Here in Canada we experience something known as the “boomerang effect.” These guys just keep on coming back every year to compete in Canada. I was asked a while back, “Why does Dylan Schmoke not race in the US?” It got me thinking, why do a lot of US or international riders come to the Great White North to compete in CMRC’s Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals? I sat down with a few of the top privateers and asked them just exactly what it is that drives them to continue racing and how their racing path leads them to Canada. Talking with Dylan and his father Matthew, it is obvious why they choose to come up every year. Matthew started to explain that the racing in Canada is a lot like local racing back in California where there are lots of fast local riders that know the tracks well. The series is very competitive and there is some purse money paid out at the end of the day. “The real reason why we come to Canada is because we have been able to network and get some pretty decent support for the series,” says Schmoke. Back in California there are a thousand good riders and they are all knocking on the same doors for support. Imagine how many requests a company like FMF gets over a season from not just California riders but from the entire world looking for sponsorship.
Growing up in El Cajon, CA, Dylan started out riding like most kids – he got a mini bike and headed out to the desert to ride. After a few months they realized it was time to get a real MX bike with suspension and hit some local races. Before you knew it they had a garage full of 50cc KTMs and a motorhome with a 16-foot trailer stocked with all the tools, pressure washers and spares. After hanging out with other parents at the races, the Schmokes decided to take things to the next level and realized that Loretta Lynn’s was the place to compete and hopefully to get noticed. The competition is stacked from the 50 class all the way up to 250A. If you can win some motos at Loretta’s you usually end up getting good support. It is almost like getting a scholarship to some elite school by rite of passage. Dylan focused on motocross for years and competed at Loretta’s up until he hit the Schoolboy/Intermediate classes. After years of paying for bikes and parts they finally started getting a financial break by finding support from key industry sponsors.
The support that Dylan has received from his family has offered him so many opportunities most average privateers may not receive. His father, Matthew, runs his own business that is linked to the industry; Custom Decal based out of El Cajon that provides graphic kits and decals to many moto related businesses including our very own KTM Canada factory team. The luxury of having his own business has allowed Matthew to take the required time off to be with Dylan for his races. Also, given where the Schmoke family lives, Dylan has been fortunate to be able to practice in what should be known as “Motocross Mecca”. At all the big tracks, you see the top American pro guys ride like Pala, Glen Helen, Milestone, and Lake Elsinore, which are all a stone’s throw from his house, where he has clocked a ton of hours on each one of those tracks. Dylan has also had the opportunity to ride the Lites class in the western leg of the AMA Supercross Series. His close proximity and his riding skills have also landed him a top spot with KTM USA as one of their official test riders for suspension and chassis.
Just how Canada all came to be for Schmoke happened in the winter of 2010. While I was meeting with the R&D guys at KTM in California, I mentioned that I was looking for some fast 250F riders to compete in Canada. Michael Sleeter mentioned a few names and one of them happened to be Dylan Schmoke. I made a phone call and before I knew it, Dylan was connected to the RTR Performance KTM satellite team run by Craig Fortune. It was a perfect fit. Craig was looking to put RTR Performance on the map and the Schmokes were looking for something new. It was a pretty simple program. “You pay for your own travel and we will supply the bike and some parts,” and that’s all it took. Compared to what he had back home, that was way more support than they could have ever received in Southern California. “Where do we sign?” Dylan said. That season Dylan had some good results competing in what was then our nine round series. The following season Dylan decided to give the AMA Outdoors one more shot as a privateer. Unfortunately for him it was not exactly the season they were hoping for. So in true boomerang form, BAM!! In 2012, they headed right back up to Canada to compete in the MX2 series and he has been coming back ever since.
“It’s not complicated,” Dylan’s father stated. “We get great support from KTM Canada on bikes and parts. We try to finish in the top ten and collect contingency cash.” This past series was no different, KTM was offering support on a 450SXF, RTR Performance and Freedom Cycle offered travel support to the races and FXR was supplying the gear. The season started off pretty good in the west for Dylan, finishing consistently around the 10th to 12th mark each weekend. The main objective was to finish all the motos with no DNFs. The balance of the eastern series went pretty well; if his starts were 50% better I believe Dylan would be a solid top ten rider every moto. Just for fun I looked on the CMRC’s mxnationals.ca website at the results. After the first lap, Dylan was on average in or around 20th position every moto. His buddy, Kyle Keast, was no better and started approximately 16th on average every moto. If there was an award for who passed the most people in one moto, well that would go to both Schmoke and Keast. I then looked up results for Colton Facciotti and Brett Metcalfe. These guys are on average starting 3rd every moto. How is that for consistency!
I asked Dylan, “At the end of the day is it really worth coming up to race in Canada?” He looked at me and said, “Yes, and I really would like to come back in 2016. Finishing 9th overall on your own dollar is tough but I really hope to get a little more support for 2016.” He went on to explain that flying in from San Diego every weekend with his father, plus hotels, a rental car and food sure adds up quick. They figured it was costing them on average around $1500-$2500 per round over 10 rounds. Schmoke went on to say, “I was able to save on the budget by teaming up with Kyle Keast in the east coast. We get along really well. We usually end up battling most weekends during the races. I think it was a big help having another rider that I can learn from. Kyle is super motivated and has a solid program behind him. Keast’s girlfriend, Shandell, is a personal trainer so she made sure we were eating right and making sure we trained hard during the week. I don’t think I will miss that now that I’m back home. To be honest this is exactly what I needed in my program. I would like to team up with Keast again because I feel it really helped my overall results.”
Hard work and dedication gave Schmoke a solid top 10 finish in the 2015 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals, and with that under his belt, next on the schedule for Dylan is the Canadian Arenacross Series and the West Coast AMA Supercross Series. Once again it’s time to send our proposals and hope you can bring in enough cash to help pay the bills. With some return on that effort, we hope to see Dylan back again for the 2016 season.