A New Motivation for Ronnie Renner
Losing his Step Up crown still stings, but being left out of the medals completely has reinvigorated Moto X competitor Ronnie Renner. As he approaches his 23rd X Games appearance, Renner is motivated, even at 40 years of age.
"I've had some close losses in the past, but getting 4th was a kick in the pants," Renner says of his finish, his first time placing outside the top 3 in XG Step Up since 2002. "It didn't sit well with me; it still has me fired up."
At XG Austin 2016, Renner hoped to become the first Moto X athlete to win gold in four straight competitions. But he knew almost immediately that the Step Up setup wasn't good for him. The venue received heavy rain, and rules changes designed to speed up the competition no longer allowed competitors to do course work during the event. Renner, who frequently manipulated the run-in between attempts, was affected.
Following three years outside in Austin, Renner is excited to return indoors for the first time since X Games LA 2013. "Even though I won twice in Austin, I was never really all that comfortable there," he says. "I think in 2015 I just pulled it out of the seat of my pants at the last second. I've always preferred doing it inside. It just seems more natural."
Renner is the third-most successful Moto X athlete in X Games history, with 14 total medals. At X Games Minneapolis 2017, he has a chance to join Travis Pastrana for the most Moto X gold in history (9).
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think it was cool," Renner admits. "The funny thing that happens with age, though, is that ego goes away and you don't worry about things like that. The things we do are too dangerous to get caught up in that world. I've exceeded any expectations and been involved with things that I never imagined were possible, so I'm pretty stoked on how my career has gone. Any of that other stuff is a bonus."
While Renner has been competing at X Games for nearly two decades, don't expect him to step away yet. "I have a couple more years in me," he says. "I know I really want to get another gold before I lock anything down."
- DOB: 06/10/1977. Age 40
- 8 XG gold medals: 7 from Step Up; 2015 Real Moto. 14 XG medals total: 11 Step Up, 2 Real Moto, 1 Speed & Style. 2017 is his 23rd on-site X Games appearance.
- Has competed in an incredible 19 straight X Games summer events dating to 2001, the most consecutive X Games for any Moto X athlete in history. The amazing feat is a testament to his toughness and calculated risk-taking.
- The 22 on-site XG starts are tied with Jeremy Stenberg for most Moto X appearances in X Games history. Renner will break that tie when he takes a Step Up attempt at XG Minneapolis.
- Oldest athlete scheduled to compete in 2017 Step Up. Third oldest in all of Moto X.
- Doesn't practice for Step Up. Says it's too hard on his body and, "The lip is different at every competition so you can cheat yourself by making a step up at home."
- 2017: Bought 10 acres north of Tampa where he grew up and built a motocross compound. Says he hopes to move his family there eventually. He'll split time preparing for X Games between there and CA. Says Florida may be featured in his 2017 Real Moto edit. The track has elevation changes and, Ronnie says, freeride potential.
- A pioneer of quarterpipe air -- jumped 63'5" on one in Chicago on July 25, 2009 -- but has mixed feelings about entering QuarterPipe High Air at XG. "It was a really cool event, and I was the first guy to really give it a chance. Ego tells me to go show these boys what's up, but the guy that respects these other riders coming up is like, 'Hey dude, don't bite off more than you can chew.' There's something that scares me about that event. I've said it since day one: You do not want to crash doing quarterpipe. It is a sudden stop at the end. There's not a lot of momentum working on your side."
- On XG Austin 2016 Step Up co-gold medalist, Jarryd McNeil: "I've known him since he was about 15 or 16, and I always knew he was going to be a standout someday. It didn't really surprise me when that scrappy little dude found his way to the front."
- On XG Austin 2016 Step Up co-gold medalist, Libor Podmol: "I've traveled around the world and competed with him, so I know he's that 'go for broke' dude. He's not scared to do what he has to do to win."
- Will ride a 2017 KTM factory edition 450 SXF. Claims the bike is a lot closer to stock than people might expect but he won't say what the modifications are.
- 2016: Competed in select Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series events. He loves it but says it's expensive. "I'm racing against a bunch of millionaires out there. It's kind of deflating when you're used to getting paid to do something. You get spoiled."
- Has been freeriding snow bikes since 2013. Loves being on them in the backcountry but isn't sure competition is for him. Was on the Snow BikeCross athlete list at XG Aspen 2017 but dropped out late because he felt unprepared.
Follow Renner on Instagram