Catching Up with… Taylor Arsenault
By Billy Rainford
In case you missed it in the Frid’Eh Update…
Here at Direct Motocross, days have 25 hours, weeks have 8 days, and years have 53 weeks…apparently. Bonus Week #53 belongs to the rider we got to know a few years ago when he won the Bronze Boot at the Parts Canada TransCan at Walton Raceway. To be honest, his winning it was a bit of a surprise, but since then we have come to know Taylor Arsenault as a Pro rider with a ton of upsides and potential.
Taylor showed up at the 2nd round of the 2016 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals at the Wastelands in Nanaimo, BC last season and put in his best overall of the season – a 9th place (11-9) – serving notice to the MX2 class that he and his 2-stroke KTM meant business. Here’s a look at how his season went:
Taylor finished out the summer strong and should continue to move his way toward the front of the pack with a solid winter of training. We got in touch with him to get his take on last season and find out what it’s going to take to crack the ultra-competitive top 10 consistently in 2017.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Taylor. Let’s start like we always do and ask you to tell everyone a little about yourself.
Taylor Arsenault: Hey, guys, I’m from a little town west of Ottawa called Carleton Place. It all started when I was about 9 and my dad bought me a KX 60 for Christmas. I still remember him teaching me how to use a clutch on Christmas day on our snow covered dirt road (Laughs), and then I continued to race throughout the years.
For schooling, I attended my local high school in CP (Carleton place) and after I had graduated I went on to take architectural technology at Algonquin College in Ottawa.
My favourite movies consist of comedy, especially the films with Will Ferrell. A few examples are Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, along with every other masterpiece filmed of Will Ferrell (Laughs).
What would you list as the highlight of your amateur career?
My highlights consist of multiple championships at the ECAN throughout my Junior and Intermediate years. Ive also had some good rides at the TransCan finishing in the top 3. But at the end of the week I fell short of championships. I was also lucky enough to walk away with the Bronze Boot, so I can’t really complain. I have also raced some of the fastest kids in the Country such as Westen Wrozyna, Tyler Duffy, Dylan Wright, Jess Pettis and the list goes on… It was always a fun time lining up beside those guys.
You showed up in Nanaimo at round 2 last summer and finished an impressive 9th overall (11-9). Can you take us through that round? What were you hoping for the rest of the series?
Honestly, I had no expectations going into that round. After missing the first round due to a concussion I just wanted to finish my motos and move forward with the rest of the season. But luckily for me, Nanaimo is a track you want to be cautious on due to the slippery conditions, which was good for me because I did not want to fall and hit my noggin again (Laughs). That was by far my best round because I was riding like that. From that round on I wanted to be a top ten guy, so I kept pushing my limits which led to dumb little tip overs which led to inconsistent results throughout the year.
You were always close to breaking the top 10. Can you tell us how the summer went for you?
My summer was amazing, I met a lot of super cool people throughout my journey across Canada. My results were pretty good, at least half the time (Laughs). Usually, I would have a good moto inside the top ten or close to it. Then the other moto in that day I would make huge mistakes, which led to something around the 15- 20 marks, but it gave me something to work on. I enjoyed the entire circuit and battling with the best in the business. I’m already counting down the days till I get to do it all again.
You finished strong at the last round at RJ’s and took an 8th in the first moto! Were you happy with how that final round went?
I was very happy with how my last round went because I was tying my career best at Deschambault with an 8th in the second moto. But unfortunately, I got a flat front tire in my second moto making it harder to back my 8th place finish in the second moto. I realized that my tire was flat after the opening lap, but decided that it was the last moto of the year and that I wanted to make the most of it.
Also, in the back of my head I knew that Westen and a couple other riders were so close to me in points that if I pulled off they would most likely pass me in points and I did not want that to happen.
You finished 12th overall in MX2 and then we saw you at the MMRS Madoc National where you hung with the top couple guys the entire time but just couldn’t quite make contact. How was that weekend for you?
The MMRS folks always put on a good show and did a spectacular job on the track. For me, my speed was their but my starts weren’t very good and on that track it’s good to get out front early with a clear track. I did have a couple good rides taking the Youth Championship and third in the Pro division. All in all, I have learned a lot and looking forward to the MMRS Madoc Nationals next year.
What did you do for the rest of the summer and fall months?
I started work with my old man a week after that. I really didn’t do much racing following the MMRS nationals. I just enjoyed some fall riding at a friends house near me and spent time with my family and friends I had not seen the entire summer.
How was your Christmas? Does your family really get into the whole thing? What did you do?
It was my first Christmas home in a couple years. I spent the Christmas break meeting up with my family along with my girlfriend’s family and having Christmas dinners and exchanging gifts. It was a good time. I really enjoyed Christmas this year.
OK, this question is from Jeff: What’s it going to take to get your little brother, Connor, motivated and make my awards predictions come true? (Not posted yet but Jeff gave him ‘Most Dominant Intermediate Rider’ honours.)
(Laughs) He’s a very talented kid with everything he does, whether it’s skateboarding, biking or motocross the kid seems be better than me at everything (Laughs). But for him he loves to just go out and have fun, throw a whip and he usually rides his best when he’s enjoying what he’s doing. He can be unstoppable when he thinks to himself that no one can touch him, but when he shows up at big events such as Loretta’s and Walton, he psychs himself out.
But this year was a big year for him, he was more confident than ever and was riding amazing. Unfortunately, he had a mishap at Pleasant Valley that led to a broken hand and knuckles so he was unable to compete at the remainder of the nationals, the ECAN and Walton. It blows my mind the stuff that kid can do on a bike. It would have been cool to see what he could have done at Walton duking it out with all boys.
What are your riding/training/racing plans for the winter months?
My brother and I will be traveling to Georgia (Millsaps Training Facility) like we do every year for a month or so where we get ready for the up and coming motocross season. Connor and I will be training harder than ever to improve our riding and fitness. Following a strict motocross program that MTF will provide for us to compete at the highest level.
What are your racing plans for 2017?
You will see us at the first round of the nationals come moto season. We will attend all of the rounds of the CMRC Nationals along with ECAN and Walton TransCan.
Who’s going to win the Supercross title this year?
Hard to say (Laughs). I, personally, would like to see (Ryan) Dungey take it, but the level these guys are at is insane and one leg dab could cost them a moto win. (Ken) Roczen and a couple guys are going to be hard to beat. We will see come round one.
OK, thanks for chatting with us today. All the best in 2017. Who would you like to thank?
Thanks for having me. I’d like to thank everyone at Wheelsport racing, Jim Kolman, Dragon Goggles, Fly Racing, Nihilo Concepts, Imperial Motion, Moto Seat, Kutvek America, KTM Canada, Gamma Powersports, Flo motosports, Factory Connection, Jolt HDWR, Atlas Braces, the whole MX101 crew. Most of all my parents, they have given my brother and me the tools to continue to do what we love.
Wait a sec, one last thing… where does your middle name ‘Cecil’ come from? (I can make fun of middle names [and hair] because I have 3, myself [and no hair]!)
(Laughs) It was my great grandfather’s name on my mom’s side. Everyone seems to get a kick out of it. This topic comes up quite a bit on a daily basis, but it’s a pretty sweet middle name. Have a good one guys and a Happy New Year from the Arsenault’s to the whole DMX crew.
Watch for the #25 next season as he seems to be getting faster every time he hits the track!