MPG / DAILY BREAD / MARCH 15, 2017
Carter Halpain is back in business in the Sunshine State for his first major race back after an exceptional showing at the 45th annual Thor Winter Olympics where he won four titles. The Texas native made the trip back to Florida to compete in the Daytona RCSX for the first time, but the speed that he displayed when he hit the track made it seem as though he’s competed in the event all eight years. Halpain has had the opportunity to practice back at Millsaps Training Facility with some top level riders and it has obviously paid off -- he was one of the first riders in the B class to pull off one of the most technical sections on the track, he showed the speed to slice through the pack at will, and he ended up coming away with a title in the 450 B class. The Altus Motorsports backed EBR Yamaha rider will be surfing a wave of confidence heading back into his home state for the upcoming JS7 Freestone Spring Championship where he’ll definitely be a contender for the title in all five of his classes. We caught up with Carter to chat about his first trip to the legendary Daytona International Speedway, sending the triple-double in the middle of a torrential downpour, and enjoying a little bit of downtime on the beach.
The 8th annual Daytona RCSX just wrapped up and you were easily one of the fastest riders every time you hit the track. Is there anything you do differently down at MTF to prep for Daytona compared to how you train for the other nationals?
Y’know, not really. Yeah, I felt like my speed was definitely there -- I had some really good motos and I had some ones that I coulda done better for sure. I’ve just been trainin’ with the whole MTF crew and we’ve been doing the same thing; putting the hours in in the gym, on the track, and just doin’ what we can. Nothin’ really changed, they changed a few things on the track to make it more technical and make it kinda like Daytona, but other than that nothin’ really. I just kept putting the hours in and havin’ fun.
So it was a little bit like a Daytona replica track that you had down there -- how much does that help going into the race and how similar was it to the actual track?
Yeah, it was pretty sick ‘cause they had a whole different layout, so it was pretty cool. We have the outdoor track and then the Mini-O’s SX track, so they made it go a little bit through the SX track and stuff like that. I mean, they didn’t bring in any sand or anything like that so it was just a different track layout and that type of thing. But yeah, it was pretty sick! It got gnarly and they made all the moguls and stuff like Daytona has, and I think it was pretty close. I mean, it helped me out tremendously.
Did you get a chance to hang out on Saturday and watch the SX?
Yeah, I actually left MTF Friday morning and went and picked up my mechanic in Jacksonville, and then drove down to Daytona and got the spot all set up, stayed the night Friday night, and watched SX on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to leave a little early to get some sleep for the next day, so I didn’t get to watch the 450 main, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
All the MTF riders really seemed to be fired up on Saturday night...
Yeah, all the MTF boys were killin’ it this week at Daytona. I think (Justin) Barcia was there three days the week before Daytona, so it definitely helped him out in the heat race. And then Lorenzo Locurcio ran third for most of the main, so it seemed like it helped him out a bit, and Dakota (Alix) got top ten and Lorenzo ended up getting sixth. Jordon (Smith) charged back to fourth and he was like dead last in the first corner. It’s just MTF tryin’ to do their best for us and we’re trying to put in one hundred percent. I think it’s just helping each other out and building off of what we have.
What did you think of the track layout for the RCSX compared to the SX?
I thought it was actually pretty sick. It was kinda tight, but then some sections were a little bit more technical and some were not too technical, but overall it was pretty fun. There were some sections that could separate you quite a bit if you did the right line and stuff like that -- through the middle right before the right hander across the start, you could go wheel tap-triple-double and it was really, really fast. Then after the finish if you could wheelie over the big single, it was really fast too. I think I was one of the only ones doing it and it was saving me a lot of time, but it was really risky ‘cause if you hit your front tire on the top of that big one then you’ll go over the bars, and unfortunately I did in one of the heat races, but I mean that’s just some stuff you gotta work on being precise on, y’know.
How’d the heat races go for you on Sunday?
Yeah, y’know, the first one I had a little bit of bad luck. Everyone has some bad luck somedays, you can’t be one hundred percent everyday. We went down twice the first moto and the bike ended up cutting out or something, but came away with twelfth the first moto....and like I said, I went over the bars on the finish the second moto, but I got back up and got ninth that moto, and then ended the day off with a 450 B heat win. Sunday was pretty good, I ended the day strong but just got ready and got some rest for Monday for the mains.
