MPG / DAILY BREAD / JANUARY 1, 2017
Words / Lake Killpatrick
It’s commonplace for Americans across the country to indulge themselves with too much food throughout the Thanksgiving holidays. Dinner isn’t over until you’ve cleared your second or third plate. But, it wasn’t just any normal Thanksgiving for Lubbock, Texas’ Carter Halpain - not only did he go back for seconds and thirds, he wasn’t satisfied until he polished off his fourth plate...a number one plate, that is. Halpain also snagged the Scott Golden Goggle Award as well as the Asterisk Ironman Award. He had one of the weeks of his budding amateur career down in Gainesville for the 45th annual Thor Winter Olympics. We caught up with the EBR Yamaha rider to talk about cuttin’ deals with his parents, his unusual Thanksgiving dinner, and all of the ups and downs at Mini-O’s.
First off, we're a little over a month removed from Mini-O's, has it sunk in yet now that you've had some time to reflect or does it still feel a little bit surreal?
Yeah, you know...it was a pretty sick week for sure, one of the best in my amateur career...but it sunk in, just put the #1 plates up in the room, and I keep looking at them. ‘Bout to put some more work in and get ready for the spring nationals.
You had a 20 hour drive back to Texas after the event, did you have a chance to do any celebrating? What was the feeling like between you, your Dad, and your mechanic on the drive back?
Oh, you know just jammin’...listenin’ to some Stevie Wonder and havin’ some fun with that stuff, but you know it’s been fun. Got through the drive, had some motorhome problems on the way back, but stuck through it and made it home.
What went down with the motorhome?
The alternator wasn’t charging the battery, so we couldn’t drive at night. We couldn’t run the lights on the motorhome, so we just had to wait and drive in the day.
So, a twenty hour trip turned into…?
Awwhh, I got home like Wednesday and I was supposed to get home Monday morning.
So, you were living off animal crackers and pop tarts for a couple days?
Yeah, pretty much...not even warm pop tarts, straight out of the package, can’t even warm them up...the worst.
Supposedly your Dad’s got quite the arsenal of jokes, any of those floating around on the trip back home?
Oh yeah, they’re always floatin’ around with Papa Halpain. I don’t even know any, because he just says too many and they’ve all become a blur to me. Honestly, I don’t even know what he’s saying most of the time, but he’s crazy.
Unfortunately your Mom wasn't able to make the trip to Florida, so you were on the phone with her just about every half hour to keep her updated. How important is your parents support to your racing career?
Yeah, you know, my Mom had to stay home. She had work and my brother had school, so they weren’t able to make it this time. But, you know, I definitely couldn’t be where I’m at without my parents. They support me one hundred percent and just stick behind me with whatever I do.
I always see your Dad running around with the EBR team shirt, what role does he have in supporting you at the races?
Yeah, whatever I need from helping me with eating and stuff like that to being my mechanic, making sure the bike is ready, and all that good stuff. Just making sure I’m ready for my next race and making sure I’m prepared, you know.
You had a deal with your parents back at Ponca that if you won two championships, you could get a tattoo. Did you have any deals set up with them for Mini-O's? After winning 4 titles, I'm sure you wish you did.
Yeah, I kind of wish I did after the week I had, but no we just gave the week to God and had some fun, just ended up coming home with a few championships. But, yeah, the whole Ponca deal was pretty cool. I got a bible verse for one of my friends who passed away, so it’s pretty cool, but kind of do wish I had made some deals with them, but it’s all good.
You've been on a good run of form post-Loretta's with 6 championships between two different nationals, to what do you attribute all this recent success?
Yeah, you know, I’ve been living down at Millsaps and I think that’s been a real key to my success lately, but just putting the work in during the week. You can shine on the weekends, but it’s the weekdays that pay off and that’s one thing that we’re really working on...just trying to have fun while we’re doing it.
You really stood out from the rest of the competition in the supercross portion of the event at Mini-O's. Is supercross something you've always excelled at or have you been putting in extra work down at MTF to perfect that skill set?
Yeah, Millsaps has helped a lot with that lately. We got to ride supercross before Monster Cup and then leading up to Mini-O’s. But, I don’t know. I always grew up riding more technical tracks, real jumpy. Down here in west Texas there’s not too many open tracks, just a lot of jumps and build what you got, so I’m more of a technical guy, but can kind of let loose when I need to. I definitely like the supercross part; I like jumping, scrubbing, and gettin’ back on the ground quick.
A lot of the competition that you got the better of at Mini-O's put in solid finishes at the Monster Energy Cup, is that an event that you'd like to race if given the opportunity?
Yeah, you know, I didn’t do any B classes last year and uh...just raced Schoolboy 1 and Schoolboy 2, so I kind of missed out on the opportunity to do that this year. But, I’m racing B class this year, so with the year going how it is, hopefully we can get into that next year and see how we end up.
You took home quite a few awards at Mini-O's, one of them being the Asterisk Ironman Award - a lot of ups and downs lead to receiving that, can you talk a little bit about the highs and lows of the week?
Yeah, you know, no matter the finish just have some fun and give all the glory to God. I had some bad luck in a couple motos on supercross, but mostly supercross was amazing. I had a first turn crash and came back to 4th one moto; just always keep your head up and keep fighting no matter what you’re going through. I went down one moto in outdoors and ended up finishing, but had to go the hospital on Thanksgiving, and then came back the next day and wasn’t sure if I was even gonna be able to race. I toughed it out and ended up winning two motos for the day, just uh...tried to push through what we had and got it done.
Could you talk a little bit more about the crash and spending Thanksgiving night in the hospital?
Yeah, you know, it was a pretty crazy crash. It wasn’t even on anything big, it was just right out of the turn before the downhill. I caught the edge of the downhill and hit my side. Went over to Millsaps after the moto and they were worried about my lungs and my spleen, and so we had to go get checked out. But, fortunately it was just some deep bruising and stuff, nothing wrong with the spleen or lungs. But, I was really, really sore...could barely move the next morning. I felt like I got in a fight with Mike Tyson, but you know, I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be able to race. I toughed it out, had some fun. I for sure missed out on Thanksgiving dinner, I don’t even know if I had dinner that night.
I think your Dad mentioned something about ground taco meat...
Oh yeah, I had some taco meat, helped me through the night.
What sort of thoughts were running through your head laying in the hospital and not knowing if you were going to be able to race the remaining motos?
Yeah, you know, we just had to face what was at hand and take it one step at a time. I knew we could just get through that and then worry about what was next. But, I got cleared from the doctor. Woke up the next morning and went down to Millsaps, stretched a little bit, but just got out there and toughed it out...like Cooper Webb did at Vegas in supercross. It wasn’t pretty, but he got out there and got it done.
Any solid plans for 2017? Classes you'll be racing, etc...?
I’ll be racing 450 B and 250 B classes this year, just gonna have some fun, you know. We have Daytona and Freestone coming up before we know it, so just gotta get back to training after Christmas, I’m home for a minute to relax. Daytona, Freestone, and then all the qualifiers, then maybe Mammoth, and before we know it Loretta’s will be here. Just gotta keep putting in work and having fun.
Same deal with EBR next year?
Yeah, you know, the whole EBR team is amazing. I love it. Had some good finishes at Mini-O’s and I couldn’t be more happy with where I’m at, I’m gonna stick to the plan next year.
Thanks for your time. Any sponsors you’d like to give a shout 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.