Racer X: We’re T-minus eight days before the Motocross of Nations gets going over in England; you have to be getting psyched to head over there. Ryan Holliday: Yeah, it has definitely sunk in. We got all of our team gear; I got my team gear here in the office today. Just opening the package and seeing everything is real exciting, and to get to put that Team USA stuff on in a couple days and be over there working is going to be a lot of fun.
You’re not going to put the shirt and jacket on and run that around Pickerington, Ohio tonight? [Laughs] It’s been a little chilly lately, so I might sport that at TGI Fridays later!
So what is your official capacity, Ryan? I know you’re presently with the AMA, but you’re transitioning into a new gig with Kawasaki.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m moving over to Kawasaki here in the middle of October, and I’m real excited about that, but this is my last deal with the AMA. I committed to do this and I didn’t want to leave before this event. It’s important to the AMA and the country and to motocross fans all over the world that Team USA be at this event, and we just try to support the team the best we can. We act as a liaison between the promoter and the FIM and the riders and all the crew—just trying to get everything arranged with travel and hotels. We just try to support the team any way that we can.
I think you’re fortunate as far as this year goes because the event is in England, and that makes it a little easier. Yeah, exactly. And Donington Park is such a main facility there; it’s not like it’s off the beaten path. It’s a premier road race facility in England, so getting there is no problem. The accommodations around there are no problem; I think we’re less than five miles from the hotel and the track, so everything there is real easy. And Feld Entertainment Motor Sports has come on to sponsor and help the team this year, and they got a really good relationship with Donington Park, so we’ve been able to have good contact back and forth. So right now we’re just waiting, but everything seems ready to go.
Did you ever think back 10 years ago when you were just getting ready to start college, growing up around Pittsburgh, that you’d basically be the head delegate of Team USA at the Motocross of Nations?
No way, never in a thousand years that I would think I’d be in this position, but it’s really a dream come true, and that’s why I was so committed to stay on with the AMA through it. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to do this at 26-years-old is really awesome. Last year was my first time at the Motocross of Nations, and I didn’t want to go, to be truthful, just because I wanted my first time to be in Europe or a foreign country to get that feel of it. But last year at Budds Creek was unbelievable, and I can’t wait to get over to England.
You’ll find out that everyone that is an American kind of pulls together and suddenly people who were never teammates suddenly are teammates, and journalists start to get real partisan and so on and so forth. It happens with every nation there. But in your case, all three of these guys are Loretta Lynn’s graduates, so you’ve probably worked with them in the past through MX Sports, and all three are Kawasaki riders, so you’re going to work with them in the future.
Yeah, exactly. It’s been really good with Ryan, James and Timmy. I don’t think we could’ve had a better team this year. They’ve all been to the race before, both in America and overseas, and James had a perfect season and Ryan won his title again. So we’re 100 percent confident behind the team, and with Monster Kawasaki involved, it’s just a huge effort for them and they’ve really stepped up and they’re really anxious for it.
I know we have Roger DeCoster too as team manager, but between DeCoster, Stewart, Villopoto and Ferry, I am sure those guys are going to need some help, and you’ll be able to go on the track and say, “Guys, I think you need to line up here, and you need to go double-triple-triple over here.” You’re going to help direct them on where to go faster, right?
[Laughs] No, I think they have that part covered! No advice from our side. I think this is the one opportunity where they feel the AMA is on their side; hopefully they feel that the AMA is always on their side, that we’re not out to get them. We had an issue with James at Red Bud and he was kind of upset with us (for coming to the gate late and losing his pick) but we’re 100 percent behind our riders and teams, that’s what we’re there for.
I saw where Marc de Reuver posted some video of the track at Donington. It kind of looks like a big outdoor supercross track.
Yeah, we got DVDs of the race and made a bunch of copies and passed them out to all the riders and teams, but everyone was instantly inside their transporters watching it and saying “Wow, this is awesome for our guys.” I think they’re all really pumped to see the track. I read James’s interview on Racer X Online that he had been studying the DVD, and we know that he lays in bed at night and watches film, so you know our guys are going to be dialed in on a track like that. But pray for no rain—it looks good so far and hope it stays that way.
The rain could be an issue, that is no doubt. We will be watching on MediaZone. On behalf of all of the Team USA fans back here, go knock them out and enjoy the ride!
We appreciate all of the support and we have a lot of people behind us. The AMA, Kawasaki, Monster Energy, Feld Entertainment and Loretta Lynn’s have all been huge supporters this year, and we’re just ready to get over there and go racing.