The Valli Motorsports/Rockstar Yamaha team recently announced the signing of long-time off-roader Ricky Dietrich to a contract that will see him racing this summer's outdoor motocross series, in addition to a select number of off-road races. Dietrich is best known for his off-road achievements, which includes an AMA EnduroCross title and a WORCS title. He also led the US Junior Trophy Team to a first-place trophy at the ISDE in New Zealand in 2006. However, for 2011, Dietrich has a run at the AMA National Motocross series on his mind. Two years ago, the Washington native set in for an injured Ryan Villopoto on the factory Monster Energy Kawasaki team and posted some pretty amazing finishes for a part-timer, including a fifth in Texas. Dietrich now feels with a full off-season of testing and preparation he can be a consistent top-five finisher.
What events are you planning on riding this year?
I'm planning on doing the entire outdoor series, that's my main focus, but I will also do a couple of WORCS races and at least one Endurocross.
You had some really strong finishes in the motocross series a few years ago. Has that been your plan all along, to ride motocross full time?
When I filled in for Villopoto and showed I can run that pace, then it's been in my head ever since. Last year Kawasaki didn't give me the opportunity to continue motocross as a fill-in rider, so that's when the deal with Valli kind of came up. This gives me the opportunity to basically do what I want to do.
Did you ride any motocross growing up as a kid?
I raced both motocross and off-road when I was growing up. I really wasn't fast enough to go to the amateur nationals, so I didn't go. I just fell into WORCS because it kind of fit. I did motocross and off-road locally in Washington and WORCS was kind of new at the time so I got into it. I think when I got on the big bikes was when I finally saw my true speed and talent coming around. I started doing well with WORCS and I just stuck with it. WORCS is kind of like motocross - off-road and motocross all in one. So it kind of fit for me.
What is the plan going forward? When will you start testing and getting ready for the motocross series?
Right now I've had a bike for about two weeks and they just gave me a basic set-up and told me to just get used to the bike. I've been going to the track and getting in a lot of time on the bike. I was going to do the WORCS race this past weekend but I ended up having too much to take care of, so we back out of that.
What about ISDE? Is that something you will still be involved in?
Yes, I didn't go to Mexico this year because we thought it would be too much with EnduroCross and everything. But this year, I'm not sure. The coolest thing about being with Valli is it's not a very corporate-structured company and I can kind of do what I want. I've talked to the owner and he comes from WORCS and now he's full motocross and Supercross and he kind of left it up to me to decide what I want to do. Motocross is my new priority, but if I want to go do something else then I can. ISDE is still one of my main goals as a race; no American has ever won that event and I think between me and Kurt Caselli, I think one of us could do that for sure.
Have you set goals for yourself for the motocross series?
I would like to be top-five, for sure. When I filled in for Villopoto, I was just going for top 10 and I was consistently top-10 with a top-five finish. So going into this year with a full off-season of preparation my goal is to be top-five with a podium or two.
Thanks, Ricky. We'll be looking for the #539 Yamaha YZ450F on the motocross tracks this summer.