We have now reached the middle of April and hopefully, your 2021 riding season is off to a solid start. We have also reached that time in the week when we sit down with Ryan Lockhart to ask him some more questions about current topics in our sport. As you know, Ryan has been in this industry for over twenty years and during that time he’s been a rider, a mechanic, a riding coach, and most recently the Brand Manager over at Matrix Concepts Canada. Ryan knows a lot about a lot of things and he’s always a great guy to talk to. Here are this week’s 3 Q’s with Ryan Lockhart presented by Matrix Concepts Canada.
MXP: You and your family headed back to Whispering Pines Raceway last weekend. It looked like there was a good group of riders were out there. How was your weekend?
RL: Anytime you can escape the stress that Covid-19 has caused us all it’s a good weekend. We got in some good riding and camping that’s for sure. My son Meston is having a blast riding his dirt bike and it’s fun to watch his progress. I have around 20 hours of outdoor riding so far this year so if I’m not careful I might get into shape (laughs). We have new travel restrictions here in BC so who knows when we will get out again for this type of weekend? One thing for sure the moto scene here in BC is strong and we’re all looking forward to the day when we can go racing.
MXP: So we’re now down to just one more round of SX for 2021. Even though the point gaps are fairly large, all three titles are still up for grabs. Give us the names of who you think will end up being crowned champions on Saturday night in SLC?
RL: Yes the writing is on the wall and baring a disaster for from the three guys who are leading right now, they will win their respective titles. Although the 250SX East/ West showdown has to be a little stressful for those leading the championship, I still think the Star Racing Yamaha riders will prevail.
250SX East – Colt Nichols has been at it a long time and not only has he won races this season, but he has proven for the first time in his career that he can stay healthy and consistent. He may not win the main event this weekend but I think he’ll end up taking home the title.
250SX West – It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Justin Cooper, but he’s been very good when it has mattered the most. He’s had the pressure from the rookies as well as some races where he seemed a bit off, but at the end of the day he was the favourite to win the championship and he’s got the job done. If you look at those three main event restarts alone he could have cracked under the pressure and frustration of leading and then having the race red-flagged. However, he came back each time with another holeshot and that is what wins Championships.
450SX – Cooper Webb, I mean what can you say bad about the 2019 champ. He’s won a lot of races and rebounded on days when he’s hasn’t had his A-game. He’s tracked Roczen down late in main events on a few occasions this year and I think it’s clear that he has Kenny mentally beat. Unless something goes wrong this weekend Webb will be our 2021 450SX Champion.
MXP: Other than the big three (Webb, Roczen, Tomac), which rider has impressed you the most in the 450SX class in 2021?
RL: I think there are a few guys that have turned their careers around a bit in my eyes. Malcolm Stewart and Aaron Plessinger have both stepped up their games big time and they did it at a crucial time. In my opinion, it was time for them to make something happen or risk losing their factory rides. Another rider that has really impressed me is Cade Clason. He has become a sold main event guy. It’s been great to see the improvements Cade has made in his riding and his program. He’s still young and motivated so hopefully, he can get a little more support in 2022 and get to the next level.