An Alien in the AMA! British racer Dylan Woodcock head’s stateside to become a Supercross Privateer
In a brave move British teenager Dylan Woodcock is freeing all his ties with UK Pro Motocross, by heading to the U S of A, in the adventure of his life, as he tackles the biggest Moto show on earth and the AMA World Supercross Championships as a privateer.
Images courtesy of Nuno Laranjeira
We will be following Dylan throughout his journey, as we look to reveal just what life is like on the AMA supercross circuit for a rider trying to make it on the worlds biggest Moto stage!
We spoke with Dylan just before he headed to the states… here’s what he had to say..
Dirt Hub: Hey Dylan, before we talk 2019, how was your 2018?
Dylan: My time with Kawasaki came to an end, not really because of my age, but because they weren’t quite ready to take Team Green into the EMX250 championship, so I joined Revo Husqvarna , but it was a tough year to be honest with you. With all of the Europeans, and all the travel and only having two race bikes, going to Bulgaria one weekend and Blaxhall the next, it was real hard with all of the bike prep, so I found that a bit of a struggle. I also had a couple of injuries too, which made it harder. I did have some good results, but there weren’t many rides for riders of my kind of age group, so it hasn’t worked out very well for any us.
Riding the Maxxis and the Euro’s at the same time is a real hard thing to do, all of the dates clash up, and to organise my mechanic, myself and try get my bike on the back of the Revo truck for a meeting in Europe is quite tough. You are literally living week by week, knowing where you bikes going to be or where you are racing.
My bikes were prepped by Jon Gifford at JGR. My deal with Revo was more of a support thing so, you get what you are given, and the stuff you don’t you pay for. It was a good deal and I can’t thank Mark and the team enough for what they did. I haven’t done anything spectacular or anything to ask for anything else.
DH: You have now made the pretty huge decision to head to America and take part in the 2019 AMA Supercross Championships, so what made you take this decision?
Dylan: The decision was first made when I raced over at the Monster Cup back when I was on an 85 about three years ago, and I met a guy called Mickey Carter. He owns CMX Ride California. Jeff Perrett was my manager, and he emailed him and said we are coming over with bikes, can we stay at your house. So we paid our fee and did that, but we became really good friends, obviously seeing him every day, and he said to me, maybe you should come over again when your on the big bikes and do some training here to get used to them, and then come and do supercross. I laughed it off a couple of years ago when I was 16 and a bit of hot head. I did the Arenacross the following year. I done well and finished second, and I seemed to earn a lot of money. People liked it and my sponsors liked it, as its more of a show and it attracts loads more people, and even more so in America where there is lots more prize money. I have a few personal sponsors through my Dad’s industry who said if Dylan’s going to the AMA then we will support him. I spoke to a few guys like Lee Morrision who did it back in the day, and he said you can’t miss the opportunity, just go and do it. So that’s why I’m gonna go do it.
DH: So are you riding for a team or are you a full privateer?
Dylan: It’s a do kinda what you wanna do deal. It’s through Micky, he’s my guardian as I am only 18, so if anything goes wrong he is there with me. There’s another rider from Sweden that will be with me, but to be honest with you, if I want to run Pink graphics, I can run Pink graphics, if I wanna run Red graphics I’ll run red graphics, its whatever I want to do.
During the year I have emailed lots of people and spoke to lots of people about rides, no one was really interested, so I thought well I may as well go and do something different, and turn a couple of heads.
DH: So you have the flexibility to use the products you want and have the bike set up you want then?
Dylan: Yeah I have some really good sponsors, who have followed me through the years, like Ben from Madison, who has really stepped up what he has done in the past few years. I will never forget what he has done for me. In America I am speaking to people myself and with Paul Coltman, and we are getting deals where we can. It’s great if we can get stuff free, but if we don’t ,we get a discount sort of thing.
It doesn’t work out cheaper to do the Supercross, but it doesn’t work out more expensive. Because you are racing Supercross a load more people want to sponsor you, because their brand is going to be seen to loads more people.
The scale of it is enormous and the prize money on offer is amazing. Like the Monster Cup, when have you heard of fan winning a million dollars? It’s just on a different scale.
In the UK and in Europe there’s nowhere to go for anyone anymore. You sometimes have a good year over here and think the next year is going to be great, but it just doesn’t happen and you end up going backwards, but this way I can do what I want. If I want to race the first two AMA outdoor Nationals I will, or if I want to come back to the UK and race I can, as I have no ties to anyone.
DH: How does it work then, do you just enter the Supercross and show up?
Dylan: If you are American you have to do the Arenacross, and you to have take part in the Road to Supercross I think it’s called, and you have to have 12 points to get your AMA professional license, but for anyone from overseas you instantly get your FIM license. So the license you have to do the EMX rounds you can use in the AMA. They obviously research you and your results, and see what you are about, not just any one can just show up and ride.
DH: It’s the West Coast part of the series your riding in isn’t it?
