Thor Racing Presents MXP Chatter With Cole Thompson

Coming into the 2017 MX2 Series, defending champion Cole Thompson is fit and ready to do whatever it takes to keep his #1 plate. Cole is confident heading into the opening round this weekend in Kamloops as he is again riding for the same team and riding virtually the same, potent KTM250 SX-F. When the gate drops this weekend, all of the MX2 riders will be gunning for Cole and doing everything they can to take the red plate from him. With only a few days remaining until Round 1 at Whispering Pines Raceway, we caught up with last year’s MX2 Champion to see how he feels heading into this summer.

MXP: Hey Cole, it’s been a few months since we last chatted. What is going on today?

CT: Not much, just a few last-minute preparations before we leave for Kamloops. This afternoon I’m actually meeting Colton (Facciotti) and we’re going riding.

We’ve had a lot of rain here in Ontario, how have your practice tracks been holding up?

Actually, my tracks have been in great shape, so far, this spring. Usually by now the dirt is all hard packed and baked, however, with all of the rain they’re still in great shape.

Cole Thompson is very excited for the gate to drop on the 2017 race season. Photo Cole Kirkpatrick

Well, I guess there are some benefits to all of this rain. We’re now only a few sleeps away from the opening round in Kamloops, you must be excited to get this series underway?

For sure, the first round always brings with it a lot of anticipation and unknown things. I think you just have to approach it like any other race, even though it isn’t, you can’t get all wrapped up in the nerves of Round 1.

I always remember feeling a little nervous prior to the first race of any series, but then as soon as the gate drops for the first time you instantly feel relaxed?

Exactly, once the gate drops and the season begins, it’s like any other race. Sometimes the first round goes well and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s obviously a long summer and a lot of things are going to happen.

Although you were the dominant MX2 rider last season, the series had some ups and downs for you. The fact that you had to battle through some adversity in 2016, does that make you feel more confident heading into this summer?

Definitely, last season wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. Even if you look at the opening round in 2016, I crashed off the start and had to battle from behind. You just never know and that’s what makes it interesting and a little nerve wracking. I feel pretty good heading into Kamloops. Testing has been going well and I feel even more prepared than I did at this time last year.

Other than maybe a few minor tweaks, are you racing the same bike as you were in 2016?

Yes, the bike is virtually the same so we know what to expect. There were a few small things we made better from 2016, so I think we’re good to go.

How are you feeling?

I feel great, it’s been a really good off-season. Unlike last year when I had just finished up a season of Supercross and I was feeling a little tired, right now I feel great and I’m excited to get to Kamloops and get this series started. During this off-season, I was able to train exactly how I wanted to. I worked hard when I had to, but I also got the rest I needed too. The past few months have been great.

You were able to race a few East Coast SX events, how did they go for you?

They were okay, I didn’t really finish as well as I would’ve liked to, but all things considered I was happy.

Cole comes into 2017 as the defending MX2 champion and he knows that everyone will be gunning for him this summer. Photo by Cole Kirkpatrick

In 2016, you raced the entire West Coast series and you spent months preparing for it. Was it a lot more difficult this year just jumping in at Round 2 of the East Coast events?

Without a doubt, I still feel like I really enjoy racing SX, but this season was really hard to just jump into the series. Basically, you either have to be all in or not at all!

There is always a lot of discussion about how more Canadian riders should race SX. I mean, you would know better than anybody, it’s really not that simple anymore, is it?

No, definitely not, and it hasn’t been for a few years now. These days there are so many fast riders and so many riders that spend months preparing for SX. Even the privateer riders are mostly former factory guys, so they’re all good. I found this season that the pace had gotten better and I was struggling to make main events straight from the heat races. The sport right now is tougher than it’s ever been. You have to be fully prepared and fully committed. I think there are a few Canadian riders that are capable of doing well in SX, but it will take a full effort by them to do so.

Not to mention that it would also be nice to make a little money racing dirt bikes, and it looks really hard to make money racing SX right now?

Making money in the USA is very hard to do right now unless you’re a top rider. I think that is why you’re seeing more riders come to Canada to race. They can come up here and do well, and maybe make a little money.

Well, I know that it was cool to see you on the track in Toronto, so I hope you keep trying to race some SX. You mentioned how many things are the same heading into 2017 as they were last season. However, one thing that is different is that you have a new mechanic for the summer?

Yes, I do. I guess there were a few changes made at KTM so I needed to find a new mechanic. We looked around and the best fit for me was my long-time friend, Steve Beattie. Steve is a great guy, and as everyone knows, he’s not only a good mechanic but also a championship winning rider (Dirt Track). I think we’re going to make a great pair and I think it’s going to be a great summer. Last year, Stephan was awesome and together we won a title. I’m very thankful for all he did and I wish him the best.

Cole and his family pose together after his MX2 Championship winning 2016 season. Photo by James Lissimore

I’m sure your new mechanic will be great and I’m sure he’ll be able to help you out with the mental side of racing as well?

He knows what it takes to win both on and off the track, so working together is going to be great. Plus, he lives near me so we can ride and train together.

Cole, it sounds as though you have all you need to go out and have another success season. All you need now is for the gate to drop and for the 2017 season to get underway. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Safe travels out west and I’ll see you in Kamloops?

You bet, thanks for calling. I’m really looking forward to getting this summer going and see what happens.