Athlete Spotlight

Dylan Wright | October 7, 2016

By Dawn McClintock

 

Ottawa native, Dylan Wright had the ride of his career coming off the 2016 outdoor season and has his eye on the big prize for next year. We talked to Dylan in great detail about his program he had set up for going into the nationals and just what it takes to be a top runner in the chase for the podium.

dylanwrightstory-1400-1You took some big steps this year and were always moving forward and pushing for the podium and moto wins. Are you happy with your progression as a racer and how you managed the season?
Yes, for the race season I just wanted to keep getting faster and faster and keep on improving. The goal was to always better myself as a racer. Last year was another big step for me and I worked on my speed. Definitely I was happy with my speed, the start of the season was a little bit rough and I wasn’t too happy with how things in the west went. Moving forward to the east I kind of just put all that behind me and I had some really good motos and I won the first overall in the east coast so it definitely had good progression throughout the year. I feel if the west had have gone a little bit better it would have been a little bit of different story at the end of the season for me but it is what it is. I keep moving forward and even now I’m still working on next year and getting faster and making that next step. That’s what I want to do. That’s one of the reasons why I went down to to the states was to race against faster guys because throughout my whole career, all I’ve wanted to do was race faster guys because that betters myself as a rider. That’s something I’m going to do more in the future as well is go down to the states a little bit more.
dylanwrightstory-2
Your fitness level looked solid this year and you set some pretty fast lap times later in the motos. Tell us a bit about your program you had with Allan Brown down in California?
I stayed with Allan in California and we had a good training program going. We worked a lot on lap times. I can’t thank Matt (Goerke) enough for training with me. I learned so much from him. Just chasing him around the track was a lot of fun and I can’t thank him enough for being my training partner during the winter. I think it worked out for both of us and we both progressed pretty good last winter. Also my trainer from back home I can’t thank enough either. I spent hours and hours in the gym trying to better my fitness and he’s got me on a pretty solid program throughout the whole year, I mean it’s not just the months leading up to the season, it’s what you do year long and with that you prep your body for the races on the weekend. He’s done a great job. I’ve been working with him since I was eight years old. It’s been a while and he knows me and he knows what makes me click and what makes be better fitness-wise and he knows where I need to be. So I can’t thank Rob Mouland at Fitquest enough. He is also a trainer for the Ottawa Sens. When he was in university he used come over to my house and he would set me up with programs.
16_ulverton_jl_1895

James Lissimore photo

Starts were something you really nailed down this season. Do you feel like you gained a lot working on things like starts with Allan?
That was for sure one of my weak points last year a little bit. I struggled with starts. It was something I always needed to work on. My starts have never been the best. So I knew that last winter, if I wanted to run up front with the faster guys, I knew I had to get better starts. It’s hard to catch them throughout the moto when they are going fast and it’s easier to start up front with them. So this winter, pretty much everytime I went riding, we worked on starts and different techniques. Some would work for me and Matt helped me out a lot with starts and we did a bunch together. Then we set up a motor package a little bit more for starts with Allan, testing with him in Cali. Everytime we would make a change we would have to do four or five starts to make sure the bike was also good off the start, not just on the track so that was huge thing and my starts have improved. I’m still working on them because you can always get better when it comes to that stuff. It’s something I always work on when I go to the track. I always take a half an hour out of my day to practice starts. It’s a big thing as a racer.
2016 CMRC Canadian Motocross Series Whispering Pines Raceway Kamloops, British Columbia June 5, 2016

James Lissimore photo

What other preparation did you do before the season started and how did you step it up as the season moved on?
We trained during the week as well. I started good at the first moto in Kamloops and then it kind of went downhill from there. One of the things was just staying positive and keep grinding during the week and trying to better myself. Towards the end you kind of peter off the hard training because of all your motos and stuff throughout the year. For the east coast I kind of maybe rode two days a week and did a little off-bike training. I mostly rested and got ready for the next weekend. I was pretty excited once the east rounds came after our little break. I’m more familiar with the east coast tracks and I’ve raced here a bit more throughout my amateur career. After doing well at Gopher, I kind of got more confidence and I kept going with that. The win at Ulverton was great and that kind of kept me moving forward. It is easier to do the work during the week when you do good on the weekend.
dsc_6507

Allison Kennedy photo

Your corner speed seems like it improved considerably this year. Did riding with Jimmy Decotis last year help with that because he’s crazy fast in the turns?
For me you just bring it back to the basics and you start from there. I have a specific turn track at home that has no jumps on it. You bring it back to the house and you work on that stuff. At home where no one is around you can kind of just do it by yourself. Who cares if you fall down or you blow a corner. You really just push yourself to that next limit on that corner track at home and working with Matt in Cali as well was great. I mean you watch him go through a corner and argueably he’s one of the best in the world so that always helps. With Jimmy we had a lot of fun riding together last year and he definitely helped me out a little bit moving forward into this year so it was pretty cool working with him and working with Matt this winter. I think that definitely helped me but bringing it back to the basics at home to where I started was pretty fun as well. There’s nobody but my dad out here yelling at me [laughs]. It really brings it back to where I started and I think that definitely helps too.
16_calgary_jl_0807

