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Monster athletes compete in Thunder Valley National
NEWS

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Jun 022017

Team Tedder’s roots are in racing as a family activity. As you’re about to find out, nothing has changed.

If you’re from the Inland Empire of Southern California, or if you’ve been to many AMA Pro motocross or supercross races in the last few years, chances are good that you’ve seen the big, black Tedder Racing rig. The Tedder family has been a staple on the pro tour for more than half a decade, and in the amateur circuit for many years prior to that. Today, at the pro level, the team has even graduated to housing top factory-supported talent at the pro level; in the past, Ivan Tedesco, Nick Wey and Jake Weimer have raced under the Team Tedder awning. Team Tedder’s story is an interesting example of how just being good people can take you places. Here’s how Team Tedder came to be.

FAMILY FUN

Before “Team Tedder” was a thing, family patriarch Matt Tedder simply wanted something fun to do with his five sons. The boys, from the oldest to the youngest, are Matthew Jr., Chasen, Myles, Dakota, and then a six-year gap to Maxwell. Maxwell represented the last-ditch effort for Matt and his wife Christine to have a daughter.

 

Matt himself was a local pro in the ’80s, but he couldn’t chase that dream for too long. His father was a business owner, and Matt was going to have to take that business over at some point, so he eventually had to push the racing bug aside and went to school, got married, and started a family of his own. And the one thing he still knew and loved was the sport of motocross. His boys weren’t hard to convince, either.

 

“On the weekends, for recreation we would race motocross,” Matt Tedder said. “We wouldn’t go out and ride desert – we would actually motocross race. As a family we had this beat-up, old Winnebago and a crappy, old, enclosed trailer and every kind of bike you could think of with me and my five sons racing. Every color bike you could think. I’m maintaining all the bikes; bald tires, burned out clutches...”

 

For Matt, it was just a good time to spend with his family, but the boys eventually started becoming aware of some other racers who were quite a bit more serious about it. Dakota had befriended a young amateur standout named Blake Baggett, so he was inspired to do like Baggett was doing.

 

“I was probably 13 years old, or 14 and still just riding for fun,” Dakota said. “I was friends with Blake Baggett and his whole goal was to become a champion. For me it was just like to have fun riding. I just wanted to beat my brothers and have a good time at it on the weekend.”

 

“So they said, ‘Hey, dad, let’s give the nationals a try," Matt said. “Well, the only places we went to were Las Vegas and Mammoth. They were all young. Probably the youngest [Maxwell] was – I think we actually kind of fibbed a little bit on his age. You have to be maybe five years old to race and he was probably three or four, but he was a big kid. So, we got and we went to World Mini in Vegas and thoroughly got our butts kicked. So, the kids said they wanted to do better, so we trained for a whole year and did the World Mini again and really, really enjoyed it. But we would do World Mini and Mammoth, and that was pretty much it. Not driving across the country at all.”

 

And it was at Mammoth that things started to change for Team Tedder.

 

“Then I’m at Mammoth with me racing probably three or four classes, five sons, all racing three or four classes,” Matt said. “I have this handful of entry fees and the lines standing there to enter are big and long, so you’re talking to the guy next to you. This big guy I’m talking with, he says, ‘What team are you with? That’s a lot of entries!’ I started laughing. Turned out that was Craig Martin from Kawasaki. One thing led to another and a little while later, he asks, ‘How’d you like to ride Kawasakis?’ I said, ‘Oh, that’d be great!’ I thought he was joking. I said, ‘How much?’ Eventually a big truck shows up and a bunch of Kawasakis come out. It’s like, wow, this is fantastic. So, with that kind of support, we decided to start hitting the national circuit. Then one thing led to another...”

 

Matt was still racing in the +50 Master class, and he ended up winning a few national championships at Loretta Lynn’s racing in that age group. And then word came in that Monster Energy was looking for some more wholesome brand representation.

 

“You know, you travel across the country, and in the Midwest, you’d see Monster Energy advertised with girls in bikinis, and I guess it just wasn’t hitting,” Matt said. “So, Monster was looking for a ‘family with extreme values.’ Basically, a family who participates in extreme activities. Motocross is pretty extreme. That was us. We fight right in. As a family growing up, that’s just what we did on weekends, and then eventually we would take off six weeks a year take a family vacation and go dirt bike racing. We did that for the longest time.”

