With his rides at Daytona and New Orleans on a Yamaha YZ125, Ricky Renner had some fun, and stirred some controversy by riding a 144 at Daytona…and being outspoken about it. He garnered a bunch of support, and gave two-stroke fans something to cheer about in an injury-plagued season. We chatted with him in the pits at New Orleans before racing started to see what he was up to.

Q: How much fun have you been having with this 125/whatever?

A: No, it’s a 125. I’ve been having a blast with it, man. It was so fun getting ready, riding it a little bit before Daytona, racing Daytona on it, and then racing New Orleans on it. It’s just been a blast riding the thing. I’ve had so much fun getting ready and just riding a 125. It’s been awesome.

Q: Is half of the entertainment how fired up people get about it?

A: Yeah. Some people get a little more fired up than others. There has been a whole thing here on Vital, the forum has been going crazy. There were, like, 35,000 views. People have just been non-stop talking about it. Even since Daytona, like a month ago. And it’s just been non-stop. People are emailing me, trying to get a hold of me… People have just been going crazy for the thing.

Q: So, you actually get quite a bit of support from the guys on there, too, don’t you?

A: Yeah. A lot of the guys on there are die-hard two-stroke. Most fans are die-hard two-stroke. But, the guys have been helping support. They want to see it out there just as bad as I want to ride it out there. People have been helping get me to every race. They know that if I’m doing it on a two-stroke I have no support getting there. People have stepped up and helped me out a lot.

Q: So, 144 or 125 in Daytona?

A: Daytona was a 144. People were asking me about it so I just went ahead and told people after the race was over, yeah, it was a 144. No big deal. I didn’t care. Then people at AMA, they had heard about it. Then people started bashing AMA for not catching it before the race. And then it kind of turned into a bigger deal towards the end. I got here to New Orleans and I showed up to a random protest on my bike already. I guess that’s what you get; if you say you were riding something bigger, they’re gonna make sure you’re not. So, I’ve got a 125 here and I guess they’re going to stamp it and take it apart later. So we’ll see what happens.

Q: They do have to do their job though.

A: For sure. I’m a hundred percent for them taking it apart. They were going to take it apart before practice and I wasn’t really pumped on that just because we have no spare parts. If they rip a gasket or whatever, we’re not going to be able to get any parts for it. Nobody at the track has parts for that thing. But after the race, no problem. If they suspect someone’s got a big bore or whatever they want, I feel like they should go through it. Nobody here wants to protest someone else. I think that they should keep a level playing field for people.

Q: Kind of doing this whole thing, are you trying to support a little policy change in two-stroke rules and the size thing?

A: Yeah. I think if we can make a 125, I don’t think a 250 two-stroke should be legal for our class, but it would be competitive with the Pro Circuit bikes. I don’t think the Pro Circuit bikes are…I honestly don’t think they’re legal for our class. I’m sure there is stuff in those that’s probably stuff that we can’t even get. I think a 125, you should be able to go as big as you want. A 144, a 167, would be ideally competitive with a normal, good 250F.

Q: Is there anybody you want to thank?

A: BTO stepped up. They helped me out big time. Enjoy Manufacturing, Fly, UFO, Dunlop, Scott… Everybody that’s been helping me out throughout the whole thing. Vortex, ICW… I can’t even really think of everyone. Especially just for the two-stroke stuff. The guys at, they stepped up big time. Everybody that’s been on Vital; all the members on there have been helping me out a lot. There have just been a lot of guys that have come up and supported just this thing to do some one-off races. DEP Pipes, and I’ve got to give a special thanks to all those guys.

Q: Did Eric Gorr help you out, too?

A: Yeah, Eric Gorr helped me out. We had a motor built and we weren’t too sure what was going to happen with the random tear-down stuff going on. We decided just to run a stock 125 in it and see what happened. But he definitely helped me out big time and was going to throw together something for me and build me a real good 125. But we had limited options with the whole situation. But he definitely was there to help me, for sure.

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