Rick Burton #484
Bike: 2012 KTM 450XC-W
Class: Pro/Open A
Home Series: MWXC/IXCR
Other: GNCC, NEPG, WFO, D14
Rick Burton has worked hard to accomplish winning three class championships and two overall championships while working long hours and raising a busy family. XCRN got the opportunity to sit down with Rick to find out the details.
I see that you took home the Championship in Open A class last year at MWXC. Tell me how you accomplished that and what hurdles that you had to overcome to do so.
I stood in line at the first race of the year undecided on which class to sign up for. I reluctantly decided to go with Open A. As a 43 year old I knew I would have my work cut out for me. Just before the start of the first race I told my oldest son: I will probably go out there and get smoked. He replied with you’ll be fine, you got this! Once I went out and won the first MWXC Open A class, I knew I could hang out with the young guys. My main objective was to stay consistent throughout the season. Then the unthinkable happened, I broke my foot six days before round 7 of MWXC and the injury would require surgery. This was a difficult obstacle to overcome. I had to make a decision to either give up the championship or race with a broken foot, six days after surgery. I decided to race with the broken foot and push through the pain, ultimately winning the Open A championship as well as the overall MWXC Championship.
Tell me more about how you broke your foot and how you overcame that.
I actually broke my foot playing Frisbee with my daughter. When I went to the doctor, I told them that I had a race in six days and I really needed to race. He told me we could wait until after that but I had another race shortly after so I decided to go ahead and do the surgery. He said if I decided to race after surgery that I couldn’t hurt it any more than it was already hurt. So, when it came race day, I didn’t know if I’d race or not but I ended up putting my gear on. I couldn’t get my foot in the boot, so I took the inside of my boot apart and got my foot in. I duct taped all around the outside for extra support. When I started I told myself not to push it too hard, that I just needed to finish. I think that I ended up 4th place in that race. But, I had to race it to stay in the running for the overall championship. Because at my age, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to accomplish it again.
For 2017 you moved up to Pro row, how is that going so far? How does the competition stack up?
It has been difficult, the pro guys run a really fast pace right from the start. I have been making mistakes by trying to run a pace that I don’t normally run. But, the more I race with them the more I learn and the faster I get. I hope to continue to improve as the season goes on.
Your oldest son races with you but he lines up in B lite, how is it lining up knowing that he is behind you and you could meet up in the woods at any point?
I think it is pretty cool sharing a passion of mine with both of my sons, Corey and Riley. We have met up on the course and always cheer each other on. Finishing a race safely is always a priority so their safety is always in the back of my mind. On the drive home we talk about the different lines we took and where we can improve for the upcoming races.
Tell me a little bit about a typical race week for you? What kind of prep do you do? How do you get your bike and your kids bikes ready for a race?
This is the most difficult part of racing. My job requires me to work long hours and sometimes work between 60 and 80 hours in a week. My youngest son Riley also plays travel baseball which requires a lot of time. My daughter Anna is in swimming, girl scouts, and a run club. There is not much time left over for anything else. I very seldom have time to ride during the week so pretty much the only seat time we get is at the races. There are times where we are up until two o’clock in the morning trying to get everything ready for a race weekend. My son Corey is a big help and will do the necessary bike maintenance when I am too busy with work or when I just can’t get to it.
When did you start racing? What row did you line up on then and how has it changed for you?
I raced motocross in my mid-twenties on a quad. I had a lot of injuries so I decided to walk away from it for awhile. I started riding dirt bikes when my oldest son was about 12 years old. I decided to try to race cross country when I was about 39 years old. My first race, I signed up for Vet B. My first few races I struggled just to finish. My fitness was well below what it needed to be. About halfway through the season I changed my diet and lost 30 lbs. After getting in shape I began to win a lot of races and I was pretty much hooked from that point on. After winning a Vet B championship, I moved up a class every year. I have won 3 class championships and two overall championships now.
What are your plans for the future? What are your hopes for your children in this sport?
My future plans are to have fun and stay consistent. Someday I would like to race an entire GNCC series. I want to see my children continue to enjoy the sport and most importantly stay safe. My oldest son, Corey, started racing in 2015 and he races B class so we get to race together. My youngest son, Riley races in the 85 class this year. He started last year but only got to race a couple of races because he plays travel baseball. But, he decided that this year he wanted to focus more on racing so we told the coach that we wouldn’t be playing this year. The coach said he wanted him on the team so he has worked with us and Riley gets to play most of the games and continue to race.
I just hope that one day I can look back and say: Remember when I was faster than you guys and now look at you.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank for your success in this sport?
First of all I need to thank my wife, Kim. Without her, none of this would be possible. She pushes me to stay fit while preparing healthy meals and keeps me on my toes. I’d like to thank the group of great friends that I ride and race with for pushing one another to always improve and cheer each other on: Corey Burton, Riley Burton, Ryan Mottinger, Ken O’Connor, Mike Bruce, Wyatt Bruner, and Jason Herring. I would also like to thank my sponsors: Maxxis Tires, Cycle Sport, Yamaha KTM, KTM North America, Fly Racing, Rekluse, Unabiker, Spyke’s KTM, MX-Tech Suspension, Flexx Handlebars, Acerbis, Spider Graphix, Cutting Edge Coatings, Matthew Sands TuBliss, MAZ Photography, Square1 Photography, and Pivitworks.
If I was talking to your best friend, what is one thing that they would say that you need to work on?
My wife would tell me to stay out of the junk food; however my sons and I can’t wait to get some ice cream after a long day of racing!
Rick has a passion for this sport and it shows in the amount of hardware that he has acquired. He works hard to ensure that his family gets to do the things that they are passionate about as well. He has a supportive wife and racing truly is a family sport for them. We wish you the best of luck and hope that everyone stays safe.
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