Wright Out of the Gate – Deschambault

After this past weekend’s results, I wasn’t sure what I had to talk about or if I even wanted to write this blog. After getting decent results in the West, I was sitting in the top 10 and was healthy coming back to the East. That’s where I wanted to be. I (and most people around me) had high expectations about how I would do coming back to the race tracks I’m familiar with and have had past success with. Well … it turns out … things started going in the opposite direction. Rather than looking up … it seems to me that things have been going downhill.

It’s easy to talk about stuff when things are going well. It’s a whole lot harder to tell you about my racing when things aren’t going so well. I’ve been told by lots of people this would be a learning year. Well … at this point … I’m not quite sure what the lesson is supposed to be. Whatever it is … it’s a tough one!

If the lesson is supposed to be about learning how to deal with challenges … I thought 12 years of amateur racing and Walton Transcans before I achieved the results I knew I was capable of, taught me how to deal with mechanical issues, injuries, personal rider errors and the impact of another rider’s errors. So if these types of challenges don’t change when you move to the pros … what’s so different then?

Well … for starters … there’s the number of riders at the gate who are as fast or faster than I am every time I line up to race. There’s also the level of aggressive riding you encounter on the track; it’s bumped up a notch when people are racing for pay cheques, rather than trophies. Then, there’s the track conditions. While I had raced on a lot of the tracks on the pro national circuit in the East, the way the berms, ruts and rhythm sections develop on a pro national race day somehow are nothing like what you get during an amateur race day. Finally, there is a contract that comes with equipment that is no longer stock and becomes high-performance. This part is really awesome. But while these help achieve the speed to compete with the top riders, I’m also learning that there are challenges and demands associated with those too.

Being on a pro team, pitted in front of the big rig alongside some of the best riders is Canada, is what I’ve dreamed of for many years! I’m so very grateful for the opportunity the Yamaha Team has provided me with. After 7 pro national rounds, I have to say that being on a pro team is very cool … but not everything about it is exactly what I expected. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I got the reality check.

Motocross is an individual sport. You’ve probably heard lots of racers say “There are no friends on the track.” What you may not hear very often is that, despite all the people involved in a team or who are at the track, a racer often feels very alone … especially when things aren’t going as well as everyone would like. A lot of us have been dealing with issues. Just look at each week’s results to see how other rookies and top veteran riders have had their share of DNFs, crashes and other issues to deal with.

Whether or not people intend to, as a rider you feel the pressure to perform. When you don’t live up to the expectations, people are looking for someone or something to blame. As the rider, you can’t help thinking or feeling like the finger is pointed at you.

It’s hard to maintain your confidence and optimism week after week when you don’t achieve the results you feel you need. You start to wonder about whether or not you’re making the right decisions, about whether or not you and your bike will make it to the end of the race, about what other riders are going to do on the track. You also start to worry about whether or not your fans, your team and your supporters will continue to believe in you.

As you get to know some of the riders on the pro circuit, you also start to see people’s true colours as the season enters the final stretch. Some meet or exceed your expectations or are a really pleasant surprise. Some prove to be as great off the track as they are on the track. Then … there are others who shatter your image of them and prove to be a disappointment.

As a pro, you’re expected to work with the good and the bad. I get it! I’m ready to continue to do what it takes to become a champion one day. Fortunately, I have people in my corner who are supporting me through the good and the bad … not just when things are going well. To those people, I say a big thank you and will continue to work my butt off to get the kind of results I know I am capable of. As for the rest, I’m trying to follow the advice to take away whatever feedback can be useful to work my way to a win and discard the rest. Here’s hoping for good results at Riverglade!