Photo Report | A Look at Cole Thompson’s A1 Supercross

By Billy Rainford

Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada

It felt like we were back in 2007 and I was chasing a much younger Cole Thompson around the racing circuit as he travelled around in their big RV. Fast forward 15 years and there we were in the parking lot of Angel Stadium of Anaheim getting ready for round 1 of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 West series with Cole and his wife, Chloe, living the dream as a privateer team.

At first, they didn’t even have a place to park on the inside of the fenced-in pit area. As I interviewed Cole on the Friday after Media Day, it didn’t phase either of them at all. This was all part of the adventure.

Cole and Chloe had driven from Brigden, Ontario, to North Carolina to train at Steward Baylor‘s place, and then drove out to California for the series, arriving in time to make the event but not really with enough time to test the bike and new parts. In his own words, they were sort of “winging it” for Round 1.

Here’s our interview from Friday afternoon:

When we were finished recording that interview and shooting the breeze there in the gigantic parking lot, it was just after 4pm on a Friday afternoon and I was hit with the prospect of having to drive from LA back to Murrieta in rush hour traffic.

I contemplated heading to a nearby restaurant and waiting for things to die down but then realized that it likely wouldn’t ease up until well into the evening. That was no good either, so I took my chances and headed out of the stadium and onto the highway.

I was in Ulf and Cheryl Viney‘s Honda Ridgeline pick-up and they pay for a transponder that allows you to use the HOV/Express lanes on the highways in California.

Traffic wasn’t actually bad at all until I hit #91 Riverside Highway. It clogged up pretty fast but was still moving. In fact, I thought we were standing still until I looked down to realize we were all still cruising along at about 65 mph, bumper to bumper.

I saw the first Express Lane entrance but then noticed the electronic sign that gives you the cost of using the lanes to the next exit. The first one I noticed said $17. No way. Although traffic was really busy, it just didn’t seem worth it to pay so much just to get to the next off ramp. I stayed in the regular lanes and dealt with it.

I checked every time a new sign appeared but they were all too much for what I thought I would benefit, so I remained on the public highway and turned up the music.

It actually eased up once I made my way onto the #15 south, and I was happy I hadn’t used the pay lanes because the total would have to have been at least $40 when all was said and done. I also noticed that when the highway isn’t busy, the Express Lanes are just pennies to use. Go figure. Supply and demand in action, I guess.

I got back to Viney Ranch at a decent hour and worked on a few photos and videos before heading to bed pretty early to be ready for another long day.

When I returned to the stadium, got my stuff set up in the Photo Den underneath the rock fountain in the outfield and then went to find Cole and Chloe again.

I guess they were woken up pretty early in the morning and told they been found a place to park in the actual pits. I know they were trying to clear out everyone’s personal vehicles that were clogging up the pits the day before so they must have opened up a lot of space for other privateers, too, which was cool.

I didn’t know where they’d been parked at the time and wandered the entire pits but couldn’t find them anywhere. How could that huge rig be hiding anywhere?! It was.

Hidden behind the RMATV/MC rig and a Yamaha rig was Cole. It was actually perfect for him because it was close to the action but hidden out of the way.

Then it was time for riders meeting followed by track walk.

Cole at riders meeting Saturday morning at 10:00am.
Cole and Chloe during track walk that started at 10:30.

JC Seitz and I stood behind Cole’s rig for about 15 minutes. We headed over to wish him luck but he was nowhere to be found so we just stood there chatting.

Eventually, Jeremy McKie and his family showed up and we all stood there. Jeremy said he’d just walk up and knock, which he did. Cole had no problem with that and came out to chat with us all and continue getting ready.

I think JC and I would still be standing there had Jeremy not walked up and knocked on the door…

Cole working on his bike and getting ready.
FYI: The photo den was under those rocks over there.
Those didn’t really feel like round 1 whoops…

Qualifying results:

16th place: 1:01.280

Cole and Chloe heading to the line for Heat 1.
Between #47 Seth Hammaker and #29 Michael Mosiman on the line.

250 Heat 1 results:

8th place – directly to the Main

Time to get ready for the Main.
Chloe getting Cole’s gate ready while he was out for his sight lap.
Yes, Cole still changes gloves after sight lap.

When the gate dropped on the 250 Main, Cole was 6 gates in from the outside. He didn’t look to get the greatest jump and then decided to try for the old move to the inside trick to gain a few spots around the first turn.

He ended up around 16th as they headed down the first rhythm section along the 3rd base line.

Around the halfway mark, he was in 15th place and riding on his own. Factory riders were going back and forth as they seemed to take turns falling in the Main. That put him in 13th for a while until #49 Nate Thrasher got back by him, dropping him to 14th.

#28 Christian Craig was out front and came up on Cole as they passed the mechanics area. Cole pointed to the inside for Christian to get passed without any trouble.

Cole slowly closed in on #101 Dylan Walsh and made the pass down the 3rd base line and into the left-hand 180 corner. Walsh would then crash down the next rhythm section pretty hard.

Cole crossed the line in 14th place and was happy with how his first race back went. He was focusing on being smooth and making it safely to round 2.

He’ll now be able to get on the bike this week and be ready for Oakland.

Here’s our interview at the end of the day:

Thanks for letting me get in there and cover your first race back, Cole. Good luck with the rest of the series and we’ll see you soon.