Dylan: Yeah I will be doing as many rounds as I can on the West Coast, I won’t be missing anything in the UK as I haven’t got a ride. Anything that happens I am going to take. Hopefully I do well, and if I do well, and make the night shows, and hopefully some main events, and someone offers me a ride, I am 100% gonna take. That’s what Mickey and all of the guys want me to do, so it’s not going to be a problem, if that comes around.
DH: You say about making the main, how does the process work to get there?
Dylan: In qualifying there’s an A, B and C group which ranks you based on your credibility and who you are. Myself, having raced in Germany and in the Arenacross, I will most probably go in the B group. If you are an Amateur coming through the ranks and you’re not on a big team you will usually be split between the B and C group. From those groups, it’s the fastest 40 riders based on their lap times that make the night show, then through to 20 and 20 in the heat race, with the top 8 of each going to the main and then 4 through from the LCQ make the 20 of the main.
DH: It’s a big weekend of racing then?
Dylan: Yeah it’s like the European championships but there’s just a lot more money at stake.
I mean everyone’s got to earn money to live, and where the Supercross is such high profile, everything is easier. There is lot more exposure and publicity for everyone and you can earn a lot more money. It’s so hard to earn money in British and European Motocross. Most of the riders work alongside their racing. It’s so hard for a British rider to get out of the UK, as most of the riders don’t get paid anything and are all working.
DH: So on that note, are you going to be working why you are in America, or is it all about the racing?
Dylan: Luckily I have done well with support. Half way through this year I knew I wasn’t going to get a ride so I started emailing companies asking for support, so now I have some money together. I put things out on Instagram and Facebook asking for support, which I have seen other riders doing too. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
DH: I suppose as you worked hard at building up your following when you were growing up you have a lot of value to give to a sponsor?
Dylan: Back when I was younger I worked hard. I have always been on a team, so its going to be a bit weird riding for myself. Like I never rode KTM’s or anything like that, it was Cobra, then TM then Kawasaki. I think that helped build my social media even more as I was the only kid on a different bike.
DH: What bike are you riding in the states?
Dylan: I am going to be riding a Yamaha. I thought if I buy a KTM, they are $9000 dollars, and I have to buy two, then the suspension, so I just thought, if I can find the best bike that is suited to Supercross, with good suspension, a good motor, a good chassis, why not. I tried the Yamaha a couple of weeks ago and I loved it, it’s a mega bike. It’s the only bike that has everything in one bike. The suspension is good, the motor is pretty fast stock, and the chasis is amazing. If you ask anyone about the bike they will tell you it turns amazing, and that’s half the battle isn’t it?
DH: Have you got any Pre Season events lined up before the AMA kicks off?
Dylan: There isn’t really anything. I had a couple of offers to ride in Germany, but I didn’t want to stay here, ride at the weekend and just hang around all week for the next one. So instead I can come over here and ride two weeks solid on a Supercross track. So I am going over there, do a couple of weeks on the Motocross tracks, get used to the bike, get my suspension right, and then as soon as its sorted, it will be riding Supercross all the way until Christmas, and probably even on Christmas day.
It’s only myself that’s going, so my parents aren’t coming so its only me with Micky.
DH: Your Dad Lenny has been a pretty massive part of your career, is he coming over at some point?
Dylan: Yeah he will be over at some point, he will probably go skydiving. My Dad is a big part of it, he has always said to me, do Supercross. He has always said that, every year. Go supercross, go do supercross, but I have always said next year, but when you don’t have a ride you have no other choice but to try and do something new.
DH: You have nothing to lose then really?
Dylan: No there is nothing to lose at all. There are not that many people who go and race Supercross at my age. I am only 18, so hopefully someone will snap me up and I will be in America, but I don’t know, let’s see what happens.
DH: In terms of ambitions and goals, is it just do the best you can or do you have certain targets?
Dylan: I don’t know. I don’t know any of the riders. I don’t know how it works. I have been to a couple to watch, but it’s just give it my best shot and never give up. If I don’t make the main event, or I am close to making it, at least I will know what to do to get there the next time.
DH: I suppose you don’t know what you need to improve on until you do it?
Dylan: Yeah it’s like at practice tracks in the UK, there always someone there trying to keep up with you and hang onto the back of you, and that’s gonna be me in America. I’m gonna be that annoying foreigner getting onto everyone’s tail, trying to get a tow to see how fast they are.
There are loads of privateers out there, so I won’t be the only one. I will be the only real foreigner there on a privateer bike so that will draw me attention. It’s different for a British lad to go over there and do Supercross. I think my style suits Supercross better than Motocross, so we will see how it goes.
We will be following Dylan’s progress so keep your eyes peeled for updates from his American adventure.
Dylan would like to thank the following for their support:
Massive thanks to my personal sponsors
California Motocross Holidays
and to ASGUK Motocross Academy sponsors
Performance Metal Finishings
Warwickshire Vapour Blasting
Hi-Speed Services Limited
Peter Duce Photgraphy