Former World Champion and AMA 250MX race winner Tyla Rattray will close a 15 year professional career at the end of the current 2015 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship.
The South African, who sat out last weekend’s Grand Prix of Germany at Teutschenthal with a back complaint, spoke about his decision publicly for the first time at the 10th round of the series.
“I’ve had a great career and I’m happy with what I have done but I’ve decided the end of this year will be enough,” said the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team rider. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. Just the thought of going into the next off-season and doing that amount of work and preparation, I think I am mentally not ready for that. When a time like that comes then I guess it is the moment to hang it up.”
The 30 year old came back to MXGP from the U.S. for the 2014 term but suffered a concussion as well as a broken finger and damaged thumb ligaments. He mutually parted company with the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Racing Team before the end of the season and then linked up with Ryan Villopoto at KRT.
A best result of sixth in the first moto in Holland was the highest classification so far as Rattray and Villopoto looked to resolve set-up issues in the opening races.
“You have to stop one day and I don’t want to hold onto that piece of rope and keep getting dragged along. The guys here are fast,” he said. “If I have a good race and I feel good I could probably get a third place…but then I’ve been used to racing for first. There are young guys coming up with more intensity and are taking more risks than I would. It is something that is always in the back of your mind. I basically don’t have the balls like those guys anymore!”
Rattray, a married father of two, admits that the chance to be team-mate to Villopoto delayed plans he had been considering at the end of 2014. “With Ryan coming over last year it was motivating for me to go another season. It was already getting hard at the end of 2014 but with Ryan signing I thought I’d have someone to try, push and improve with what was the fastest guy in the world on a motorcycle. I can see where I am speed-wise with him.
“Ryan getting hurt was part of the sport and it could have been me in that situation. Working with Ryan always kept me pushing forward in the motos and in the training. There was always a goal. The thought of signing another contract and going into the off-season doing all that work by myself was tough mentally. I know that in this sport if you don’t put in a solid off-season then you are going to get spanked when it comes to the first round. I want to finish this year strong and try and get into the top five; a podium would be awesome and we’ll try for that.”
Rattray says that he is not clear on future plans just yet but expects to stay involved with the sport in some capacity. “Will I miss it? 100 per cent. It is all I have ever known since I was five years old,” he commented. “It will definitely feel different watching but I am looking forward to it. The World Championship and the AMA are very different and I’ve seen and lived those differences. I have a lot of experience about how racing works and how it feels. There is no rush to jump onto something now. My main goal is to focus on this series now because we still have eight races to go.”