MPG / DAILY BREAD / MARCH 16, 2017
Ethan Mann just finished up an extremely successful weekend at the eighth annual Daytona RCSX in which he grabbed a title in the 125cc (12+) class, took a second place in Schoolboy 1, and finished eighth overall in an incredibly stacked Schoolboy 2 class on his 125cc machine. The Texas native overcame some adversity in the first day of racing after he suffered mechanical issues in the 125cc (12+) heat race, but he still managed to pull a top five start with a bad gate pick in the main event and put everything together for the championship. Mann is competing in his first full season on the bigger bikes after coming off of a solid couple of years on the supermini and he has just begun to take his racing more seriously than ever. He spent a couple of months out west to escape the Texas winter and has undertaken a homeschooling program for the first time in his career in hopes of taking his results to the next level. The 2017 season has gotten off to a positive start for the Monster Energy backed athlete with some solid results at the Road to Mammoth as well as the Texas Winter Series. Mann will be looking to build off his tremendous start to the year heading back to his home state of Texas where he’ll contest Oak Hill and the JS7 Freestone Spring Championship. We caught up with Ethan to chat about how the weekend went down at Daytona International Speedway, attending Camp Boom Diggity, and how his program has changed heading into the 2017 season.
So, the Daytona RCSX just wrapped up and you had a pretty solid weekend there. How’d everything go and how’d it feel to get a title?
Yeah, y’know, all the hard work and training’s been paying off and I’m super happy with the performance from this week. I think it’s the second title from the RCSX and I’m still super happy on this one, and it’s been a while so it’s good to get one. The practice was good and I got to the heat races and it started pouring down rain in my first one. I got off to an okay start and it started pouring and I was like “This is not good,” and I finished around ninth in Schoolboy 2. Then my bike shut off in the 125 class and I was dead last, so it didn’t go too well in the heat races, but in the mains it was great. I had a great day for the mains, so that’s what I’m happy about.
You ended up with a really bad gate pick in 125cc (12+) after that bike issue in the heat race, what happened there and how’d you make that start work?
Y’know, I lined up pretty far outside and I got off to a great jump and I just pushed it in as far as I could, and I came out about fifth. From there I just kinda pushed my way into the lead, but the start was the main key. I just pushed as hard as I could to get up in there and kinda banged some bars around, but it was pretty difficult to do that.
You were killing that wheel tap into the rollers after the finish line and were definitely one of the fastest kids through that section. Talk everybody through that section.
Yeah, the start of the week I was going triple-triple at the end and I think a lot of people were. But uh, after the rain they peaked ‘em up and it got a little sketchy and I still tried to go triple-triple, and I think in the mud I tried to do it and I almost crashed. So, I started going wheel tap and it was definitely way faster through there. After the finish lines there’s those three little rollers and I watched one of the pro races and I saw one of the leaders do it, and it was way faster, so I tried it in the heat race. It was definitely way faster and I just did that the rest of the week, and it definitely helped!
You were in the Schoolboy 2 heat race on Sunday when it absolutely started down pouring, what’s it like being the middle of the race and having it rain progressively harder and harder?
Yeah, y’know, it’s difficult when it starts raining. The track looks good on top and it just gets super slick, and you never know how to judge where it’s slick and where it’s not. I think the most difficult part about when it rains is the goggles and trying to see -- when it’s pouring down rain like that your goggles get pretty dirty quick. I only had seven tear offs on during that race, I didn’t think it was gonna pour, and I kinda ran out of tear offs. So, that was a little bit of a struggle. I ran out on the last lap and wiped ‘em off a couple times in the air, but I luckily made it through the race without taking my goggles off. The track wasn’t that bad and I just tried to find all the good lines on the outside.
Did you get a chance to hang out on Saturday and watch the SX?
We pulled in Saturday early morning, waited in line, got all signed up, and then got the bikes ready to go -- BTO Sports put my graphics on there and then we went down to the pits for a while to talk to a couple of my buddies that were racing as privateers. Then we went and watched the races and had a good time.
What’d you think of the track they had laid out for you guys compared to the professional track on Saturday night?
Oh, I loved the track this year. This was probably the best year they had. I feel like it was technical and it was really safe and it had the least amount of injuries; I loved the track this year.
Did you spend anytime hanging around before or after soaking up the bike week festivities?
Not really, we did a straight shot home to Texas and just got the bikes ready, and we’re headed out to Oak Hill. I dunno if we’re gonna do the SX part they have, so I think we’re gonna go Friday morning and watch the SX and then race the outdoors.
Are you doin’ that as kind of preparation for JS7?
