Interview: Dylan Wright reflects on his MXGP adventure

It’s been a brilliant year for Dylan Wright experiencing racing outside of Canada as he landed the opportunity to race the last five rounds of the MXGP World Championship after impressing at the Motocross des Nations. The Canadian really impressed despite the MXGP field being so deep as he was knocking on the door and battling in the top ten.  

Wright will be hoping he gets the opportunity to race more MXGP events next year but that all remains to be seen at the moment. We caught up with Wright at the recent Paris Supercross to discuss his season and more. 

GateDrop: Dylan, it’s been a great year for you starting your European adventure at the Motocross des Nations at Mantova. Can you just talk me through that day and racing against some GP riders there? 

Wright: It’s been a good year. I was able to get the championship once again in Canada and like you say come over and race the MXoN. It’s always nice to represent your country even though with COVID-19, it was a pain in the butt to get everything set to come over here. We were able to get it done and it’s always nice to come over to Europe for a trip. It was sick and I was able to show some good speed and showed a little bit what I’m capable off. The racing on Sunday was a little crappy with the weather and stuff but all in all it was a fun weekend and I enjoyed it. 

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GateDrop: Even though it was a pain to come over, it was worth it because out of it, you opened some doors to race the last five GP’s in Italy under the 114 Motorsports Honda team. How was your experience of doing those five GP’s? 

Wright: It was sick. At the MXoN I kind of showed what I’m capable of so a couple of teams give me a call to see if I could fill in for some guys that were injured. I had some conflicting sponsors with my contract still in Canada. I got on the phone with Gordon (Crockard) from Honda Europe and he found a stop for me at Honda 114. It was nice because I still had my race bike from Canada over here from the MXoN so I could still ride my own bike. It kind of felt like home a little bit. It took a little bit of an adjustment the first couple of rounds at Arco di Trento because that track is so different. It took some getting used to with the suspension setup and stuff but all in all, I had fun the last five rounds and I showed some speed of where I could finish if I did a whole series. One thing that kind of held me back was my starts but we don’t have gate starts in Canada so it’s something new. Since then I’ve actually built one to start to practice on at home so hopefully we get a little better at that. 

GateDrop: I don’t know too much about the sport in Canada but I assume most of the tracks are soft and sandy. How did Arco di Trento compare and had you ever raced a track like that before? It was slick and you needed a good throttle control!

Wright: Exactly, Arco is kind of a one off track with it being so hard pack and a lot of rocks. It was super slippery, in Canada we have some hard pack tracks obviously but nothing quite like that with the hills and stuff. I thought it was sick and it was really fun. The scenery there is insane, it’s quite a quite tight track in a few spots but all in all we made it work. It was a good experience. 

GateDrop: Obviously quite a lot of the top MXGP riders didn’t race the MXoN, how would you say the level compared between the last five GP’s at the MXoN this year? Did it surprise you or was it something you expected? 

Wright: I mean I watch the GP’s at home so I knew coming in what to expect. Obviously there was only like 2 guys in the top 10 at the MXoN so going in I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get inside the top ten. I was kind of able to make it happen in a few moto’s which was nice but yeah, the MXoN was weaker this year because of Covid and guys taking the weekend to rest mid championship which is understandable for them. It was a little bit weak but it made the racing at the GP’s a lot harder because everyone is grinding. That 5-15 pack you kind of flip flop every moto so it’s gnarly. 

GateDrop: I have to say you picked a hard year to come over because the top five was just insane, probably the fastest ever! Do you think top five results could be within your reach with a full winter over here? 

Wright: I mean as a racer I’d like to think that it is. We have some work to do if we are going to make it happen but we are within a second and a bit so normally my lap times are pretty close to the top five in the moto’s. It’s a matter of getting a start and having consistent lap times and maybe getting more used to the tracks. It would be nice to get my bike a little bit more dialed, I think it is achievable but it takes a lot of hard work to get to where those guys are. 

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Pic: Niklas Hampinen

GateDrop: You did 6 races and all in Italy which is quite strange, during a normal year I guess the next challenge for you would be to show the same speed in different countries and adapt to the different cultures. Is that something you’d look forward too and how did you find Italy? 

Wright: I mean travelling the world would be nice. Seeing some new Cities and new spots all over the world, it’s pretty sick if you get to travel for your job. Italy was sick but an adjustment from America obviously. Canada and America are quite similar with Canada being a lot smaller but the way we live is a lot different to over here in Europe – more so in Italy than here in Paris. The food and the culture is a lot different but it’s something you get used too. When you do it, you don’t have a choice, you just have to make it work. 

GateDrop: You did well in MXGP this year, I don’t think you could have done much more so how likely is it we’ll see you full time in MXGP next year – has there been any interest from teams? 

Wright: For 2022, I don’t know how probable it’ll be. I’ve been talking to a few teams but it’s tricky because I’m under contract with Honda Canada so for me it has to be a better deal for me to come over here. That is the tricky part but you will probably see me over here in the future. It’s something I really want to do but I just don’t know if I can make it happen in 2022 but we will see. 

GateDrop: Worst case if you didn’t land an MXGP ride, I believe you’re more of an MX rider than SX so would you look to do AMA Nationals? 

Wright: For sure. I am looking at going to race faster guys than Canada at the moment so MXGP or USA is kind of where you need to go. USA is closer to home but I mean the World Championship is pretty bad ass so it’s kind of 50-50. I don’t know but I’d like to do a little bit of everything to be honest – race my championship in Canada, race some GP’s and then race some US Nationals too. If there’s a race I want to race it!

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Niklas Hampinen