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Monday Conversation II: Ricky Dietrich

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Saturday night, at the final round of the GEICO Endurocross Series held in the Orleans Hotel and Casino here in Las Vegas, there were a few pre-race favorites. For one, there was KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak, who had won every round of the series but one, and then there was trials god Geoff Aaron who was the only rider to defeat Taddy earlier this year. And don’t forget Mike Brown, the former 125 National Champion (who was two seconds faster than anyone else in practice, and was the heat-one winner). But not too many counted on the guy with the number-one plate. In his last ride with the number, Washington State’s Ricky Dietrich showed that he hadn’t forgotten how to ride rocks, logs, water, cars (yes, I said cars), and massive tires, as he grabbed the lead early from Aaron and checked out for the win. Despite missing some races due to injury and WORCS race conflicts, Dietrich finished eighth in the overall standings and leaves ready to challenge and try to re-claim that number-one plate next year. I caught up with RD on Sunday to get his recollections of the event.

  • The Las Vegas Endurocross was Dietrich's last chance to run the number one plate in 2009.
Racer X: Ricky, good job last night and can you tell us about it?
Ricky Dietrich: Yeah, last night’s race in Vegas went great for me. I mean, it went pretty much picture-perfect, and after my lackluster season in Endurocross this year, it was nice to win one. I’m bummed that I couldn’t defend my number-one plate, but I definitely wanted to go out with a win and show everyone that if it wasn’t for the injuries, I would have been a factor all season long. This was my first race back at 100 percent. I didn’t do the last round because of the WORCS race, but this one, I was ready to give it my all.

You had a nice race with Geoff Aaron out there and it looked to me that your moto skills were coming into play because you were pulling away in the bermed corner before the big tire jump as well as jumping into and out of the water jump. You were very aggressive.
Yeah, that’s exactly where I was going well. The moto skills, being aggressive and being on the throttle real quick helped me win the race. Especially when you’re going against a guy like Geoff Aaron who’s a great rider but comes from a trials background. He goes out there and doesn’t have the race mentality. When we race against those guys, we can find our way around them by being aggressive.

It was almost not to be for you, as in the heat race, when in qualifying position, your chain fell off and you DNF’d on the last lap. What happened there?
I don’t know. I stalled it while I was in the lead, but still got going in the transfer position, so that was fine. Then, on the last lap, I jumped in there and hit something and the chain came off. I tried to put it back on and actually thought I had, but when I jumped on, it came off again. It wasn’t on and slipped back off and then it was jammed up all in the shifter and we pushed it off. That was a bummer but that’s the stuff that happens in Endurocross.

  • Ricky really got his name out there this summer with some impressive rides as a Monster Energy Kawasaki stand-in.
Well, it has to be nerve-wracking because then you line up for the semi and they take the winner only. I mean, one mistake on yours or someone else’s part and you’re not making the main again. That’s got to be stressful.
Oh yeah, it is. It’s so hard to make it into the main event in the Endurocrosses, and so few riders actually make the final, that it’s a fine line for sure. It’s tough; first or second in the heat, one in the semi and one in the LCQ makes it tough and leaves you no room for mistakes.

Did you see that commotion with Taddy on the first lap going down and the pack looking like it ran him over?
Oh yeah, I did. I’m the one that knocked him down! In that section, there was the line that all of us were taking where you swung around an inside log and made the turn. Or you could cut it short and wheelie over the log. So I was coming up the inside of the tire section and he was on my left. He decided to try and make the very inside and hop the log. He hit the brakes and cut right in front of me, and I had no choice but to plow into him. It wasn’t intentional at all, I had nowhere to go. I think his knee was hurt after that, so we came into the rock turn and there were people everywhere. I had to actually go off the track to get around everyone and looked up and I was in second. I was like, sweet!

What were your thoughts on the track in Las Vegas?
The track was good. It had its usual stuff like the rock turns and the logs and tires. They brought in some beat-up cars and that was cool. That was unique, for sure. The pond was cool because it wasn’t full of water and we didn’t get soaked. You could double in and then double out, which was fun.

So what’s your take on your year? Your real off-road career didn’t go that great but then the moto-career thing probably went better than you could have ever thought.
I was talking with my trainer Ryan Hughes about that actually and we talked about how it was a huge, huge learning year for me. It was about my riding, how I take my racing career as a job and things like that. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I’m getting top fives in motocross and living the dream as a factory rider, and then two weeks later I’m on the couch with a broken foot and can’t do anything. It was tough. It had its absolute highlights and some of the biggest downers as well. No complaints from me, I still had the best year of my career.

  • Endurocross courses have some very unique obstacles, like these massive tires.
  • Rcky Dietrich celebrates going out with a bang.
So what’s the plan for 2010?
I re-signed with Kawasaki again for one more year of WORCS and Endurocross. I’ll be doing the same stuff that I did this year and hopefully I’ll be able to do a couple of motocross nationals and a couple of supercrosses. I hope it leads to selected events and things like that where I can go and have some fun. We’ll see how it all turns out.

I know you were talking about trying to go to supercross/motocross full-time, was there some talks with anyone about that? How close did that come to happening?
I thought about it but honestly I thought it was too early. I didn’t want to jump into it right away. I need more supercross experience before I do that. I need to get a whole season of working on it and if I can do the same thing I did this year, next year, it should be good. Just more experience is all I need, really, so right now the unofficial plan is to try and get a moto ride in 2011.

Hey, you ran #539 last year and earned 39 this year, so I think you made the greatest drop in national numbers since Mike Kiedrowski went from 762 to 1. Congrats on that.
Oh yeah, I dropped 500 numbers!

Thanks and who do you want to thank?
Monster Energy Kawasaki, Moose, Dunlop, Shoei, Scott, CTI, IMS, Motion Pro, Ryno Organics, Rockwell Watches and JR Publications.
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