MXP Chatter: Cole Thompson

Cole Thompson (4)

Photos by Rich Shepherd

When Cole Thompson was young he had one dream, to be a top professional motocross rider.

He didn’t just want to be a Canadian Champion he wanted to be the best in the World. So he packed his bags and headed south to hit every big US race there was; Ponca City, Oak Hill and Loretta Lynn’s just to name a few. Now, years later, that hard work is paying off as Cole is racing the 250SX East class in the Monster Energy Supercross Series and is on the verge of his first podium. We caught up with Cole as he prepares for his hometown Supercross this weekend in Toronto.

Q: Hey Cole, what’s going on today?

A: Not too much, just back at home unpacking and trying to get back into the home routine.

Q: You have been on the road for a while. When was the last time you were home?

A: I was home for Christmas but that was it. You know the life of a motocross racer, just go, go, go. It’s nice to be home though and sleep in my own bed; feels good for sure.

Cole Thompson (1)

Q: You are fresh off the Indianapolis Supercross where you had a little bad luck. Overall, how have things been going so far?

A: Really good I think. I feel good and I definitely feel a lot more competitive this year. Now it’s just a matter of putting 15 laps together so I can get a good finish. I have been putting myself in a good position to get that finish, but I’ve been making a few mistakes here and there. I am only 19 so I feel like my learning curve is still pretty steep. Every race I am gaining more experience so hopefully soon I can put it all together.

Q: The first few laps of the main event in Indy were amazing. Can you take us through just what it is like to run up front in a Supercross main event?

A: Well, I can tell you that it’s a lot easier to run up front than be buried in the pack, that’s for sure (laughs). Having said that though, things are obviously happening pretty quickly and there is a lot of stuff to process. On Saturday night I was just trying to focus on the track and put in good laps. I felt like I was doing that and then I had that little slide out. Like I said, things happen pretty quickly – one second you’re in third and the next you’re picking your bike up. But it’s all part of the learning process.

Q: When you see as many mistakes from the top riders as we saw in Indy, that track must have been tough.

A: For sure, it wasn’t so much the layout as it was the dirt. It was slippery in some spots and it was really soft so the ruts came out pretty quick. It was tough to be consistent and hit the same lines each lap. My guess is that Toronto will be the same so I guess Indy was good practice.

Cole Thompson (2)

Q:  Heading into Toronto this weekend, you must feel a lot more confident than you felt last year.

A: Without a doubt. You know, last year I was just along for the ride and my results didn’t really matter to me. I certainly didn’t want to crash like I did last year in practice, but I was just out there to learn and gain experience. This year I feel like I belong up front and hopefully I can make all of my hometown fans proud this weekend.

Q: This weekend I think you will get to feel what it is like to have an entire stadium cheering for you. Let’s go back to last summer, you started off the nationals with some good rides on the 450 as a full on privateer then Star Racing Yamaha gave you a chance in the 250 class. How was that experience for you?

A: It was good. I had a few top ten finishes on the 450 and felt really good in that class.  Then Star Racing offered me a ride. They originally offered me a 450 to ride but I didn’t really want to ride the Yamaha 450 so I went with a 250. Moving to the smaller class was good but that class is a different type of racing.

Q: In the 250 class it looks as though everyone is just wide open for 35 minutes.

A: For sure. A good start becomes even more important because if you start outside the top 15 it’s going to be very hard to get into the top 10, not to mention guys in that class are just a lot more impatient and way more aggressive. They will drive it in on you whenever they can so it’s hard to just focus on the track and go fast. In the 450 class the guys are a lot smarter and it is a little easier to race. If I hadn’t hurt my shoulder at Washougal I think things would’ve been different. I never really regained the strength in it all summer so I couldn’t ride the way I wanted to. All in all though it was a great experience and I’m very appreciative to Star Racing Yamaha for giving me the opportunity. I learned a lot.

Cole Thompson (3)

Q: You have always seemed like a kid that knows the importance of looking at your racing as a process and not letting yourself get too high or too low. Is this something you’ve always been cognizant of or does it just come natural?

A: That is a good question. I think my family has always done a great job of keeping me grounded and keeping me focused on the big picture. I would go crazy if I got depressed every time I didn’t win a race. I didn’t dominate at all when I was a kid. I feel like I was fast but I wasn’t any faster than the kids I was racing. But I worked hard and kept at it and that’s what I will continue to do.

Q: Your fellow Sarnia area rider Nicky Beatty has been racing the East as well. Have you been helping him out at all?

A: For sure, Nicky is a great kid and I applaud him for what he is trying to do in Supercross. It is not easy to just jump in and race Supercross, but he is doing well and he is so close to getting into the night show.  Canada has a lot of good riders right now who are talented enough to race Supercross but for whatever reason they don’t do it, so Nicky should be really proud of himself for giving it a go.

Q: Every year at the Parts Canada TransCan we see so many fast kids from right across Canada. Growing up you were one of those kids. What advice can you give an aspiring young Canadian rider who is dreaming of racing Supercross one day?

A: The only advice I can give is what worked for me: just have a goal and do whatever it takes to reach that goal. It’s hard racing in the USA at any level. These riders are brought up to go fast and you have to find a way to get good starts and race with them. That is the only way to compete with them. You have to race with them until you feel comfortable going that speed. The racing in Canada is so much more competitive than it used to be so I think most Canadian riders are so much more prepared than before. That is my advice, have a goal each year and work your butt off to reach it. If you fail, pick yourself up and try it again.

Cole Thompson (5)

Q: Well Cole, thanks for your time and good luck this weekend. We will all be cheering for you. Before we let you go, can you give us a rundown of the sponsors that are helping you this year?

A:, AX tour, Jetwerx, 26 Suspension, Thor/Parts Unlimited, Oakley, Alpinestars, Pro Circuit, Works Connection, Silkolene, Throttlejockey, EVS Sports, Lampton Diesel Specialists, BPM Motors, GPF, Dunlop, Moto Tassinari and Hinson.