Every year following the Monster Energy Supercross Series, racers have three options: Either take the Summer off, race the US nationals or look for another series to race in outside of the US. While most choose to follow the U.S. national circuit or take the Summer off, there are some that continue racing abroad, and one local racer that’s taken it upon himself to contest in another series is TWMX test rider Ryan Surratt. Surratt has been racing the 2017 Rockstar Energy Canadian Motocross Championship since the series kicked off in June, and he’s already enjoyed a couple impressive finishes in the early rounds. We checked in with Surratt last week at Glen Helen in between motos to discuss his rookie SX season along with his time in Canada so far.

You decided to head north for the Summer to contest the 2017 Rockstar Energy Canadian Motocross Nationals, and the series is heading into its fifth round. This is your first time racing in Canada, so talk about your time up there thus far…
It’s been good! Everything about the Canadian motocross series is different than the US series. I think the only hangup about the series – for me – is having to go through customs every time, but I really don’t mind the flying. The actual racetracks have been pretty good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the track at round one. The second and third round racetracks were pretty good, though, thanks to some perfectly timed rain. I think we got a little lucky in that sense because on both occasions the rain came the Friday before the race, and it had a chance to soak in all day Saturday before we raced on Sunday. I am also trying to get used to racing with a different group of people, so I’m constantly trying to figure out what they’re going to do.

What’s one thing about the Canadian Series that’s vastly different than the US nationals?
The racing and everything is somewhat similar in Canada, but one thing I noticed up there is that there seems to be a lot more comradery amongst the racers. After the races, everybody is shaking hands and high-fiving, whereas in the States everyone seems to go right back to their motorhomes. There’s just a different vibe in the pits.

You put in a couple impressive finishes so far in the series, so did you expect to accomplish that, let alone so early in the series?
I didn’t quite come into the series 100%, so my main goal was to aim for the top five every weekend. It was difficult at times, but I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been riding through the series.

What do you think of Canada? Do you like it up there?
Yeah, It’s cool. I think it depends on the city, though. Every city I’ve been to so far has been completely different, but I liked Calgary. Everyone says it’s an Americanized Canadian motocross track. Calgary is also considered to be the “desert” in Canada, which was funny to me because we clearly have two different definitions of the desert (laughs). For the most part, my time in Canada has been pretty enjoyable; especially since I’m getting to visit new places.

Now that you’ve experienced the professional ranks here in the US, how does it compare to the field of racers in Canada?
Just like in the US, the top guys in Canada typically run away from the rest of the field, however, the difference is in the number of top riders. In the US, it seems like the top 10 or 12 guys are capable of winning, whereas in Canada there’s usually five or so. Although there aren’t as many winning contenders up there, I can assure you there’s no lack of speed. Those guys are fast!

You just wrapped up your rookie season of Supercross and you even logged a 12th place finish. That’s a great accomplishment for a rookie, so looking back on it now, what was your impression of Supercross?
I thought it was really fun. I struggled a little bit at the first few rounds because it was hard to dial in a full-fledged SX track in eight minutes. The first few rounds I was obviously in the B and C practices, which can get a little chaotic at times, so I struggled to get in a good qualifying time sometimes. It takes a lot of those guys some time to dial in all of the jumps, and when they aren’t doing them they’re essentially creating traffic, so it’s hard to navigate around a bunch of riders while trying to do a sprint lap. I think I qualified 16th at the second round, and from the third round on I was able to ride in A practice, so that was a big help. Being out there with all of the factory guys makes it a little easier to qualify with a faster time because they themselves are a lot faster.