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The Story Behind the Photo | Nathan Bles Dade City 2011

By Billy Rainford

For some reason, I was rooting around in an old file from 2011 this afternoon. It was the winter I spent cruising around promoting MX Ranking in the big RV. I hit every race in the Florida Series that winter and met a ton of new people in the sport. It was a great 3 months but it all came to an end rather abruptly, but that’s another story…

It was the winter Nathan Bles turned Pro and headed down to Florida for some winter training and racing to get ready for his Canadian Nationals on the GDR Suzuki team.

I don’t remember all the details but I do remember how upset Nathan was with his performance at this Dade City MX race.

In fairness to Nathan, there are kids who make and made their entire racing careers at this track! It was a racing community and entity all to itself. It was a strange and successful enigma in our sport. Kids you’d never heard of before were able to best some of the fast Pro riders who dared show up to challenge them on their home turf. It was wild how good these kids rode this track and series that Randy Yoho built.

OK, so here’s a photo of Nathan in action that night. I asked him to tell us the story as he remembers it and he was happy to oblige…I think. Lol Check it out:

#54 Nathan Bles circa 2011 Dade City MX in Florida. | Bigwave photo

Ya, I was upset that day. Big realization that I was slow. I got an opportunity to race for GDR when they had Suzukis. I just had a stock bike and didn’t have gear yet. I was in transition mode from KTM and old gear to getting new stuff slowly.

That was the year I went into my first season as a full Pro. I had high expectations and getting beat by B riders and no-namers (local fast guys) hurt the ego. I also struggled on the Suzukis.

It was a bit muddy and I was on a stock 250f against some fast local riders. Bad starts, slow bike and that track is hard to pass with short motos. Big struggle.

Not knowing who they where made me think I should be able to beat them, but I got smoked! I remember a guy on a TM 450 winning and he looked kinda goonish, and back then TM bikes weren’t that great so my ego was hurt bad that day.

I went back to County Line with my tail between my legs and started to realize I needed to go faster and work on sprint speed. It was still a good experience, looking back, but man those Suzukis were slow!