MPG / DAILY BREAD / FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Carter Gordon had a breakout year racing in the B class throughout the 2016 season. The Illinois native had always put in results just around the top twenty since breaking onto the national scene back in 2013, but he’s been able to consistently improve over the past couple years. In the 2016 racing season, Gordon produced top ten results at all of the major nationals, most notably scoring his best ever overall at the Loretta’s with an eighth place finish in 250 B. Not only did have his best week ever down in Tennessee on the track, he also had some success off the track as he earned a scholarship awarding him the opportunity to live and train at Georgia Practice Facility for one year, as well as a free year of education through the On Track schooling program. He continued to gather momentum after Loretta’s as he moved into the A class at Mini-O’s and showed consistent top ten speed all week long, earning two top ten overalls in the SX portion of the event. The regiment down at GPF has really allowed Gordon to take the next step on the track; it wasn’t long until he garnered the attention of the BTO Sports Amateur Team and he penned a deal with them for the 2017 season. We caught up with Carter to talk about his new deal with the team, racing the AMSOIL AX at the beginning of the year to get his SX points, and his go-to games on Xbox.
You just signed with the BTO Sports Amateur Team for the 2017 racing season. Tell everyone about what it’s like to be a part of their program for the new year.
Yeah, I’m super excited about joinin’ their team. I saw a video about them starting a team last summer after Loretta’s and I sent ‘em an email -- a little bit before Mini-O’s, Taylor messaged me and asked if I would like to be a part of the team. I was like “Yeah, of course!” and then right before Mini-O’s I found out I was gonna be on the team. Ever since then it’s been awesome; they’ve really helped me out a lot and they always give us what we’re promised, so I couldn’t be happier.
You do all of your training at GPF down in Georgia, how’s the facility there and what’s your program like?
Yeah, it’s an awesome facility. Josh Woods always has the tracks really good. We’ve just been down here gettin’ ready, doin’ motos, and I’ve been down here workin’ in the gym with coach Robb Beams; he always makes sure were in good shape for whatever motos -- whether it’s Loretta’s or spring nationals -- we’re always gonna be ready. So yeah, it’s awesome!
What’s a typical day in the life like for you down there?
I wake up at 7:30am and make some breakfast, head to the gym and warm up, ride from about 10:00am to 1:00pm. Then I wash my bike and do a little bike work, head to the gym, do some school work, and then finish up my bike work, get some dinner, and go to bed.
What’s your schooling program lookin’ like?
I’m seventeen now, so I’m a senior in high school. I actually won a scholarship last year at Loretta’s for the On Track program. It’s a scholarship at Loretta’s where you fill out an application and I was fortunate enough to win that this past year -- so I won a year of training at GPF and a free year of schooling with On Track School. That’s been goin’ great!
What sort of stuff do you like to do in your down time?
My favorite things to do are go fishing and play a little bit of Xbox. I got Battlefield, MXGP, and Madden -- those are my main games.
Is there any specific thing that you’re focusing on with your riding heading into spring nationals this year?
Yeah, for sure. The thing I’ve been working on a lot is my first lap sprint speed. The end of the races were pretty good at Mini-O’s, but umm...I just need to work on that first lap speed, so that’s what I’ve been working on -- more aggression. It’s the most important part of the race.
You raced the B class last year and put in some solid finishes at a lot of the major nationals, was there anything that sort of stuck out as the highlight of the season for you?
My first A class national was at Mini-O’s and I got a fifth and a sixth there in 250 A and 250 Pro Sport, so that was for sure the best part of 2016 for me.
I noticed your results really improved after moving up and you did really well in SX there, what made the big difference for you taking it to that next level?
I just recently came to GPF and that helped me a lot; Josh has helped me a lot with all of that, so I think that was mainly most of it -- just knowing I had a good program behind me.
Your results were quite a bit better at Mini-O’s in SX, do you consider yourself more of a SX guy or did you just have some bad luck in MX?
There was just a lot of fast guys out there and it was really whoever got a good start, for the most part, would run up front. I always came from the back and had to work my way up, so I think I struggled a lot with starts there. My starts were never really where I finished, I always had to work my way up a little bit. But umm...I just stayed calm and rode consistent as best I could, and just made it happen.
Are you more partial to SX or MX or does it really matter to you?
Well, I like AX. I’ve been racing those to get my Road to Supercross points, so I like that a lot and I like the Mini-O’s SX. The way I look at it is that everybody has to ride the same track, so I can’t really complain too much.
Loretta’s was a bit of a hectic week this past year for everyone involved with the crazy weather and the typical humidity. What was the week down at the Ranch like for you?
2016 in general was just a big turning point for me. I’ve always struggled to even get inside the top twenty really and in 2016 I did pretty good at all the nationals in the B class -- I was like consistently inside the top ten in 250 B, so I was happy with it. I think I got an eighth in 250 B overall, so I couldn’t complain. My second 250 B moto was really bad (muddy) and I didn’t think my bike was gonna make it honestly, but I’m glad it did.
At the start of the 2017 season, you did the first two AMSOIL AX rounds and scored some top tens in the Lites class, how has it been stepping up to the pro class and how’d those first two rounds go for you?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all, but I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of it. The racing is really intense, but I liked it a lot. I think you have to be a lot more of a smoother rider, it’s not like outdoors where whoever holds it pinned the most wins, so I enjoyed it since it was a little more technical.
Did you have to change anything in your approach to the racing?
Nah, not too much. I just had to be more aggressive and be more defensive which I think will help me a lot coming into Daytona and the other spring nationals as well.
Did you have any starts off the back row?
Oh yeah, let’s see...actually, the first main event in Cincinnati I had to start back row and then my heat race in Grand Rapids I started back row and went all the way up to sixth, so…I was told by a good friend, Jacob Williamson -- he said he started back row and got a second place start, so it’s still possible to get a good start, you just have to believe in yourself I think.
What’s the technique when you’re lined up behind eight other guys?
Yeah, for sure. I was always taught starting back row to watch the gate and never watch the guys back tire (ahead of you.)
You had a nasty get off in the whoops at the Louisville AX, but your practice times were really good and it seems like you’re heading in the right direction with your riding…
Yeah, I qualified fifteenth in the AX class and I was really happy about that; there’s some old dudes in the class that have been doing it longer than I’ve been racing, so I was really happy with that. In the first Lites practice, I was qualified sixth and then in my second Lites practice I didn’t get a good time due to a crash in the whoops. But yeah, it was still a good weekend for me knowing that I could be up there like that. Every round the riders are getting faster and the tracks are getting harder, so I’m planning on doing Atlanta AX if things keep going well, so we’ll see how that one goes.
Are you gonna hang out for the rest of the weekend and watch SX and everything?
Yeah, I’ve already got my SX tickets!
What’re your goals/expectations for the 2017 season moving up to the A class and how’re you feeling coming into spring nats?
I’m feelin’ great. I have a lot of confidence in myself, hopin’ to bring some of that momentum over from Mini-O’s SX into Daytona and Freestone. So, I definitely look to be a contender in the A class for this year.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
My Mom and Uncle, BTO Sports, 6D Helmets,100% goggles, Seven MX, Alpinestars, Matrix Concepts, Torc1, NoToil, FMF, Ethika, Triangle Cycles, On Track School, and GPF
/ Words / Lake Kilpatrick
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