Yeah, just to get my blood flowin’ on the outdoor track now ‘cause I’ve been doing some AX and the Daytona SX, so we haven’t been on the outdoors much. So, it’ll be good to get a good warm up in.
What’s your training program like coming into Daytona? It’s pretty much it’s own animal do you do anything differently?
Y’know, I was out at a local track around where I live and they had kind of a sandier, blackish dirt like Daytona -- it was kind of exactly like Daytona, so we rode there a lot. Other than that, we just tried to find sand tracks and AX, ‘cause I knew it was supercrossy and sandy with the normal Daytona dirt they have down there. So, I tried to find as much as I could like that and ride that.
You made the trip to the inaugural Motoplayground Race at Ponca last year and landed on the podium in every class that you raced, how’d the racing go for you there and what was your impression of the event?
Y’know, I had a great time at the Ponca race. It was a great event and the track builders did a great job getting everything ready and the track ready with all the rain they had. It was one of my last races on superminis, so I did pretty good on those. The 125 class was stacked and I was lucky to get good starts and be up in the front. But uh...the track was great, the event was great, and I can’t wait to get back to it this year.
Did you get a chance to check out the World National Pit Bike Championships and all that?
I did. I was leadin’ the pit bike race and I crashed, so I didn’t have the greatest luck in that last year, but I’ll hopefully get it this year.
What’d you think of the Mom’s race down there?
I think I left early for that one ‘cause I had to get some sleep for the next day, but I heard about it. I heard it was pretty good!
Yeah, man. You’ve gotta stick around for that this year! You’ve been to Camp Boom Diggity before too, right?
I’ve been to like three or four of them. The festivities are great there; I love going to all the different trainers they have there and testin ‘em out to see which ones you want to go to. It’s good to see what they teach and all that. Then after riding you go and do the dodgeball, the pit bikes -- I think one year I won dodgeball and pit bikes. But yeah, I love the event!
Looking back on the 2016 season, you had a lot of good results at lots of different nationals. Does anything stick out to you as the highlight of your year?
I’d probably say Loretta’s last year. I was gonna go on superminis but my superminis blew up at regionals, so I had the 125 class and I haven’t been ridin’ those much. I went there and got fifth overall, so that was kinda like a big step and it really showed me what I could do, and it was a big confidence booster. That was probably my highlight of the year.
How do the notorious weather conditions at the Ranch affect the racing?
Y’know, the track itself is great, but you get some rain and it can hold a little bit of rain, but once it starts pouring like it did this last year it gets a little crazy. I was lucky enough to not have that bad a of a mud moto like some of the other guys did. The weather kinda takes a toll on some people if you’re not used to that hot, hot weather. I was training in Texas and it’s super hot down here, too. So, I was kinda used to the weather and I’ve been to Loretta’s a lot, but it can get your bike and it can do a lot, so it’s definitely a tricky competitor.
I know you get really busy with racing, riding, and training, but what do you like to do to relax when you’re not busy with that stuff?
I like to play basketball around my house and every once in awhile I’ll go play golf with my buddies. This is my first year doing home school and before that I was playing golf in high school. I played football, but I like to do all the ball sports and stuff and I’ll go hang out with friends. Other than that I’m doing MX pretty much.
Have you noticed those results paying off now that you’re doing home school and focusing more on racing?
Oh yeah, definitely. I went down to California for a few months in the winter time and I can definitely see an improvement in my riding and my fitness. It’s just a big help to ride during the week instead of just riding on the weekends, and being able to work out all the time and ride with faster people. It definitely is a big improvement.
Was that your first time going out to Cali to train like that?
It was my first time by myself. I’ve been down there other times when I was younger just for a week or so, but it’s my first time out there for like two months and by myself.
You gotta be happy with where your speed is at heading back into your home state for the JS7 Spring Championship, what’re your goals and expectations for the race and what classes will you be racing?
I’m pretty sure I’m doing the Schoolboy 1, Schoolboy 2, and the 125 class at JS7 and Oak Hill. My plans are to go in there and if not win, run top three in all of the classes and do as best as I can in Schoolboy 2 on the 125, and I think a big part of that is getting the start. I feel like my speed is there, I just gotta get a holeshot at Freestone. Schoolboy 2 is gonna be a hard class to do that in -- you’ve got all the fast guys on 250s and stuff, but you can’t make any excuses. You gotta do what you can do.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Fox Racing, Monster Energy, BTO Sports, FMF, DT1, Dunlop Tires, Atlas Brace, Shannon Niday, Liquid Performance , Vertex, Cometic, Lucas Oil, Performance Factory, Lynks Racing , Renthal
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
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