- Career: 1999-Present
- DOB: 08/12/1981
- Height: 5’ 9”
- Weight: 160 lbs.
- Birthplace: Albuquerque, NM, United States
- Residence: Murrieta, CA
- Team: Dodge/Hart & Huntington
- Team Manager: Kenny Watson
- Mechanic: Tony Berluti
#9Ivan TedescoIvan Tedesco's Website
When Ivan turned pro in 1999, he was about to embark on a journey that has often since been overlooked. He started as a full-fledged privateer and slowly worked his way further and further up. He scored his first satellite team ride with Plano Honda for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. His speed indoors got him an impressive fifth overall in the ’01 125 West Coast Supercross series as well as some much-needed attention.
Ivan moved up a rung of the ladder when he signed to ride with the Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy team for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He finished strong in the 125 West Supercross series again, this time holding down third at the conclusion of the series. In his last year with the Boost Mobile team, he took a small step backwards in the supercross series due to injury, but did win a race on a YZ125 two-stroke. He made it through the grueling 125 outdoor series with a solid eighth overall, proving that he was a legitimate threat outdoors as well as in the stadiums. His results with Yamaha of Troy caught the eye of Pro Circuit Kawasaki boss Mitch Payton.
The Pro Circuit Kawasaki team was exactly where Ivan needed to be in 2004. He adapted well to the green machines and absolutely dominated the West Coast Supercross series. He lost only one main event, to Honda’s Nathan Ramsey, and finally hoisted an AMA number-one plate with his name on it. He had some ups and downs during the outdoor season but ended 2004 with a AMA 125 Supercross championship and a sixth place finish in the AMA Motocross Nationals.
“Hot Sauce” owned 2005 in the 125 class. He rode his Monster Energy Kawasaki, with a giant number-one plate on it, to successfully defend his West Coast Supercross Championship. He didn’t enjoy the same dominating performance as the previous season, but instead showed his consistency to take the title from Nathan Ramsey once again. Ivan also came into the ’05 outdoor season more prepared than ever. With a late-season charge, he put himself in a position to take the title at the last round at Glen Helen. He wrapped up a stellar season of motocross by playing a major role in Team USA’s victory at the Motocross des Nations in France that fall. As if that weren’t enough for one season, he also signed on to be Ricky Carmichael’s wingman under the Makita Suzuki tent for 2006.
Having Ricky Carmichael as a teammate is undoubtedly a great thing for a young racer’s career, but with his expertise comes his shadow, and it’s a big one. Throughout 2006, Ivan had some great supercross rides in his first season in the premier class. He rode consistently all season long and finished his rookie 450 supercross series in fourth place. After a superb supercross season, injury prevented Hot Sauce from competing in most of the outdoor nationals. When Ricky Carmichael injured his shoulder late in the summer and was unable to lead the US squad to the Motocross des Nations, Ivan was the rider who got the tap to ride for team USA. Putting Tedesco on the team didn’t happen without controversy, after all he had missed all but one round of the nationals, but he did a great job in England and helped to bring the Peter Chamberlin Trophy back to the United States for the second year in a row.
The 2007 Supercross Series was supposed to be the season where Ivan stepped up and filled the oversized shoes of his teammate, the GOAT. Even though Ivan rode consistent during the supercross season once again, he just didn’t show the same brilliance that won him two 125 supercross championships. He was looking to turn things around for the outdoors, but an injury right before the season opener at Hangtown kept him out of the first three rounds of the series. Once he returned to racing, things were a little rough for him, which got him thinking that it was time for a change of scenery. Rumors started circulating that Ivan had been having some top secret meetings with team Honda for the ’08 season. The rumors turned out to be true , and he officially announced that he’d finish the outdoor season with Makita Suzuki and then start fresh with the factory Honda team.
Ivan adapted well to his new Honda and was ready to challenge for the Monster Energy Supercross title. Four rounds into the series, Ivan again had to deal with an injury that would put him out for the remainder of the supercross series. Ivan’s not a quitter though, and has shown his work ethic from the beginning of his racing career. He will be healthy again, and when he is, you will find him near the front of the pack.
Ivan grew up riding with his brother in the sands of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since his dad didn’t race, he and his brother would go to the desert and learn to ride together. They’d push each other, as well as their group of riding buddies, to improve their skills, but didn’t actually do much racing. They eventually started going to more and more races, where Ivan found that he had a real knack for the sport. When he got to be a teenager, he started doing well and even winning some of his classes at the major amateur nationals. That’s when Ivan knew that he wanted to make a career racing his dirt bike.
When Ivan gets off the bike, he shows just how good of a person he is. He’s one of the most approachable guys in the pits and always tries to do his best for the fans. “I think it's cool when kids come up to me at races, because I was one of those kids at one time, looking up to McGrath, Jeff Stanton and all those guys," Tedesco says. "So I think it's cool to spend time with kids at races, sign autographs and encourage them, because you never know who's going to make it.”
A lot of riders have nicknames, but Hot Sauce is definitely one of those catchy names that doesn’t work with just anyone. Ivan’s first team manager, Kenny Watson, is actually the man responsible for branding him with the name. Being from New Mexico and having a last name eerily similar to Tobasco made the nickname something of a natural fit. It even added a little heat to his reputation and is still a favorite among announcers and fans alike. Justin Fisk
Contributors: Alissa Gilligan , Bad Billy