ICYMI | Catching Up with Ryan Dowd | Presented by Race Tech

By Billy Rainford

Presented by Race Tech
Catching Up with #14 Ryan Dowd. | Bigwave photo

Ryan Dowd is the rider who holds the #14 for the 2021 season. We didn’t see him in 2020 due to the COVID-19 border situation and because of the fact he went in a different direction last year, and we’ll talk to him about that.

Last time we saw Ryan, the 2019 season, he was #46. He did the entire series and earned himself a career number.

We got in touch with him this week to find out what he’s been up to and what his plans are for the future.

Ryan at his favourite Canadian track, Deschambault, in 2019. | Bigwave photo

Direct Motocross: Hello, Ryan. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you up in these parts. Did you know you were carrying the #14 over into the 2021 season? 

Ryan Dowd: Hey, Billy! I know, I feel like I haven’t talked much with anyone from up north. Haha. Yeah, I’m aware of the #14. I chose it for my career number in 2019 after I did the full season and was super excited to run it, but never really got the chance yet!

We talked about it after the 2019 season, but could you tell everyone again how that series went for you up here? You travelled across the whole country for the first time, right?

Yeah, I decided to commit to the series for the first time ever, so I hopped in the family motorhome with a close friend and drove all the way out west for the first three rounds. It was awesome to see some new tracks and make some long-lasting memories!

I had some decent luck out there. The first round was rough and was actually the worst I finished all season, I believe, but other than that I was riding good and had some good races.

The east was good to me again, aside from Gopher Dunes  I had two first-turn crashes but still managed some top 12s and I got my best career finish at my favorite track in Deschambault! I ended the series in 7th overall, so I was more than happy.

Ryan got the chance to see our entire country in 2019. | Bigwave photo

What was your favourite part of Canada?

My favorite part is probably just the atmosphere of the Canadian nationals. It’s so relaxed and fun oriented. It makes the races that much easier and it makes the weekend an awesome experience. Also, shout out to the end year party. That was awesome! You Canadians are animals! Hahaha.

But you never made it back to Canada for the 2020 season. I think you said you were finished racing seriously before the pandemic even happened, didn’t you? What brought you to this conclusion? I saw that you were down south and it looked like you were getting ready.

Yeah, I never made it back up there, sadly. I was actually down south riding all winter once again with my friend, getting ready for the upcoming season. We stayed right up until COVID started hitting the US. By then it was mid-March and the knee I had surgery on was starting to really bother me again and I started having problems with gastritis once again. It was a tough time and I was struggling to train hard. But for some reason around that time I just lost the fire in me. I don’t know why but when I left Florida to come home I just didn’t want to ride or train anymore. It was a hard thing to deal with.

So what did you get up to last summer? What are you doing for work?

Last summer I was just basically working. Part of the reason I gave up racing was because I have a really good opportunity to have a career in the union being a lineman so I’ve been pursuing that.

Hey, maybe tell us a little bit about your racing trip to Sweden back in 2017? How was that experience?

Sweden was AWESOME. I loved Sweden and I wish I could’ve gone back while I was racing and training hard like in 2018 and 2019. I loved everything about it – the people, the food, the hospitality and of course the track!

It was a sand track, so that was cool. But it was one of the gnarliest I think I’ve ever ridden. It had this double step up section after a massive straight away and the faces of both the step ups were completely rutted up. And this one section had a seriously steep step down into an immediate left-hander. The track was tough as hell. I wasn’t in the greatest shape in 2017 but I still had fun over there. Also, I pulled the sickest holeshot of my life in the second moto, which was super cool. 

What have you been up to this winter?

I worked most of the winter. I got laid off recently in February, but I worked full time for about 6 months then the work slowed down huge up here. So I’m currently on the books waiting for a company that needs me!

Will we ever see you back on a track up here (or anywhere) again?

Of course you will! I may have given up racing full time, but I haven’t given it up completely. I’m actually planning on coming up this year! I have to score some points this year to keep my career number, and I haven’t even gotten a chance to run it yet, so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity this year!

Also, to please the fans and to just make it a little more fun, I’m gonna run the 250 2-stroke in the 450 class! Super excited and I’m sure people will love it.

I’ve ALWAYS hated training. I loved being in shape but I hated putting in the work. I think that’s part of what made me give it up. I knew you have to dedicate your life to this sport and give 100% and be in it 100%, and I knew I hated training so much that I could never make it a full-time job.” – Ryan Dowd | Bigwave photo

I can’t wait to hear it! How is your dad doing since his accident?

He’s doing very well! He’s back to work, not full time yet because he’s still not 100%, but he’s back working. He’s been doing some projects around the house and at our 3-family apartment a few towns over. I don’t think he’ll resume his excavation work until he’s 100% though.

That was a rough accident. It could’ve been a lot worse and I’m thankful it wasn’t but he said, hands down, that was the worst injury he’s ever had and definitely the worst I’ve ever seen him look.

Now I see that you bought yourself a pit bike. What’s up with that?

Haha yeah, why not?! I used to ride pit bikes literally every day after school and I’ve always had some clapped out 125 with the frame welded together from me breaking it. Hahaha. I knew I always wanted to get a new one some day, and I saw those Thumpstars at a dealer nearby (Monty’s Motorsports) that has sold my old bikes before, and they gave me an awesome deal on it! So I had the money and it was kinda just an impulse but I figured why not. I just kinda went and bought it. Haha.

What do you miss most about racing?

The competition. The adrenaline. I miss getting a bad start and coming through the pack. I miss battling back and forth with someone the same speed as you and laying it down as hard as you possibly can racing knobby to knobby. Man, I miss those feelings so much. There’s nothing like the rush of a motocross race. 

If things go as planned, we should see Ryan and his dad, John Dowd, in Quebec this summer. | Bigwave photo

What don’t you miss about racing?

The training, hands down. I’ve ALWAYS hated training. I loved being in shape but I hated putting in the work. I think that’s part of what made me give it up. I knew you have to dedicate your life to this sport and give 100% and be in it 100%, and I knew I hated training so much that I could never make it a full-time job.

But it is what it is. I’m living life now making money and eating and drinking what I want when I want and I’m just doing my own thing. Dirt bikes will always be there to ride!

Well, good luck with the future and please say hello to John for us up here in Canada. I look forward to seeing you in Deschambault. Would you like to thank anyone before we let you go?

Thanks man, and you will see him up at Deschambault. I’m sure he will tag along with me. I just want to thank everybody that’s played a part in getting me to where I’ve gotten in my motocross career. All my sponsors and special people that have helped me in some way, I don’t know if they’ll ever realize how much of an impact they’ve made on me and my career. And everyone up there in the Triple Crown Series, you guys are awesome! Forever my favorite series to race. Kyle (Thompson), Daryl (Murphy), and Paul (Kingsley), you guys have always made me feel at home when I show up to a National, and I’m truly grateful for it! Thank you!