for this week.
I noticed that the other day and I was pretty stoked on that. To have it red because of me is a big accomplishment in my books. I’ve always liked creeping on there to see what people are saying.
I know you’re not actually sponsored by Honda so is there another colour you’d prefer it to turn?
It doesn’t bother me. Whatever you guys think is cool. I saw the green there the whole week and I thought that was pretty cool for Kyle (Beaton) getting 11th that last round.
Did you talk to John John (Pauk) at all in Dallas?
Ya, I talked to him in the pits. I think he crashed in one of his practices and he was a little sore when I talked to him.
Well, thanks for talking to us and good luck this weekend. You’ve given us all reason to be more excited about the races. Let’s hear your sponsor run again.
Thank you. I appreciate the call. See you soon. Thanks to Thor, Oakley, Fast Laps, BPM Motors, Dunlop Tires, my mom and dad, my brother Kyle, and all my friends and family back home.