A single sentence in the post race press conference told it all. Dean Wilson, AMA motocross championship leader, was behind the microphone, recounting his day. When the subject turned to Tyla Rattray, Wilson said that the South African is in such good physical condition that it sucks. The guffaws in the press room did not detract from the fact that Wilson had just given his teammate the ultimate compliment. This is how it is in the AMA championship run of 2011. The title pretenders are fierce rivals on track, but off it they are respectful of each other.
Frank Hoppen Pics
Mention tough racing conditions which include stifling heat, a sprinkling of sand underfoot and a track that gets rougher as the day progresses, and Tyla Rattray’s ears *** up. These are the kind of conditions that he feeds on, and at round seven of the series, at Spring Creek, Millville, these conditions were present in abundance. Tyla threw down the gauntlet early by scorching to the fastest lap time during qualifying practice. Talk about scorching – the heat was truly on, in more ways than one. The races were to provide some sizzling action, and the sun beat down mercilessly, to such an extent that many of the spectators sought out respite in any handy spring or creek they could find.
The first race got off to an exciting start, with Wilson charging to the lead. Tyla was a bit behind, but soon enough he had bullied his way into second position and set off in pursuit of his teammate. For the rest of the race, the gap between them yoyo-ed, first stretching out, then shrinking again. The sheer pace and excitement of it was pure poetry in motion, and the crowd responded accordingly. As the race drew to a close, the effort of it all was visibly getting to Wilson, and Tyla closed right up, so much so that one could barely insert a feeler gauge between the two Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasakis. Rattray was relentless, but Wilson held on, and clinched the win by the narrowest of margins. Less than a second separated the bikes at the flag, and the crowd was in rapture.
Tyla charged to another good start in race two, and by the second lap, he had clear air in front of him, with none of his view being spoilt by scene-spoiling fellow competitors. In conditions such as this, it is not a good idea for the opposition to let Tyla have an early lead, and the point was driven home very clearly. His conditioning, iron will and a dab of riding skills took him to a comfortable lead, and as he crossed the finish line, he acknowledged his supporters who had just seen their hero race to yet another overall AMA victory.
Frank Hoppen Pics
Tyla had the same number of total points as Wilson on the day, but his good harvest did allow him to reclaim second spot in the championship, demoting teammate Blake Baggett to third.