Frid’Eh Update #49 | Richard Taylor | Presented by Race Tech
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #49 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Race Tech. If you’re in Canada, give Adam Robinson at AGR Suspension a “CLICK” as they are the go-to for all things Race Tech north of the border.
As we close in on the end of another year, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes for some while not a lot going on for others. We’ll get to that after our interview.
This week belongs to California racer Richard Taylor. Richard is the big kid who first came up to dip his feet in the Canadian Motocross pool back in 2019 at Walton Raceway when he came up with his Suzuki 450 and raced the final race in our Canadian Triple Crown Series.
Richard is currently getting ready for 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross at home and we got in touch with him to see what his plans are.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Richard. I think we need to go back to the beginning with you, so people reading this in Canada can learn about you. Can you tell us how old you are, where you were born, and where you live now?
Richard Taylor: Yeah, for sure! I’m 22 years old, I was born in Woodland Hills, California, just outside of Los Angeles, and I still live there today.
And I have to ask you my usual, how did you get involved in Motocross in the first place?
My dad, Rich Taylor, raced professionally for years. He then continued on to stay in the industry as a test rider, as well as start and run X Brand Goggles. I was always around motocross growing up, so naturally, I got into it and have ridden my whole life. I didn’t start taking racing seriously until much later. My first year actually pursuing amateur nationals, I was 15 and in the C class on big bikes. Since then, I’ve really progressed quickly and have been devoting my all to being the best I can be on a dirt bike.
What was your first number and how did you choose it?
My first number was 44 and I kept it all the way until I turned pro and had to take a 3-digit. I don’t remember a specific reason I chose it. I believe I raced A Day in the Dirt on a 65 way back in the day and it was my team race number they assigned me. I just kept it after that! Haha
Who did you come up through the ranks battling as an amateur and when did you turn Pro?
My last amateur year, I raced with Jett Lawrence, Carson Mumford, Seth Hammaker, and Jalek Swoll, to name a few. I wasn’t a dominant amateur when I got to the A class, but I did get some solid results. I got a 2nd in Open Pro at Mammoth 2019 with most of those guys there and that really felt good. After Loretta’s 2019, I came up to Canada on my Suzuki for my first Pro race at Walton in the 450 class. I got 11th there and turned American Pro the following year in 2020.
How about school? What was your favourite subject?
I’ve always had English and Literature come easier to me than the other subjects. I enjoy writing. All I know is I SUCK at math. Hahaha
Did/do you do any other sports or activities away from Moto?
Yeah, I have some other things I enjoy! Of course, what Moto guy doesn’t love to golf? I was actually on the golf team in High School. It still doesn’t mean I’m very good though! Haha. I also like surfing when I get the chance.
What did you do in your first year as a Pro racer?
My very first American Pro races was the 2020 Salt Lake City Supercross / Covidcross. That was when they spent 7 rounds there in a row. I did the 2 West Coast 250 Rounds and it was a great learning experience for me. I got 12th in both heat races, but in my LCQs, I just didn’t capitalize to put myself in a position to go to the mains.
After that, I got the call from Sky Racing Kawasaki to come race up in Canada that summer. I came up and really enjoyed my time there, but unfortunately, I had an insane amount of bike issues and I ended up leaving a round early to come home. I hit the last 4 American Nationals on the Rock River Yamaha team after that and scored my first National Points at Thunder Valley and Pala in the 450 Class!
How did you end up racing a summer in Canada?
I have a really good relationship with the people at FXR, and that resulted in the guys at Sky Racing giving me a ride up there for the season.
How did you r racing go up here? What was your best race?
Like I said earlier, I had a really rough go while I was there. Almost every race that season was a mudder, and I DNF’d a ton due to bike issues. I had some top 10 moto finishes and one of the Walton rounds I was in the top 3 for a long time until I had another DNF.
Can you tell us more about how it came to be that you left the season early?
I left early just because me and the team weren’t seeing eye to eye on certain things I thought we could do to maybe prevent some DNFs. After pushing the bike off so many times, it gets old and I was just ready to go home and start new again. I’m still super-grateful the team gave me a shot to go up there and see what I could do. I enjoy the Canadian series and I really would like to come do some more rounds someday and show I can be one of the top guys up there.
Big question here, but what have you been doing since you left Canada?
Well, as soon as I got home from Canada, I got a call from Rock River about doing the last 4 AMA Nationals in the 450 Class. Being almost 6’3, I’ve always been a better 450 rider and I was super excited to take the opportunity. I practiced on a friend’s Yamaha 450 for a couple days and went to Millville, where I finished just outside the top 20.
I continued on to WW, Thunder Valley, and finally Pala where I scored points in a few motos!