James Lissimore photo

What was the team culture like in and around the trailer at the races? All of you guys seem to get along pretty well.
It was one of the coolest vibes. Everybody gets along and all we want to do is race and it’s what we have fun doing. In the pit it was a lot of fun and Kevin is a great dude and Johnny is a great dude too. They keep it fun under the tent. I like to keep it fun under the tent as well. I think that’s kind of why we worked out so well. We take it seriously but then we can also joke around with each other. If someone is having a bad day we can charge everybody back up so everyone is in a good mood. It’s a lot better day when everyone is having fun.
2016 CMRC Canadian Motocross Series Whispering Pines Raceway Kamloops, British Columbia June 5, 2016

James Lissimore photo

Every season has it’s challenges with some bad motos, set up issues etc., yet you guys were able to get stronger as the season progressed. What helped you step it up?
Out west we struggled a bit. I hurt my foot at Nanaimo. You push through that stuff and we just kept making changes and trying some different stuff out. In between Gopher and Ulverton, Allan stayed up here and we did a bunch of testing, motor-wise. I think that definiately helped as well. Just kind of trying some different stuff out and seeing where we could make better changes. Some of the stuff we tried worked. You’ve got to be a little careful especially mid-season but we definitely made progression with the bikes. Also with my riding throughout the season, more time on the bikes, more practice. That obviously helps as well and that confidence during the week and that’s why I definitely feel we progressed throughout the season.
16_deschambault_jl_1199

James Lissimore photo

What’s the situation like around the trailer when the emotions are high and who’s the calming voice of reason and motivator on the team?
That definitely would be Kevin. He understands racing. He’s been racing all his life so he understands what we are going through if we have a bad moto. He comes over and he gives us a little pep talk. He always stresses that we always have the next moto or the next weekend to get better. Also my girlfriend. When I have a bad moto, man I hear about it! [laughs] She kind of puts me back in my place and tells me to focus on the next moto. She may say, “yah you may have sucked in that moto and may have made too many mistakes but there’s always the next one”. Her and Kevin are always there to get me back on track.
wright_bd5d5246

Brown Dog Wilson photo

You got to race your first AMA National. It looked super muddy and the track seemed really technical and one lined. You qualified 3rd which definitely got everyone’s attention. What was it like having the chance to race an AMA National? 
Oh it was fun. Yeah, I can’t thank my team enough for letting me bring my bike down to to ride it. Allan Brown flew up and was my mechanic. He showed me a little bit of the ropes and how the AMA stuff works. I told him I was going to go send it on the first lap I can. [laughs] That’s when I did my good time. It was a pretty cool atmosphere there as well. I tried not to get too nervous. Lining up beside all he factory guys was a little bit of a change. In Canada we’ve got our fast guys but we’re lining up with a ton of them down there. It’s a little bit of a different story. I was super happy with my starts as well. I got two great starts and I ended up going down twice in the first moto. I was kind of riding a little bit unlike myself, so for the second moto I kind of just took a deep breath and rode like I knew I could. I ended up riding a lot better that moto so that was good for me. The track was definitely gnarly and technical. It was a learning curve for me and it helped me know what I need to practice on to get myself to a level like they ride. It’s definitely eye opening and I had a lot of fun doing it. It was a great experience and I hope to do a lot more of them in the future.
wright_bd5d5589

Brown Dog Wilson photo

How did the day go and how did it compare to a Canadian National?
It’s insane! I was going around the track and people were blowing air horns and it kind of startles you a bit the first couple of laps. It’s like ‘holy sh@t, this guy’s on the track and you can’t hear your bike any more’. All you hear is the air horns. It’s kind of different. I yard saled off the big triple step-up and everybody was going crazy. [laughs] It’s a little bit longer moto than we have too.
2016 CMRC Canadian Motocross Series Motocross Deschambault Deschambault, Quebec August 7, 2016

James Lissimore photo

You and Cole Thompson had a few good head-to-head races this year and you beat him fair and square a few times. How do you feel emotionally when you are behind someone on the track, or are behind going into a moto? 
Obviously we had a little bit of conflict there, more towards the end of the season. I mean I respect him as a rider. When I was beside him, it is what it is. There’s a rough end to racing and you kind of expect a bit of that. He’s got a lot more experience racing pro than I do. So I can learn a little from riding behind him and him being so smooth and stuff. Definitely when I’m behind him, I don’t want to be behind him too long. I just want to get by. The conflict is good because you want to beat him even more. At the end of the season you don’t just focus on him. If the chance is there, I’m motivated to get by him.
16_deschambault_jl_1189

