Hometown: Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Sponsors: TXS Productions, Grass Roots Husqvarna, Lambert’s Cafe, Advanced Automotive, Cycle Works, Bill’s Pipes, Fly Racing, ProTaper, Works Connection, Motul, Forma Boots, EKS Brand Goggles, 719 Graphics, Goldentyre West, Mind FX, Schmidt Performance, Shades of Gray, Findit Sports, Dubya, Mobius, Streamline Brakes, Acerbis, Motostuff, Motoseat, VP Fuels, and Combs Motorsports.
Ronnie Ford is not your typical Supercross privateer. In addition to being 43-years young, the Missouri racer opts to pilot a Husqvarna TC250 two-stroke. Though he has yet to qualify for a night show, he’s developed a cult following in the pits, and he plans to contest the entire 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series!
You’ve been to every round thus far, but do you plan on doing the entire series?
Yes, I am planning on doing the whole series.
Why do you choose to ride a Husqvarna TC250?
I’ve ridden for a very long time, and I was even a privateer at one point in the late 90s. I rode a two-stroke back then and when I decided to race again at the age of 43 I wanted to ride another 250 two-stroke because I enjoy the bike. I’m not out here to compete with Ryan Dungey, so I figured why not do it on a bike that the fans can appreciate. That was the primary reasoning behind the two-stroke.
It’s strategic to ride a two-stroke right now because they are always a fan favorite, but you prefer the bike, as well, right?
Yeah, exactly. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get the sponsors that I needed, but regardless of with my lap times the people still like to see the bike out there, and I knew that would get some sort of press.
You’re now in your early 40s, but you said you race professionally when you were younger. How old were you then?
I was 24 when I started and I raced professionally until I was 30. I think I began racing professionally in the early 90s, but I’ve consistently raced since my high school days.
What made you decide to line up for Supercross at the age of 43?
I’ve been going to Loretta Lynn’s over the past couple of years to race in the old man classes. I have some friends that told me that I could make it as a SX racer and I believed them, so I got a couple sponsors and here I am.
How has Supercross changed since your time racing in the 90s?
The tracks are completely different. The obstacles are a lot closer together now and the lines that form on the track are good if you’re riding a four-stroke, so that makes things a little harder for me. The triples were a lot easier to do back then on a 250 two-stroke because they were longer so you didn’t have to worry about over jumping it. That’s a problem that I’m dealing with right now; my timing.
You’re racing the entire series. Do you have a 9-5 desk job during the week or are you a financially independent guy?
No, I’m not that kind of guy (laughs). I own a restaurant hood cleaning service, so everything I earn from that goes into my racing fund, which is starting to look a little empty so I’m trying to pick up some more sponsors to make it through the rest of the series.
Is this a midlife crisis or are you fulfilling a dream?
Yeah, definitely fulfilling a dream. The opportunity that I have right now as far as sponsorship goes is the best I’ve ever had. I have more sponsors now than I did back in the 90s and I am receiving even better support. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I wasn’t going to pass it up. It’s no midlife crisis because I have an amazing girlfriend (laughs).
It has to be a cool feeling to see the fan response that you’re getting because of your bike, right?
Exactly. I’ve had some trouble making it into the night show, but the fans have always been there for me. They’ve even been there waiting for me at my trailer at the end of the night just to get autographs. That’s something that I’m not used to and it’s a great feeling. The fans love to see and hear the bike as I ride through the pits and some of them even cheer the whole time. It really is crazy to see how much love there is just because I’m riding a two-stroke.
Is there a way for the fans to follow you on social media?
Yeah, @ronniefmx187 on Instagram and Ronnie Ford on Facebook.