 

“We just kind of took it step by step and it was like we went from 65s in an age group and then we got to 85s, then it goes to like a B class or whatever...” Dakota said. “I just kept moving up from that to 250s and then eventually it was like, what’s the next step? And we turned pro...”

THE BIG LEAGUES

A couple of the Tedder kids turned out to be pretty good. Myles Tedder had won a C class Amateur title at the Mini Olympics in Florida one year, and Dakota was also competitive in the amateur ranks. Matt wondered if Myles and Dakota might be good enough to make it on the professional circuit.

 

“When the kids grew up and the oldest started going to school and things started winding down, two of the boys were pretty good,” Matt said. “I asked all the sponsors if they would mind if we gave these two boys a chance. Kawasaki told us, ‘Do you know that you sold more bikes with write-ins than anybody? More people wrote in talking about “that family on all the Kawasakis” than they did Ryan Villopoto as the reason they bought a Kawasaki. So, give it a try. Let Myles and Dakota try the professionals.’ And the thing is, they didn’t win much [as amateurs], but the very first pro race we went to, all the kids that were winning and beating Myles and Dakota? Some of them wouldn’t even qualify for the top 40. Myles and Dakota both qualified in the top 40 at a supercross, and Dakota made the main event his first time out!”

 

“I was so excited,” Dakota said. “I actually made my first main event at my first supercross at Anaheim. That was unreal. Most guys I think get nervous, and I was just excited. Literally I couldn’t be more excited. Then the next round I was just straight nervous. I had to back it up. I had all these expectations. My dad’s like, ‘You can get 15th. You could do this, you could do that.’ But the first round was like just, ‘Go have fun,’ and I crushed it. It was the coolest experience of my life. I’ll never forget the first race ever. Then I had a couple good years and then I just kind of strung on some injuries the last few.”

 

Although Myles quit racing in 2012, Dakota has kept after it.

 

“I’m kind of stoked no matter how far I make it in this sport because this is by far farther than I ever thought I’d be,” Dakota said. “From just a hobby when I was a child to being professional is definitely one of the coolest things ever.”

 

Dakota has been joined under the Team Tedder awning by some pretty incredible talent over the years, from former 250cc National MX and two-time 250cc SX champ Ivan Tedesco, to 250cc SX champ Jake Weimer, to longtime top pro Nick Wey.

 

“It was kind of an idea between Kawasaki and us that we could have a top-notch rider on our team,” Matt said. “That way, if something happened with someone under the Kawasaki tent, they could move from here over to there. It’s worked out well. They even looked at Josh Grant coming over here, and Josh did the right thing. He held out. [Laughs] That’s what you got to do when you’re as quality a rider as him.”

 

But the thing is, Team Tedder never was about results before. Dakota has his own goals to achieve, but the team exists because it was always about the family dynamic.

 

“The kids just did it for fun, you know?” Matt said. “But the better that we did, the more the sponsors started helping us out. And with the help of my construction company, Hampton-Tedder Electric, we’re still having fun at it. It’s pretty great!”

 

Dakota has been racing a 450 all year, and he says it suits his riding style way better. He earned number 59 one year, but was hurt the whole next year and never got to run it. His goal now is to just keep scoring points.

 

“I really just want to be in points every single race,” Dakota said. “I believe I can get 15th or even 10th on a spectacular day for me. To me, a 10th is a win. We didn’t have a whole lot of testing coming in [getting ready for the outdoor series] so it’s kind of tough right now. I’ve ridden like four outdoor days because I really focused in on supercross. I ended up doing well. I made the last two mains and rode well and I was stoked on that. So, I was stoked, but then obviously lack of preparation for outdoors – my bike setup, everything wasn’t exactly where I want it to be. It’s getting better day-by-day. I think you’ll just see me improving as the series goes on with my bike and myself. I have a lot to learn, too, in the 450cc class. I ended up hitting my head in supercross and broke a few ribs, and I missed three rounds because of that, but it’s not that big of a deal in this sport. If I can stay healthy, which was my number one goal all year, I think I can do it.”

 

So far, so good. Dakota Tedder scored his first point of the AMA Nationals with 20th place in the second moto at Glen Helen. He has 20 motos left.

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