You were in the Schoolboy 2 moto when it absolutely started pouring down on Sunday. What’s your mindset like out on the track while it’s starting to dump like that in the middle of the race?
Honestly, it’s not a big deal to me. I saw it starting to sprinkle when we got on the gate and I had a pretty bad gate pick, but we just made the best of it. When I get on the track with that kind of stuff, I love it -- there’s nothing more I like than having some fun in the mud, y’know, just playin’ around. Everything has to come up a notch, you gotta be more tight on the bike, and everything’s gotta be better. Believe it or not, the Schoolboy 2 moto right when it started raining was the first time I jumped the triple-double in the middle -- I was comin’ in pretty hot and I figured I couldn’t hit the brakes ‘cause I was just sliding, so I just gave it a little extra gas and made it over the triple-double. So, it was pretty crazy ‘cause that was the first time jumping it, but I was super pumped at the same time.
Is it hard to gauge how much you should push and when you should take it easy in those conditions?
Yeah, kind of...you pretty much know when to do something and when not to do something. Colleen’s just been having me work on timing and I’ve been riding SX a lot lately with Jordon Smith, A-Rod, Locrucio, Dakota Alix, Barcia, and those guys. So, I’ve just been putting in laps on the SX track and a little bit on the outdoor, but I’ve just been havin’ fun. I’ve got the timing down so when it comes to rhythm sections, I’ll be right there with everybody, y’know what I mean.
You had a little bit of bad luck on Monday for the main events, but came away with the win in 450 B to wrap it up on a positive note. Talk about how the racing went for you on Monday.
Yeah, Monday started out good. It looked like it was about to start pouring again, but uh...we just started racing and I started out about seventh the first Schoolboy 2 main event -- came through the pack and I was in second making a pass for the lead right before the white flag, and unfortunately the bike ended up cutting out and dying, but I mean that’s not in our control and somethin’ you can’t get a handle on. I’m super pumped with how I rode, everyone knows that I was there so it was cool for that moto, but a little disappointing at the same time. I had to go back to the gate one moto after to do 250 B on the same bike -- got a good start again and ended up getting second right behind Marchbanks on that one. I knew if I just put myself in position for the next one that I could for sure get it, so in 450 B I got the holeshot and just led start to finish in that one. I couldn’t be more happy with how I did it and comin’ home with a championship.
What do you think about that commitment from Papa Halpain running over and climbing the fence to make it to the podium in time?
Hah, yeah. You showed me the photo and I thought that was pretty funny. You gotta do what you gotta do to get to the podium.
You guys ended up spending an extra day in Daytona to go to the beach today and sort of soak it up while you could, what’d you get into today?
Yeah, it was sick ‘cause I’m just kinda worn out from the weekend of riding and being in the mud and all that. So, it’s pretty cool to just go to the beach, eat a good meal, just hang out, have a soda maybe, just ride some beach cruisers, and get in the water. It was craaazy though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Harleys in my life.
How’re you feeling heading into Freestone? You gotta be pretty pumped with the way things are going for you right now heading back to your home state.
Yeah, I couldn’t be more comfortable with where my speeds at and where I’m at in general right now -- just gonna keep looking forward and get my body and my mind right for Freestone. So, I’ll be ready to tackle the whole weekend in all five classes that I’m racing -- Schoolboy 2, 250 B Limited, 250 B Mod, 450 B Limited, 450 B Mod.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
EBR Performance, Altus Motorsports, Yamaha Motor corp, Thor, Dunlop, FMF, Bell helmets, 100%, DELB, Ethika, Rekluse , Renegade Fuels, Nihilo Concepts, Alpinestars, Sunstar, SDI Coatings, ODI, Matrix, Motorex, Tamer, Uni filters, Anklesavers, Ryno Power, Moto Seat, Xtrig, Vertex, HBD MotoGrafx, GET Ignitions, Works Connection, Braking, JMX Tubes, SKF, Kicker, Amarillo Thermo King, D & K Hunt Electric, and Quick Roofing.
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
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