Rider Spotlight: Ryan Wells
NEWS April 19, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Talk about starting a rookie season off right. You won at Daytona Flat Track in your second ever AMA Pro Flat Track Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles race.
RW: Yeah! It was good once we got everything figured out the second day. The first day didn’t go exactly as we had planned. The main thing is that usually, through practice, you go out and get used to the bike and gearing. When race time comes around, you have 60 something guys trying to make a 33 rider show.
AMAP: So, you think it was just a matter of getting your bike dialed in properly?
RW: Yeah, plus it was my very first pro race, so I didn’t know what to expect. That was also my only second time on the Weirbach Racing bike. We’re still learning stuff, and we figured out a couple things that might’ve hurt me on day one. We changed them back on day two, and it helped a lot.
AMAP: Where are you from?
RW: I’m from Albion, NY. I started racing at a local track, Crusaders TT, when I was four years old. Basically, my racing career came from my dad. He retired when I was born, and got me into it. I started riding when I was three and started racing at four.
AMAP: Fill us in on how it’s progressed from there..
RW: I raced on local tracks on 65cc bikes. Then we met Phillip and James Rispoli when we were getting ready to move up to the 80cc bikes. I trained with James, and they pushed me into the amateur nationals. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.
AMAP: Now, you were one of the top amateur dirt trackers in the country…
RW: Correct. Briar Bauman and I went for the AMA Horizon Award that year. He was 15, and I was 14 years old. It really came down to whoever won the Springfield Mile to taking the Horizon Award. We were separated by only a few points. I was excited to race with Briar this year, but he moved up to the Expert class. I can’t blame him though, because he’s so fast.
AMAP: You’ve got some good backing. How did Weirbach Racing come onboard?
RW: James Rispoli raced for them two years ago, and we discussed getting me a ride for the Pro Singles class. They’re very dedicated and will do whatever they need to do to make me happy on the bike.
AMAP: Moving towards Springfield, you must be excited to get on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
RW: I’ve actually raced there for the past three years in the amateurs, and have gotten 1st and 2nd place all the time. The only person I’ve gotten 2nd to is Hayden Gillim. I’m pretty excited to go there.
AMAP: Out of all the motorcycles you’ve ridden, what would you say is your favorite motorcycle?
RW: I can say that since 65cc dirt track bikes, I’ve only been on strictly Hondas. Phillip and James have always been on Hondas.
AMAP: How do you think you’ve adapted to riding in AMA Pro Flat Track?
RW: Well, since the first race in Daytona, I feel that I’ve progressed a lot. I’ve ridden a few local races and I feel good. It’s weird to explain the change, but I’ve learned to be more patient.
AMAP: What obstacles do you see ahead of you when progressing throughout the season?
RW: I’ve never really been big on changing stuff with the bikes, but now working with Weirbach Racing, everything’s setup for Mikey Martin, and every rider’s different. I’m being more lenient and open minded in wanting to make changes to the bike.
AMAP: What expectations are you setting for yourself in 2012 with Weirbach Racing and it being your rookie season in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles?
RW: The main goal is to get faster. I highly doubt I see myself absolutely smoking everyone, but racing with people the same speed as me isn’t going to help. I need to be chasing the top guys, which is what Briar did. I think it’d be the best thing for me, but nothing’s set in stone yet.
AMAP: Who is your racing hero?
RW: James Rispoli. Ever since I met him, I’ve looked up to him. He actually lived with my family for a couple months, and we trained on 100cc bikes. Our sisters actually knew each other over the internet, and that’s how we met. He was from New Hampshire and then moved to Attica, N.Y. It made it easier for us to go riding and train together.