2021 Points Leader Profile: Ryan Vanderputten Looking to Bring Home a Title after Breakout Year
For the Lightweight Production rider Ryan Vanderputten, 2021 was not the year he had originally envisioned. In his third season of Super Series competition, Vanderputten purchased a Yamaha YZF-R3 off of championship rival Istvan Hidvegi and was ready to test the waters of the Super Series to see what he could do.
However, Vanderputten struck gold in race one. Winning four consecutive races (two on Long Track and two on Nelson) to hold a slim 40 point advantage heading into the final weekend, what started out as a test and tune, has now quickly turned into a championship contending season.
“I’m quite surprised with how the season has gone so far, as this was originally supposed to be a test season.” Vanderputten said. “I actually bought the bike off of Istvan [Hidvegi}, he sold it to me for a really good price and over the winter I built the bike up enough where I could get on track and compete with it. I wasn’t expecting to be competitive as the bike was pretty much just stock, but I just felt really good out there and it’s all gone really well.”
Each race, Vanderputten seemed to get faster and faster. Claiming the track record on the long track and narrowly being beaten for the Nelson track record, by who else but Hidvegi himself. The rivalry between the two has been a fierce but extremely clean one, the two haven’t had any major run ins on track and after each event the two can usually be found laughing amongst one another reminiscing on the race that was.
Hidvegi, who is a veteran of the Super Series not only helped teach Vanderputten a few tricks but I’m sure has learned some himself from the young rider.
“It’s like a family out there,” Vanderputten added. “In the last race, Istvan was all over me. He had a couple opportunities going into corner two, where he could just give me a wheel and bump me out of the way to take the spot. But instead, he decided to keep the racing clean and that made it a lot of fun out there for us.”
With the bike being mainly stock with one or two upgrades, Vanderputten has some further upgrades planned which will be debuted at the third and final round of the Super Series in September. Upgrades aren’t cheap, and with the money Vanderputten and his family have pulled together they were able to improve the bike over the winter.
The string of success he has been on has allowed him to take more risks in upgrading the bike and do whatever it takes to get that extra edge.
“With the money we have pulled together, we are actually getting a new shock.” Vanderputten continued. “That will hopefully give me a little more grip out there in the corners, so I’m really excited as I’ve never ran a bike with an aftermarket suspension on it. I also have a 415 chain and sprocket kit on the way, and I’ll definitely need it for the pro track as Istvan is fast out there and has a good bike under him.”
Winning the championship would mean the world to Vanderputten and his family, as the team is a real family and friend run venture. The 27 team can always be found with matching shirts, and a large entourage ready to cheer him on.
Every rider dreams of one day hoisting a championship trophy, whether it be Super Series, MotoGP or even CSBK every trophy means that much to the rider as a sum of all the hard work.
“It’s gonna mean a lot, as I didn’t even have plan to have any sponsors this year” said Vandeputten. “A few days before race one, my Dad’s friend Ron who we’ve known for years was like let’s get something going and bought me a set of rain tires. We preformed really well and he came back for round two and he provided us with all the team shirts. We are really starting to make a little team out of it and it’s great.”
The next step of Vanderputten’s career is to move up a few rungs on the ladder in the Super Series. Upgrade the bike and take on some faster competition, while also looking at running some CSBK events as well.
Vanderputten appears to be a young rising star in the making and one the Super Series won’t soon forget.
By Alex Gallacher, Super Series Communications