2021 was plagued with injuries. I tore my ACL which put me out for SX, and then was getting ready to come back for outdoors. Literally, the week before Pala 1, I knocked myself out and broke some ribs, my collarbone, and my shoulder blade. That put me out for Outdoors. Since then I have recovered and have been having an amazing time getting back into race shape and getting ready for what’s next.
Yes, I see that you’re getting ready for the 2022 Supercross season. Can you tell us your plans for that?
I am! My Supercross prep is going great. I’ve been on SX for a little over a month now and it’s all coming together really well. I’ve been riding a Yamaha 450 and just getting more and more comfortable. It’s super cool seeing the progression in fitness and intensity while doing motos on Supercross the more I ride it. There’s a chance I’ll ride the 250 Class at Anaheim, but it’s still up in the air. There’s just no bikes around at the moment for me to get. I feel great on the 450, so if 250 doesn’t work out at the start of the season, I’ll just race my 450.
Where are you training?
I train with Daniel Loub at Platinum Fitness just under Santa Barbara. You might have seen the gym in some of Ken Roczen or Adam Cianciarulo‘s old boot camp videos a few years back. Daniel has really helped me out getting me in shape and it’s nice knowing he’s seen top level racers and what they do in person first-hand and can apply that to me.
Will you do the AMA Pro Motocross season, as well, or can we temp you to return to Canada?
I don’t have any official plans yet for this summer, but I will be racing somewhere. I would love to race back up in Canada if I were given an opportunity with a solid team. Otherwise, I’m going to try and make it happen down here in the states. I’ve already proven to myself that I am a top 20 guy in the 450 Class, and I really want to give a full season a shot to show what I can do.
Well, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Good luck in Supercross and who would you like to thank?
Thanks for reaching out! I appreciate it and hope to see you soon! I really just gotta thank everyone who supports me and allows me to continue to do what I love, my family, my trainer, my girlfriend, and all my sponsors, friends and people in the industry who help me: X Brand Goggles, FXR, Dunlop, Simi Valley Cycles, KYB, McCarthy Electric, CTi, Arma, Dubya, Gaerne, Simi Spine and Wellness, Flo Motorsports, ODI, Firepower, UFO, D’Cor and Tamer.
I put out a short list of names to keep an eye on for this upcoming Supercross season in last week’s Monday Morning Coffee column. It definitely wasn’t a confirmed list of riders heading south, just something to get us talking. We all want to see our guys reaching for the stars but it doesn’t mean it’s an easy leap or is actually going to happen for most riders.
We’re almost in the middle of December, so anyone who has plans to race the series would need to be down south by now putting in the testing and training. If the riders I mentioned on the list aren’t pounding laps at practice tracks, we’re not likely going to see them on the gate.
As far as the names I mentioned go, Westen Wrozyna and Tyler Gibbs will not be lining up at a SX this season. Both of them are trying to secure a ride for the upcoming 2022 Canadian season, so they’ll put their efforts into that pursuit, instead.
Cole Thompson has said on his Instagram page that he’ll have an announcement in the very near future. He’s one rider I think we can all agree on that still has some untapped potential indoors south of the border.
Jess Pettis is at full speed and heading into the 250 West series, starting at the season opener at A1. A healthy Jess is going to be fun to watch! I stayed with Mike Brown and Andy White for the Mini O’s last month and Mike is, obviously, on the inside at Baker’s Factory. He told me that Jess is good to go.
Julien Benek and Guillaume St Cyr are both putting in the laps at SOBMX in South Carolina. Julien is entering his rookie season on the Partzilla PRMX team and Guillaume ( “Guac” ) is doing his own program for the East with his Junior Mechanique Peak support.
So, with the #DMXVan nearing the end of its tour of duty, I’ve been spending/wasting a lot of time on #vanlife sites and YouTube channels. There are some really amazing builds out there! I’m not 100% what I’ll do or what kind of vehicle I’ll choose next, but it would be really nice to have a mobile DMX work station. You know, something a little less “sleeping in a minivan” and little more like “there’s nothing wrong with this because it’s converted!“
I stumbled onto this example from WildernessVans:
That sure would suit my lifestyle! Anyway, we can dream.
We’re going to try to up our regular cross-country coverage in the New Year. If you’re able to be at races in your area and can also get photos and write captions, we’re looking for you!
If interested, please contact me at email@example.com and we can discuss what we’re looking for and how you can possibly fit in.
We want to make sure the racing, racers, families, and supporters all get their kudos and publicity from across Canada and maybe you can be a big part of making that happen.
At the moment, I think we’ve got BC covered, but the rest of the country is wide open and we want to hear from you.
OK, we’ll leave it there for this week. With the forecast we’ve got for southwestern Ontario, there’s a half decent chance we’ll all be out riding over the weekend and into next week!
Have a great weekend, everyone.