Luke Renzland, riding for Traders Racing Yamaha, went 21-20 for 22nd overall at Budds Creek over the weekend. We asked him about track conditions, how he handled the heat, and how "part-timing" the series has gone so far.
1. Track looked dryer than past years and from most nationals. How does that affect racing? What did you need to do right to do well?
Luke Renzland: The track at Budds last weekend was a lot different than I’ve ever seen for a national. It had a very hard base and lots of rocks surfaced over the course of the day. It was like riding on marbles in a lot of sections, especially in the second motos. I heard that MX Sports was making an effort to dig the tracks more shallow this year to create less ruts and, in their minds, better racing. I’m not sure if that’s the truth or just a rumor, but it does seem like most of the nationals I attended weren’t quite as deep as normal. I don’t really agree that it makes better racing.
At a track like Budds Creek, most of the corners are off-camber, and it seemed to me like a lot of the lines swept toward the outside and created more of a one-lined track, unlike when the track was ripped deeper in the past. I think a start was more important this weekend because the first laps could kill someone with a bad start since the track funneled into one line in most sections.
2. Heat and humidity were legit. Do you have to pace yourself to cope? Do you feel differently in weather like that? How do you feel at the end of the day?
It always seems like Budds is one of the hottest rounds every year. The heat and humidity definitely affect a lot as a racer. Sitting in staging and prepping your gate are the worst when it’s hot like that. Lots of the KTM/Husky riders have fans that plug into their bike battery and clip on their handlebars while their mechanics prep the gates. I always have a bit of envy toward those guys while I watch them soak up the cool breeze.
The motos also feel a bit tougher in the heat. The first moto isn’t so bad since it’s the first long effort for the race day, but recovering between motos and the second moto are where you’ll really feel the heat creep up on you. That 45 minutes between motos goes by really fast, and it’s also harder to eat in that short window when it’s hot. By the end of the day, I felt pretty spent and fatigued. Sleeping in on Sunday was definitely called for.
3. What has it been like jumping in and out of the series? What other things have you been doing?
“Part-timing” the series was difficult for me. I felt like every weekend the other guys raced while I was at home, I was losing ground to them. I found myself feeling a little bit uncertain of where I stacked up when I rejoined the series, while I’ve never had that problem when I stick with the whole championship. It gives me more respect for guys like Ken Roczen or Trey Canard, who have come back from long-term injuries and bounce right back to the top of the class.
Although it was difficult for me, I learned a lot this season as well. Taking a half-step back really makes you see things in a different perspective, and it helped me realize some things I need to work on for the future. In the meantime, on my off-weeks I was doing anything from woods riding to mixing cement on construction sites to dabbling in some Canadian racing on a 450. It’s been a very different summer from what I’ve been used to, but I have had a lot of fun with it and also learned a lot from my different point of view.