Tyla Rattray is not given to boasting or big talk . He has always been known as the type of rider that does his talking on the track, and with years of GP- and AMA racing experience under his belt, he knows that motocross titles are not handed out in June. When he took hold of the red number plate identifying him as the series leader at Round 3 of the AMA American motocross championship series a week ago, he was gracious and modest, reminding the world that the opposition was tough and a lot of water still had to flow under the bridge before the series was done.
MOTOCROSS RUSH HOUR IS ANOTHER THING ALTOGEHTER
ALL OF THIS HAPPENS AT MUCH HIGHER SPEED THAN MOTOCROSS MOMS WOULD CARE TO ACKNOWLEDGE
PIC – Frank Hoppen
In a private post-race discussion, he went into his season’s progress in more depth, and quietly mentioned that a good number of tracks coming up would play to his strong suits. He relishes competition on tracks that get rough and choppy, an the more physically demanding the racing conditions get, the more he thrives. He knows that his pre-season preparations and continuous punishing physical regime are spot on, and give him the edge when conditions become gruelling.
Budds Creek is as classical motocross circuit as you are likely to get. It features significant elevation changes, and makes its rough, choppy way across some of the loveliest natural terrain imaginable. The pre-race interviews with different riders brought out an interesting common factor in their evaluation of the track Ã¢Â€Â“ the track is situated in a Ã¢Â€ÂœholeÃ¢Â€Â and thus becomes a humidity trap. The unfit or unprepared need therefore not apply for top results.
Tyla qualified his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki in fourth position, and with the sun rising to grill position, it was time for race one to kick off. The red-plated number 28 slotted into second position, with team-mate Dean Wilson streaming into the lead. The track was rough and choppy, and caught a good many rdiers out, but the Kawasaki cruisers were traversing the terrain as if it were a parking lot. Broc Tickle had by now snuggled into third spot, and yet again it was an all-green affair up front. Tyla took the battle to Wilson, but had some problems with back-markers. Wilson is of course no pushover either, and the South African crosssed the line in second spot, a few seconds behind his team-mate.
After the first heat, Tyla calmly analysed his performance during the post race interview. He expressed happiness with his second place and lauded his team-mate for the win, and then very quietly alluded to the fact that a tough second heat was coming up. He did not predict a win. He was not brash. He was not cocky. But the self-confidence simply oozed out of him, and there was, in the words of one of the classics, a fierce gleaming in his eye. He knew what cards he had in hand.
When the gates dropped for race two and the red number 28 surged to the front, the opposition must have uttered a collective sigh of exasperation. When the heat is (literally) on, the track rougher than a seedy harbour-side neighbourhood, and Tyla Rattray in a determined frame of mind, it is not a good idea to let him have an early lead. Wilson had some early race problems, and had to plough his way forward from a position just inside the top 10. Tyla’s main opposition would come in the form of Justin Barcia.
Although Tyla held a comfortable lead at all times, Barcia produced a mid-race surge that brought his Honda to within two seconds of the leading bike. The South African was riding a measured, calculated race however as his boatloads of experience shone through. He was relentless, and when Barcia wilted, he hit the afterburner to bolt to a commanding lead, simply pounding the opposition into the ground.
With Wilson making his way up to third in the final race, Tyla eked out an additional two point lead when the day’s scores were tallied up. He still has a slender two-point lead over his team-mate in the championship standings, and the series is certainly not short of excitement for the fans.
Tyla had hardly broken a sweat when he de-helmeted himself after the race. Ã¢Â€ÂœI am happy with how it went today,Ã¢Â€Â he said, in a normal tone of voice, as if he had just ambled over to the fridge.Ã¢Â€ÂIt was hot and tough out there, but I like these kind of conditions, and I just timed my race to have an extra kick in hand in the last few laps. It’s Father’s Day weekend, so being a daddy myself now, I guess it is as good a present as anything I could give myself!Ã¢Â€Â
TYLA IS GETTING PRETTY USED TO THE TROPHY HOIST MANEUVER
(Pic Ã¢Â€Â“ Frank Hoppen)