Luke Renzland had the bulls-eye on his back at Loretta’s last week. A year after capturing the 450 A title—and nearly turning pro after—Renzland was back at the Ranch to defend his title. Renzland won two of three motos to top Chris Alldredge, and is now headed to Unadilla to make his pro debut under the CycleTrader.com Rock River Yamaha tent. We caught up with him after the awards ceremony to talk about his new deal, Unadilla, and more.
Racer X: Big week for you, as you were able to defended your title. How’d everything go?
Luke Renzland: Yeah, definitely. I came into this week with a lot of pride, rocking the number 1 in the 450 A. I just want to do everything I could to defend that title. I worked hard all year for it. I didn’t want to let that thing go this week. I’m definitely happy with my rides. I started off a little rough in the first moto, some bad starts, but I turned that around at the end of the week and improved a lot on my starts. I was one of the strongest guys on the track for sure and came out with the title in 450 A and second place overall in 250 A.
Last year everybody thought you were going to go pro after Loretta’s, and then you made the late decision to come back another year. You got to be happy with it, coming back down and getting another title.
Definitely. Last year after my title, we kind of expected the phone to ring. So, we held off from Unadilla. We didn’t want to ruin any opportunities of going pro too early. The phone never really rang, so we decided to come back again with better conditions this year, no mud or anything; the whole industry’s here. I was able to land myself a bike to ride for the last three outdoors. I couldn’t be more happy.
You did; you got that deal. You will be riding for CycleTrader.com Rock River Yamaha for the last three Nationals. Talk about how that deal came about. You guys actually signed it down here, correct?
Yeah, absolutely. We were talking to Christina [Denney, Rock River team manager] and Mike [Duclos] over at Rock River this week. They’ve been happy with my riding since I turned A. I originally turned A in 2011 on Rock River Yamaha. So we’ve had a pretty tight relationship with them, and once they saw my riding this week, they wanted to give me the opportunity to put me on a bike and let me ride the last three outdoors. But nothing’s signed for next year yet. I still have an open place for 2015. I just want to show my best rides at Unadilla and see how it goes at the last three.
Will you be 250 or 450?
I’ll be in the 250 Class.
You have a clean slate for next year. What do you think you need to do to get your name even more recognized other than winning titles here?
I just need to go into the last three strong and open-minded, not with too much pressure on me, and show that I can ride thirty plus two, two motos, on each Saturday strong and smooth, and place myself near the top ten. The goal is definitely going to be top fifteen in every moto for me right now. Just kind of get some experience under my belt before we move into supercross.
Was it a little different riding with that #1 plate? You essentially had a bulls-eye on your back.
Definitely. It takes a lot of pride to run that fat number 1. I could have applied for a forty-three, my number I always ran since I’ve grown up, but I wanted to come here and kind of make a statement that I won last year, and I still didn’t really get an opportunity to go pro. I just wanted everyone to recognize that I was here last year and won, and thankfully I defended it again.
Last year was the mudder kind of race. Do you think you’ve kind of validated your title last year here, coming again and proving this wasn’t a fluke last year?
Definitely. It was an awesome week. I couldn’t be more happy with our decision to stay amateur one more year. To come here and show everyone that I can do it rain or shine, I feel great about my results and my riding this week. My fitness was great. I just can’t wait for Unadilla.