One of the most interesting additions to this weekend’s SLAM Pro Race roster is Ryan Hughes. A veteran of the sport, “Ryno” has been racing since before some of his competitiors were even born, but his speed and fitness are as sharp as ever. Though he is off the professional circuit, his life may actually be busier than ever by training riders, running a gym, and managing the Rynopower supplement brand. We got a few minutes of his time on Sunday night to talk about his expectations for this weekend.
How did the idea of you racing the SLAM this year come up?
Warren Johnson asked me if I wanted to do the Industry Cup for Fox, since I am an employee of them in the testing department, and I thought it sounded pretty fun. They said that the SLAM is on Saturday and that it is five grand to win and a cover, and I thought, "I could use five grand and my company could use a cover." I'll never know if I don't try.
No offense, but if you get the cover, you may be our oldest cover star. How many times have you been on the cover of any magazine?
I had it with Racer X probably four times, once with TransWorld, Motocross Action, and all the rest. But it has been a while since TransWorld.
Will you have to switch your riding style any? You are more known for your endurance in events like A Day in the Dirt and the Coup de Grace.
The biggest thing is that I just switched bikes. I got a new Suzuki 450 the other day and I have only ridden it one time. I have it all done with Factory Connection, DRD, and the engine, but I don't have it all figured out or feel 100-percent yet. I should probably be able to ride three times this week and hopefully will be able to figure it out by Saturday. Race wise, I think I am very good at sprinting. I'm a very fast starter, which will go into my hands on that race, but I am not 20 years old. We will see how fast I can be in the beginning and how many times I can (Laughs).
And you are not afraid of getting aggressive…
Of course not. I like to race hard, but I don't like to race hard and slam and bump people or have them do the same to me, but if that is what the race calls for, it is what I will bring out.
How have you spent the year from the last time we talked at Day in the Dirt? I know you just got back from the Vet des Nations in Europe, you have been running Rynopower, and raced Hangtown.
Yeah, I just did the Vet des Nations last month. It was a blast. I had a great time riding old bikes against racers I used to go against in the GPs and being on a team with a lot of my heros. After that, I did some schools in Colorado at Thunder Valley and it went really well. But other than that, I have just being getting the bikes ready, do the training, do the gym work, work on the new Rynopower gym website, which is going good, and staying on top of the supplements. It is a constant battle through the day, and then to keep kids, a wife, and hobbies, so I don't rest (Laughs).
That's not necessarily a bad thing, because at least they are the things you like.
It keeps me out of trouble.
Even though you only have a limited amount of time on the bike, how different does it feel than the Yamaha?
It feels different. There are some things that are better, but there are some I am not as comfortable with yet. I just have to work through those bugs and get it figured out, just to go out to have a good time and give it my best shot. If I don't try, I won't know if I can win this thing or not, and I can't get through life guessing or wondering, "What if I did that?"