AURORA, Ill., (Jan. 18, 2007) – Some of the young fans of Toyota AMA Arenacross Series may not really realize it, but when privateer Robbie Reynard (Reynard Modifications/Honda) boots up and takes to the track, they’re seeing a giant in the sport whose great career spans more than three decades of top flight motocross, supercross and arenacross racing.
Heralded as one of the greatest amateur racers of all time, Reynard was a “can’t miss” prospect when he turned pro in 1993. Picked up by Factory Kawasaki, Reynard paid instant dividends by winning the 125cc class at the Steel City National in his first season, then going on to win the AMA’s Rookie of the Year award for ’93.
All totaled Reynard would stand atop the podium at the Nationals five times, and his three 125 wins at Steel City (Delmont, Pa.) in the 1990s were the most by any rider during that decade. He scored numerous podium finishes on the AMA Supercross Series tour throughout the ‘90s as well.
His career enters yet another era of racing and he’s currently in 4th place overall in the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series, well within shouting distance of overall points leader Danny Smith. Reynard’s done so well this year with his privateer Honda effort, putting his CRF450R on top of the AMA Arenacross class main event box three times – more than any other rider.
One constant in Reynard’s career, is that his Dad, Robert Sr., has always worked as his mechanic. Through factory jobs with Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda, Reynard Sr., who now owns Reynard Modifications (MX suspension company), has been there with his son through thick and thin, exciting wins and heart-felt losses, sunny days and mudders, icy cold conditions at northern supercross races and thousands upon thousands of hours of training and testing. The Reynards’ father/son relationship has been one like no other in the motocross industry.
To better tell their story his sister, Cherie Kobiske, “Robbie’s sister” helped line up an interview. Definitely one of Reynard’s biggest supporters, Cherie tracked down her brother and Dad with a few questions regarding this year’s Toyota AMA Arenacross Series and more.
Question: Robbie, you got off to a tough start on Friday in Des Moines and didn't even qualify. The next night you came ripping back in a big way, winning the Saturday night AMA Arenacross class main event. Since then your season's been good, probably not as good as you'd like, but for a privateer effort, it's been real good. Talk about the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series season thus far.
Robbie Reynard: “The series has been up and down for me. The last two races have been terrible, and I am hoping it will turn around for the better from here.”
Question: You've been racing pro since 1993 and were one of the most decorated amateurs of your time – coming out winning some Outdoor National races right out of the gate. You did well in supercross, until an injury set you back for a season in the early 1990s. Discuss what role arenacross will play when someone sits down a number of years from now to write the ‘Robbie Reynard Story.’
Reynard: “Arenacross is letting me have a lot of fun and has been a good change for me winning races again. It has given me that feeling I haven't had in a long time with racing.”
Question: People probably tell you this all the time, but you're really fortunate to have a father that's involved to the extent your dad is with your racing career. Knowing father/son relationships and how they go, what are the benefits and drawbacks to having your dad involved to the extent your dad is?
Reynard: “A disadvantage is he is cranky! (laughing) He is a typical dad who knows everything and isn't afraid to be honest with me. He knows what should be done and that sometimes is impossible. But the advantages are much better. He knows me and knows what I can do. I trust him and his work completely. I know he only does things to help me succeed. Plus, he drives the truck back and forth from the races to Oklahoma each weekend.”
Robert Reynard Sr.: “The benefits for our team is I get to go to all the races and watch my son race. I know him and can read what is going on with him on the track or at the truck. I usually know what he will want changed on the bike before he even comes in. The drawbacks are that it is sometimes hard to say the things that I would like to say to him (or should), because he is my son, so I take a walk to cool off. Oh and I work and drive for free (laughing) - that is a pretty big disadvantage. And I am away from business a lot.”
Question: Do you realize how important these years will be to you ten, 20, 30 years after your racing career is over?
Reynard: “Yes, I am just having fun right now and that is all that matters.”
Reynard Sr.: “I will be dead by then!” (laughing)
Question: Looking at you standing next to Danny Smith and one gets the idea of a lineman/quarterback relationship in terms of your size different. You're a big dude. Talk of the advantages and disadvantages physical size plays into racing Toyota AMA Arenacross Series.
Reynard: “The advantage to my size is that I think it makes the guys think twice about hitting me. The disadvantage is it can be a bit slower to get going, since I have so much more weight on them, but I seem to still get a start here and there so I guess it is not that bad.”
Question: You've seen the competition. You've beat the competition. What's your game plan for the title chase as we head into the second half of the season?
Reynard: “I need to go out there and start winning some races or there is no title.”
Question: If you could have anything from the factory Honda team for your bike, what would it be?
Reynard: “I am not real sure. At this point nothing - my bike is running great. Reynard Modifications has my bike running fast, almost too fast at times. I might ask for some extra parts or a spare bike for practicing at home.”
Reynard Sr: “The ignition or money!”
For more information on Robbie Reynard, including some cool “RR #17” T-shirts, and the motorcycle services that Robert Sr. and Reynard Modifications offers, check out their website at www.reynardmodifications.com
For more information regarding the racing coming to Dayton (Ohio) and Pikesville (Ky.) this weekend, the current series’ point standings and results, or the latest news on the series are all available at www.arenacross.com.