James Lissimore photo

You’ve progressed a lot over the these past two seasons and are clearly a serious championship contender going next year. What are your goals?
I want to better myself this winter and progress more as a rider and maybe make a few steps forward. Going into next year just not make the same kind of mistakes that I made this year. My goal is to win this championship for sure. I’m going to win as many races as I can and kind of prove maybe I’m the guy next to beat. There’s going to be some quick guys, there’s no doubt about that. Just try and progress as a racer and keep getting quicker. That’s what I want to do.
dylan-kid-one

Courtesy of the Wright family

What was your first bike and where was your first race?
My first bike actually was an XR 50 when I was four years old. So I rode that around the house for a little bit and my first race was at Rideau Carlton Raceway which isn’t there any more. It’s at the horse racing track. Kevin and Johnny used to run a race there. So that was my first ever race. I’m sure I was on the XR 50 in the 4-6 class and I think I got third. That’s kind of where it all started and then I started racing a little more competitively after that. I went to Walton the following year. Then I moved to KTM 50s and 65s and it kind of just took off after that.
dylan-kid-two

Courtesy of the Wright family

Who did you have helping you out in the early years of your racing career?
I did a few schools with Kevin and MX101 and those guys. Actually my first ever moto was with a guy named Dave Cherry. He used to be one of the instructors at the school with MX101. I did a few of those schools but mostly it was my dad and I. He built me two tracks at the house. I had those to ride on and I just loved riding my dirt bike. My dad helped me with what he could. He never really raced but he used to watch videos and read a lot of stuff about pros and what they should do. My dad and I used to work together just at the farm and that’s pretty much how I got to where I am today. I can’t thank him enough for all the hours he spent wrenching on my bikes and teaching me the stuff that I needed to know. I just love riding my dirt bike. I put so many hours on my bikes. When I started growing up, Kevin started helping me a lot and giving me some instruction on what to do. I can’t thank MX101 and my parents enough. They have really got me to where I am today and I have to say thanks to them for sure.
16_walton_jl_5619

James Lissimore photo

Who did you look up to as a kid?
That would definitely be Tyler Medaglia. As a kid I used to idolize him. He was the fast pro in the area and he did very well. I idolize him still. I mean obviously he is a great racer and I still have his jersey up in my room. That’s kind of where my first amateur number came from. When he turned pro, I took his amateur number. He’s a guy that I looked up to and still look up to.
2016 CMRC Canadian Motocross Series River Glade MX Moncton, New Brunswick July 31, 2016

James Lissimore photo

What does it mean for you to be a part of a good team like MX101 and how does that help elevate your game?
It’s awesome to be part of such a great team with such great people around me. There are some other great teams out there as well. Just being part of MX101, I kind of grew up with those guys and they know me best. They’re definitely pushing me to get better because they want to see me succeed. That’s what’s kind of cool, they want to stick with me and they want me to succeed as a racer. I almost look at Kevin as like a fatherly figure to me a little bit. Just because he’s been with me for so many years. There’s some ups and downs as well, but theyre a great team. The atmosphere that they have under the tent is awesome. They are always pushing me to move forward and the supply me with everything I need which is really good. Moving forward, it’s pretty cool to be on a good team like those guys. If they have an issue they address it straight forward with us. Which is pretty good. You never have to worry about what they are thinking because they tell you. They are straight up and they tell you what they can do and that’s what they can do for me. They even do a little bit more.
16_barrie_jl_2604

James Lissimore photo

Thanks for taking time to talk with us Dylan and congratulations on a great season. Who would you like to thank?
I can’t thank my mom and dad and my girlfriend enough for all they do for me. My parents work their butt off to get me to where I am today, buying bikes for me. My grandparents and my cousins all support me 100%. Anything I need, they are always there. It’s definitely very cool to have your whole family backing you and they show up at the races. Also I can’t thank my team enough either, MX101, FXR, Yamaha, Rockstar Energy, Jonas Construction, R&R Automation, SSS Suspension, Allan Brown MX, GYTR, Dunlop Tires, 6D Helmets, Decal Works, Forma Boots, Atlas Brace, Matrix Concepts, FMF, TwinAir, TM Designworks, Cycra, RK, Exel, Mechanics Wear, Ride Engineering, 100%, Works Connection, CL Brakes, Motorex, VP Racing Fuels, Renthal, Nihilo Concepts, Evans Coolant, Cometic Gasket.
16_deschambault_jl_2451

James Lissimore photo