Hard-working, down-to-earth and talented as anything on a bike, pro rider Ryan Millar is dominating the Manitoba motocross scene. The 21-year-old from Miami, Manitoba, has held the No. 1 plate in the province for the last two years, and he is ready to once again defend his title.
This year, Millar is also trying for top 10 in the CMRC Canadian Motocross Nationals. That means competing at all 10 rounds of the nationals—the first of which takes place in Nanaimo, B.C., at the Wastelands Motocross Track on May 31.
With snow still on the ground at his home track in Manitoba, Millar headed down to a training facility in Oklahoma for two weeks of prep in early March.
Motocross is a demanding sport, and to ride at a pro level, one must be in top physical shape.
“(It takes) a lot of endurance training,” said Millar. “I ride my road bike and my training program is all endurance-based.”
Then there’s the mental game.
“The biggest thing is trusting in yourself and believing in yourself,” he said, “and moving forward at your own speed. A lot of it is just staying focused on what you are doing and not on what everyone else is doing.”
Growing the sport
Millar is on the executive for the Manitoba Motocross Association (MMA), and he will be hosting the MMA’s rider development clinics this year. Millar hosted the clinics back when he was riding at an amateur level. He will be joined by former provincial pro motocross champion Josh Penner. The dates for the three clinics have been confirmed and they will all take place early in the season.
The MMA clinics are geared toward beginner and novice riders. Millar will also be offering separate one-on-one clinics, which can be tailored to different skill levels.
According to Millar, the number of rider entries for races in Manitoba has dropped in the last six or so years. He and Penner are hoping that they and the MMA can put some fire back into the motocross community.
“You used to be able to make good money racing provincial races, but it kind of fell off for a while,” said Millar. “We’re trying to get rider entries and the pro payout back up.”
Competitive to the core
Apart from the everyday duties of a grain farmer, Millar spends the majority of his time on the track, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s not a team sport,” he said. “I don’t have to rely on anyone else . . . it’s just myself and that’s what I like about it; I’m the only one at fault so I can figure out where I went wrong or where I can improve. It’s an addiction.”
Tips from a pro
These are professional motocross rider Ryan Millar’s top tips for new riders:
1. Never look at what’s right in front of you; always look ahead. Staring down at your front fender will disrupt your balance.
2. Remember to breathe. If you are uptight while riding, you will fatigue much faster, and fatigue leads to rider error and injury.