5 Minutes with... Tyler Medaglia

December 10, 2008 4:57pm
Suzuki OTSFF’s Tyler Medaglia has it made. The 21-year-old has a Canadian factory ride, a cute girlfriend, supportive family, and a brand new Dodge Ram pickup truck. Oh, and unlike many of us Canucks, he doesn’t have to put up with the harsh Canadian winter; he just rips down to the Georgia Practice Facility when the snow starts falling. Yes, it must be nice.

He deserves it though. After becoming one of
Canada’s greatest amateur racers, the Kemptville, Ontario kid suffered some serious injuries early in his pro career, one of which nearly left him in a wheelchair. Like many racers, he persevered through the pain, got some results, and eventually earned a ride with OTSFF in 2007. Medaglia now has two Montreal Supercross wins in the MX2 class, MX1 national wins, and several podiums to his credit. He’s even scored points at some U.S. nationals. We caught up with the Canadian #3 plate holder to see what’s up.
  • Tyler Medaglia
  • Tyler Medaglia
Racer X: Tyler, what’s going on? Why are you not down in Georgia soaking up the sun?
Tyler Medaglia: I just got back from Georgia. I was there for a month. I’m doing some schools with Derek Schuster at the indoor track in Tillsonburg [Ontario]. So I came back for that and I just bought a truck.

You bought a truck?
[Laughs] Yeah.

What kind?
A Dodge Ram. It’s brand new.

Man, it must be nice! Factory rider, new trucks, traveling all over the country….
[Laughs] Yeah, things are going all right. I wanted to get some property but I needed a vehicle first.

Property, too. You’ve put away a little money, have you?
I’ve put a bit away, yeah. I’m good with my money. I saved up quite a bit this year and I got a good deal on the truck, so….

What’s the scene like at GPF right now? Who is staying there and who are you riding with?
I went there kind of early, but the usual people are there—Josh Woods, Chad Charbonneau, the Sewell brothers, Kelly Smith, and then you get guys like Ben Townley showing up once in a while. This year, there are lot more amateurs with full memberships.

What’s that like being at the same track as those guys? Do you guys ride with each other or do your own thing?
We all kind of ride together. We try to ride at the same time and do some sprints and motos. Everybody pushes each other and we have fun. You’re more motivated when training groups and it’s easier to pull yourself out of bed in the morning. Sometimes you do it by yourself, and it’s been good with my brother, Jeremy, there. We can push each other and ride and train even if the other guys don’t feel like it.

I know when my brother and I used to ride together it would end up turning into a race. Do you ever find yourself getting into a heated battle with any of those guys?
Yeah, sometimes. We do motos together and we usually start the fastest guys at the back. That way, you’re always coming through the pack. On the outdoor track, there aren’t a whole lot of people on 450s. The supercross track is fun because we’re all friends and bump into each other and stuff.

  • Tyler Medaglia
  • Tyler Medaglia
You sound like you’re sick.
Oh, I just woke up. I played indoor soccer last night. It’s through my mom’s work and my brother and his buddy and I play. We go into Ottawa and play. 

I wanted to ask you what keeps you busy when the snow starts falling, thinking maybe you snowboard or play hockey, but you’re into soccer, that’s cool.
It’s pretty good for staying in shape. I just started playing. I normally go snowboarding and mess around or go to the gym. It’s nice to switch things up a little bit though.

What’s going on for you once the New Year comes? I go back down south on January 6. I’m going to race some Winter Ams and supercrosses on the 450. I raced a Winter Am before and won the 250F class. [Mike] Alessi is supposed to be racing them too. I’m going to do Texas, I think, and Jacksonville, Georgia and Toronto. I’m going to ride outdoors a lot, too, so I can charge on the supercross track and get my fitness up. I’ve changed some things with my setup and I’m riding way better than I ever have.

Why the switch from the 250F to 450F in supercross? Just because I feel that I can get a good start in the 450 class. In the U.S., in the Lites class, the 250Fs that they have are so competitive. I’ve always rode the 450 better than the 250 anyways, so it suits me better. I didn’t really know until I got to Montreal and I found that I rode the big bike really well indoors. It’s easier to stick with the one bike for the year too.

Have you seen the new Destroyer Films DVD, Crossing the Line, yet?
No, they’re supposed to send me a copy.

I got mine last week. They did a great job—and you’re on the cover!
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s so bad!

This past year was a big one for you. What do you think was the best moment or best race for you?
I had a few good memories. Winning at Gopher Dunes was really good; winning Montreal again on the 250F and getting the fastest lap time on both bikes was awesome; and, of course, riding for Team Canada at the Motocross of Nations was pretty big.

So with your boss, Andre Laurin, owning a snocross team, why aren’t you racing a sled during the winter?
He wants to keep me away from that, from doing the double thing. He said he’s thought about it, but prefers me sticking to the bikes.

  • Tyler Medaglia
  • Tyler Medaglia
How is the family doing? Did your dad get a deer this fall? He missed a huge one, he says. Actually, I think he’s hunting right now; he’s not in the house. My dad has been working on a lot of bikes and storing some stuff at our place, and my mom is working because she is sick of being in the house all of the time. My brother [Jeremy] is still in Georgia. He comes back on the 15th I think.

What are your thoughts on the Canadian National schedule next year? No Quebec round, and we’re going to Kamloops instead of Nanaimo in BC.
I like the Kamloops deal way better than Nanaimo. I sucked at Nanaimo; that’s my worst track. Eight rounds is dumb—the best tracks in Canada are in Quebec. I don’t know why … we should be going there. It’s too bad, because they have so many good tracks. Like Deschambault, that track should be on the national schedule. Ulverton was awesome, too, but they don’t race there anymore. Ste-Julie was one of my favourites too. I think the series needs at least nine rounds.

What are your thoughts on racing in Canada? Anything you see that could be changed?
Uh, I think it’s really good. The racing is awesome and the tracks get better every year. I hope that we can still go to Quebec for the nationals. I know there are some differences between the CMRC and Quebec. There are good tracks there and I’d hate not to race there at the nationals. But every year it gets better; more sponsors, more riders and more fans. The economy is bad right now but they’re trying to accommodate that by starting out west. It’s more straight-forward than ping-ponging across the country. I really have fun racing in Canada.

Tyler, do you have a goal of racing full-time in the U.S.? If so, what do you think you need to do to make it happen? I definitely do want to make a run at it. Getting third last year, I want to win a championships up here. I want to, of course, but we’ll how this season goes. I want to get that championship and then go down. I know I have the speed; I ran top-10 lap times at Southwick and Red Bud. It was my first year on the 450 last year, so I need to get stronger and some more experience on the big bike.

That’s good to hear, Tyler. It’s always nice to have some Canadians to watch down south. Have a good Christmas!
Thanks, you too.