Tyla Rattray Q&A

Tyla Rattray might just be a month away from reaching his dream. It was back in 2000 that Tyla Rattray began his quest to be a World Motocross champion and now some eight years later is is closer to that goal than ever. The Red Bull KTM rider didn’t always have the best luck, but he always had a fighting mentality and a mentality to succeed.

It hasn’t been all fun and games for Rattray, but he has been able work himself into the lead of the MX2 championship and you can count on him putting together a strong string of results as the series moves into the final three races of the series.

But how did it all start and how has his climb been through the last eight years.

Q: What was life like for a young Tyla Rattray, and how did you get into the sport of motocross?

A: My mother and father split up when I was two years old. My father moved to Australia, and I stayed with my mother. When I was five my mother gave me a motorcycle, to ride around and have some fun. She had a friend whos son raced motocross, and she mentioned to my mum that I should come down to a race. We went down and ever since I have races. When I was five years old my step-father came into my life and he trained me, and took me to the races. He really looked after me in the young days. In the beginning it was tough, because my mother and Wayne (Tyla’s Step-father) didn’t have any money at all. We were on a tight budget, at home we couldn’t us the phone because we didn’t want to run the bills up, that might have been fuel to go to the races. We sometimes nearly didn’t have enough money to put food on the table, it was that tough.

Q: How tough was it to do your local races when you guys struggled for money?

A: We used to the Nationals in South African, and we would travel in a little old van, and in South Africa we had a lot of hills and the big expensive trucks from the big teams in the South African Nationals would fly past us. In the beginning it was really tough, I know things don’t come easy in life, you have to work for it. Since I was about eight years old I had not heard from my father at all, he was out of my life from the time I was two years old, but we had some contact, and then it stopped. Wayne my stepfather was more like a father to me, but my father will always be my father. I didn’t see my father for like six years, but for me it wasn’t that a big problem, because he was gone when I was so young. He contacted me a few years ago, and that was strange, he wasn’t really interested and my grandparents from his side always said that motocross was dangerous and you shouldn’t be doing it, but then they came to the Isle of Wight Grand Prix in 2005 when I won and they realized that it was a big sport and how much it meant to me. Now they like motocross. The last two years my father contacted me, he came to Lierop, Ireland and also Ernee to watch me, which was nice.

Q: What turned your career around, which moment did you feel like you could get the right bikes to improve?

A: In 1998 Tinus Nel approached me about riding. At that moment I knew it was going in the good direction. If you were in Tinus’s team in South Africa, then you were in the best team in the paddock. He had the best bikes, the best vans. I rode for him in 1999 on a Honda. It was the first year we didn’t have to pay for anything, he gave us a budget and I am really thankful for everything he did for me. The first time I met him I was so nervous and it was a dream come true riding for his team. Then in 2000 I came to europe with Tinus and I stayed with him until 2003, but then I decided to go to the CHAMP factory team. I mean we had Ben (Townley) and Tanel (Leok) and we were always pushing eachother.

Q: In 2005 and 2006 you started the season and ended the season as the man, but in the middle part you sucked, made mistakes and lost the championship. How do you look at how it all went down this year?

A: I came into the 06 season and felt good, when I was riding before the first GP I knew I was ready to go, but I think that has been part of my problem, I come into the season too strong and it’s something I am going to change. I won’t come into the season as strong, I want to come in slow and work it up and keep it on top. In the middle of the season was the most important time, we have three races in a row and then a weekend off and another GP, so that will be the critical time for the championship. I want to be strong in that period, and just work on being on the podium. Now with the season nearly over we have just three rounds remaining and I am confident. I just put my head down and work hard.