Coming into Round 4 of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series last weekend in Sarnia, Red Bull Thor KTM rider Cole Thompson was a man on a mission. After having been docked five positions at the most recent round in Calgary a few weeks ago, Cole felt like he had something to prove in front of his hometown fans. Cole also happens to be one of the best indoor riders this country has ever produced, so you could say that Saturday night in Sarnia created a perfect storm for Cole to take charge of this series. We caught up with Cole to get his thoughts on what an amazing night it was for him inside the Progressive Auto Sales Centre.
MXP: Hey Cole, how are things today?
CT: Everything is great, right now I’m just running around and trying to get things done.
MXP: You’re home now correct?
CT: Yes, we came home from Florida last week. I was hoping that I’d be able to ride here but the weather just isn’t cooperating.
MXP: Yes, this spring is sure slow to arrive. Hopefully it will improve very soon. Let’s talk about Saturday night in Sarnia. You told me after the race that you came into Round 4 with a little chip on your shoulder. Can you explain what you meant?
CT: I think just with everything that has happened over the past few weeks, I obviously thought that I shouldn’t have got docked for that red cross flag incident back in Calgary, but it is was it was. There was some other stuff going on as well that I was surprised to hear about. So, with this weekend being my hometown race, I really wanted to come and make a statement.
MXP: Well, we think you did as you dominated right from the first lap of practice. The Sarnia track was soft, rutted and challenging, but you looked very comfortable riding it.
CT: Yeah, it definitely was soft and very sticky. Even with the endless amount of traction, you still had to be patient and not really push too hard. Fortunately, I felt really good right from the opening lap of practice and I just took it from there. My bike set-up was incredible and I was able to find a few lines that no one else did. I don’t know, it was just a great night.
MXP: I saw you were the only one to jump the finish line from the inside, and you found that great line entering the whoop section.
CT: I was happy to be able to find those little lines that ended up making a big difference. To be able to go inside before the finish line and then drift to the outside and hit that low line, that was fast. The whoop section ended up getting a deep rut down the middle that was hard to hit each lap. Once I started going down the right-hand side and staying on top of the whoops, I was able to be more consistent. As much as the track was tough to ride, I actually felt really smooth on it.
MXP: Not to mention that you got great starts all night long, and that makes a big difference in AX.
CT: For sure, once you get out front and get a little gap, then you can start taking whatever lines you want. During the main event I was able to get a gap quickly and then just ride smooth. The hardest part was trying to stay clear of the lapped riders. With the track so rutted, some of the riders were going everywhere. Look what happened with Colton, that could’ve happened to any of us.
MXP: Can you talk a little about how you were able to get such good starts on that sticky surface?
CT: When I first looked at the gate in Sarnia I figured that the third gate from the inside was going to be my gate all night long. But when I went to line up for the main event, I changed it up and went with the very inside gate. I wanted to go inside so I could try to control the first turn a little better.
MXP: With the way the start straight was set up and how tight the first turn was, even though you were lined up on the inside, you still had to get a great jump.
CT: I knew with Colton lined up so close to me that I had to beat him off of the gate. He’s a big guy and when he gets a good jump he’s very good at controlling the first turn. I was able to get a great jump and do what I wanted to do.
MXP: When the conditions are that tacky, do you use a certain technique to try to create wheel spin?
CT: I do a few different things to try to make the bike not hook up too much. It’s such a fine line between being perfect and having the bike bog or wheelie on you. With the cold temperatures there, I put the bike into gear a little earlier than normal to heat the clutch up, and then I just used a little higher RPM than I normally would’ve. As I said, everything worked out great and I got a clean holeshot.
MXP: That main event holeshot you got pretty much summed up your day in Sarnia. Now it’s on to Barrie and then the outdoor series. You must be feeling pretty good right now?
CT: I really like where we are right now, my training has been going really well, our testing has been great, just everything, I feel like I’m in a really good place and I don’t think I’ve ever been this prepared for a season.
MXP: And you just got married last week, so congratulations!
CT: Thank-you! Chloe has been with me for a long time now and we just thought it was the right thing to do. Everything was great and now we’re married. Hopefully I can have a great weekend in Barrie and then we’ll start our final preparation for the outdoor series.
MXP: Well Cole, good luck this weekend in Barrie. Hopefully you guys get the best track on the series thus far. Thanks for taking my call and let’s hope for some better weather soon.
CT: Thanks for calling Palms! Hopefully this weekend is a good one. Before I go I just want to thank my Red Bull Thor KTM Team, my family, my wife, and my mechanic Steve Beattie for all of his hard work. I think 2018 is going to be a great season.