Alberta native Ryan Davis, 29, bought his first quad in 2002 and hit the trails. But recreational riding wasn’t enough for him so Davis got into ATV racing—first arenacross and then he joined Alberta’s outdoor circuit. By 2005, Davis had worked his way up into the pro class. Four years later, he started racing on the Peace Motocross Association (PMA) series. Davis finished out 2010 and 2011 as the champion of the PMA’s pro ATV class. His winning streak continued on into 2012 and this year, Davis claimed the top spot in the pro class for the Alberta Triple Crown ATV Series.
In a recent interview, RidersWest asked Davis about his secret to winning as well as his plans for next season.
First of all, where are you from? Right now, I’m living in Grande Prairie, Alberta, but I was raised in Ardrossan, Alberta.
What do you race? A Suzuki LTR 450.
How did you get into the sport? My friends weren’t trail riding enough with me. I wanted to ride more but I didn’t know if there was quad racing around. I was working at Totem Building Supplies right after school and a guy pulled in with a 400 EX and he had a number on the back of his quad. I ran over to him and asked why he had a number on his quad. He said, “I race,” so I said, “You’re going to have to tell me where you race ’cause I want to race too.” At the time it was October and he said, “The next race we have is called arenacross.” So my very first race was at the Camrose Arenacross.
You dove right into it. Oh yeah, dove right into the fence!
What was your first win? My first big win was in 2003 at the Western Canadian Amateur Nationals in Raymond, Alberta. I was in the beginner class.
What does it take to be a winner? Not (being) scared to get some air. Technical jumps are my favourite. I’m not the best in cornering but when it comes to jumps—everyone says it for themselves—I land very smooth and the only reason I land it smooth is I don’t want to wreck my quad. So just very calm riding and finesse. (Also), being a winner in the quad racing industry, I think, (relates to) being your own mechanic. Working on your quad is super important. Maintenance was my big partnership in winning.
How did you set your quad up for racing? I have a race track at my parents’ place and I set my shocks all the way off, did some laps and then I set them all the way on. Trial and error was my way of setting up my quad's suspension. Also, I keep the frame and motor bone stock.
What kind of gear do you need to get into the sport? Probably the biggest thing I would spend money on are boots. I want a stiff boot. Always think of Plan B because Plan A never happens. Plan B is if you crash it seems like your ankles always get twisted so I wanted the most solid boot I could find. I’m very happy with those Sidis. They’re like the most underrated boot in the industry, I think. And then you need a solid chest protector that protects your arms, chest and back as well as gloves, a helmet and goggles.
What are your plans for next season? I want to hit it up hard one more time. I never asked for sponsorship before but now I’m looking for sponsorship—do up my quad a bit with their help and go hard for next year. I’m just going to do the Alberta Triple Crown series.
What will you be up to during the winter? Sledding in the mountains. I’m so addicted to it.