Randy Lawrence is one of those guys who’s been accompanying riders to the gate for around 15 years in varying capacities. That gives him an interesting perspective on the last bits of information that get fed into a rider’s head before the gate drops.
During his time as a mechanic, Randy worked with guys as varied as Jeremy McGrath and Ezra Lusk, and now is a trainer with Nick Wey and Ryan Villopoto, so he’s experienced quite a few different personalities. What does he recommend for aspiring mechanics? “All that really depends on the rider. Some riders you need to calm down a little bit for the start, and some riders you need to hype ’em up. It just depends on the rider and the relationship that you have with them. If they’re high-strung and you know them well enough, it might be something funny that happened that day, or something silly that only he’ll understand.” Randy suggests that for riders that are on the low-strung side, revving the bike a little more than normal while they’re sitting on the gate can help boost their adrenalin.
These days as a trainer, Randy still gets his rider’s heads a little bit. “I’m in a little different position now, but before they go to the gate, I still talk to them about what they’ve done all week, where they expect themselves to be.” Of course, Randy still has his favorite bit of final advice for his riders when they head to the gate. “I tell them to look at the first turn, pick their spot to go, and don’t let anybody dictate where you go in that first turn. That’s your spot.”