British young gun Ryan Houghton’s motocross career has been a journey of ups and downs. After winning the British MXY2 Championship in 2011, the ambitious youngster was set to make waves in the elite British MX2 championship the following year only to have his dreams slip through his fingers when a freak accident while training saw him destroy his leg. After a good six months of rehabilitation, the ambitious Houghton was back on his feet, literally, and was picked up by the world class team ‘Monster Energy BikeIT Yamaha’. Despite not bouncing back to speed immediately, the 18 year old remained optimistic and set out to take on the best of the best in the European EMX250 Championship. As we head into Ryan’s home round this weekend at the circuit of Matterley Basin in Winchester, England we thought it would be a good idea to catch up with the friendly Brit to see what he makes of his year in the European EMX250 class.
Question: So it is your first year competing in the European EMX250 championship, how have you found it?
Ryan Houghton: To be honest, it was really tough. This was my first season back since I broke my leg; I have a new team, new bike and have been building towards next season!
Q: What were your expectations for this season?
Houghton: My expectations are to have solid races and progressively build throughout the season.
Q: Do you feel that you are progressing?
Houghton: I definitely feel I have progressed a lot as a rider this season. I feel a lot more comfortable riding and being at the GPs now.
Q: Most of the best riders in the world for example Antonio Cairoli, Ken Roczen, Chad Reed etc. didn’t do well in their first year of racing the European championship or World Championship, but they never gave up on their dreams and now these riders have turned out to be the legends of our sport today. Does this give you added confidence that it is all a big learning curve?
Houghton: Yea, trying to break into the top level motocross is the hardest thing in the world. I have learned that when the going gets tough, the tough get going! You have to keep fighting no matter what and all of those riders never gave up and that’s why they are where they are now. I’m not a quitter! I will do whatever it takes to get there!
Q: Ok, so your method of attack; what does your training schedule look like?
Houghton: John van den Berg is now looking after me on and off the bike. During the off-season I spend 2-3 days every week in Holland with him. In race season; Monday is a rest day, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is a combination of cardio and bike technique as well as motos and sprints. Friday is again a rest day, and of course I race in the weekends!
Q: Coming into the MXGP Festival in Matterley Basin, that’s going to be your home race, do you feel any added pressure?
Houghton: Nope, not at all, I’m really looking forward to it! The team has worked really hard to get the bike suited to my riding style, we have got the bike spot on and everything’s looking good.
Q: What is it like being a part of a factory team; do you learn a lot from your team mates?
Houghton: Being a part of Steve’s (Dixon) team is special. He puts no pressure on me at all; all the boys support and help me. My team mates are top guys and if I have any issues I can always go to them for advice. My mechanic Myles is with me all the time to make sure everything bike wise is running smoothly.
Q: What’s the plan for next year? Do you plan to do another year in the EMX250?
Houghton: Yes! I can’t wait to do another season in the EMX250! The whole process is brilliantly laid out to bring through new riders up to GP level and into the GP’s and that is where I want to be.
Awesome Ryan! Thanks for the chat, keep chasing your dreams and we look forward to seeing your progress.