MPG / DAILY BREAD / JANUARY 26, 2017
Words / Lake Kilpatrick
The Pacific Northwest isn’t necessarily the best breeding ground for a top caliber dirt bike racer trying to make a name for himself on the amateur scene; the winters are rough, places to ride are limited, and it’s hundreds of miles away from most of the major nationals throughout the year. There’s always exceptions, and the most recent exception is Carson Brown, just picked up by Team Green Kawasaki after finishing on the podium in both of his classes at Loretta Lynn’s, therefore giving him incentive to make the journey across the country to Mini-O’s for the first time ever. Kid from Washington state, Team Green Kawasaki rider...ring any bells? Ironically enough, Brown actually had the opportunity to put in some motos with Ryan Villopoto while RV was training for the AUS-X Open. Brown is moving up to the B class this year and has really gelled with the new bike so far. Although he’s riding for a high profile amateur team, he’ll be a new face to a lot of the native east coasters this year as he’s making forty plus hour trip to the Daytona RCSX for the first time in his career. We caught up with Carson to talk about his unbelievably awesome backyard track, what it was like spinning some laps with the four-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion, and how he’s feeling on the Kawi heading into the new year.
First off, you have one of the coolest backyard tracks I’ve ever seen. You’re always posting videos throwing around the 110, ripping the KLX 140, or whatever…have you always had that track at your house or has it kind of been a work in progress?
Yeah, basically we moved there in about 2004, so when I was pretty young. It’s about five acres, so we have a little bit of trails, but nothing too crazy. It’s all used for moto and then our house is on there, too. We basically built our track a little bit, and a little bit over time; it’s turned into a full-blown, awesome backyard track. It’s great on the pit bikes and on the big bikes, so it works out awesome.
What sort of stuff do you like to do for fun when you’re not ripping around the pitter at the house or training for the races?
Ummm, y’know, I enjoy mountain biking a bit...that type of stuff. I enjoy the training part of things too, so it kind of works out. I mean, now that we’re on the 250 I definitely had to get some more muscle. We came down to California about a week or so ago and I’ve been training with Ryan Raul, and he’s been getting me in good shape. I’ve been feeling really good, so I’m having fun with it, too.
Obviously the weather isn’t the best up in Washington during January - are you gonna base your training out of California leading up to the spring nationals?
Yeah, the weather’s pretty bad out in Washington. But uhh...yeah, we’ll be down here the next couple weeks and we’ll kind of have to see after that, see what the weather’s doing up in Washington, and see how we’re feelin’. Yeah, definitely excited...the next one is Daytona, so it’s comin’ up pretty quick, but not really. Haha! This will be my first year doing it, so I’m pretty excited. I love the ruts and stuff, and I’ve heard it gets pretty gnarly, so it should be good.
So, being from the Pacific Northwest has given you lots of opportunity to do some motos with Ryan Villopoto. Has it been a big help to you having him there to bounce ideas off of and ride with?
Yeah, I mean I got to ride with Ryan a bit while he was getting ready for the AUS-X Open. It’s pretty cool gettin’ to be on the track with him. It’s good, because he has a really cool style on the bike - he short shifts where I tend to over rev the bike, so I’ve gotten to learn a lot by being around him.
You also had the opportunity to race the 125cc Dream Race at Washougal? You got to line up on the gate with some big names in the sport such as Ivan Tedesco and David Pingree, what was that whole experience like?
Yeah, it was a super cool experience. We didn’t really know what to expect out of those guys or what their speed would be. But uhh...we kinda went in and did our thing, it was really cool being able to ride in front of the whole crowd and everything; they really were into it. They love 125’s up there, it was super fun! They loved us, they were cheerin’ harder for that 125 race than anything else.
After that you went down to Loretta’s and put in a pretty solid week. You had some awesome battles with Jalek Swoll pretty much every time you were on the track, how’d the week at the Ranch go from your perspective?
It was a good week, for sure. We went in and didn’t really know what my speed was. I mean, we knew it was good, but we hadn’t really raced any of the back east kids. So, we went in and the first moto I had a crash or two, just kinda needed to shake the nerves. But, after that I was able to put in some good motos and clean it up a bit.
Towards the end of the week, you were really throwing it sideways over that Kawasaki jump headed into the sand rollers...it seems like you kind of found some speed when you loosened up a little bit and kept it fun out there.
Yeah, for sure. When I’m having fun I’m riding my best. If I get the flow goin’ and throw some whips or whatever, bar drag some of the corners, I’ve got a big ‘ole smile...and y’know, I love it. Haha! Nothing better.
So, your results there and throughout the year attracted some attention from Team Green Kawasaki and they picked you up. Could you talk a little bit about your deal with them and how’re you’re liking the Kawi?
It’s fantastic to get on Team Green with all those guys. They’ve helped all the elite guys come through, y’know, the real awesome guys. It’s fun, gettin’ to see what all goes on behind the scenes, it’s awesome. I love the bike, especially the ‘17 Kawi. It’s really good; it’s nice and sleek, and fast, and it handles really good. It fits my style really well, so it’s been awesome!
How’d the week go at Mini-O’s being the first race with the team and on the new bike?
It was pretty good. We went down there to basically shake down the bike and get ready for the new year, see what the team was all about and everything. It was good, we put in some decent motos, basically just learning what everybody was doing, how gnarly the B class is for the 250’s and 450’s. By the end of the week we were feeling better, so we were definitely pumped that we made the choice to go down there. First time down at Mini-O’s, too. It was a trek, haha!
What are some of the major differences you notice riding down in the Southeast as opposed to what you’re used to up in the Northwest?
Yeah, y’know, the time change is obviously a little bit difficult for me...but riding with different guys. Up here on the west coast: you see all the same guys all the time, whereas on the east coast it’s all the same guys down there. Getting to see some new faces is always a bit of a change, but it’s fun. I like new stuff on the bike, I love it.
What’re your plans for 2017? Classes you’ll be racing, goals for yourself, etc…?
Yeah, basically for 2017 I’ll be racing 250 and 450B, and we’ll ride out this year and kinda see what goes down. Y’know, I’m feeling better and better everyday on the bike. We’ll kinda see, the sky’s the limit.
Who would you like to shout out for supporting you?
Monster Energy, Team Green, Kawasaki, Pro Circuit, PMOW, FLY, EKS brand, Renthal, N Style, Dunlop, Acerbis, Devol , RK, AP Designs, UNI, MotoSport Hillsboro, Hinson, Motion Pro, Breaking, GET, ARC Levers, Maxima, Pacific Raceways, Washougal MX Park, Mobius Braces, Northwest Riders, Corliss Concrete, BBR Motorsports, Ryan Holliday, and everyone who’s helped me out in the Northwest.