Frid’Eh Update #36 Presented by Scott
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to the 36th week of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Scott Sports. For 2015, the #36 belonged to Hayden Halstead. We’ve gotten to know Hayden over the years as much for his outgoing personality as his speed on a dirt bike. Hayden is always the first to say yes to helping out on the media side of the sport or to grant us an after-moto interview. Whether the race went good or bad, Hayden is there for us, and we thank him for that.
His best overall finish was an impressive 8th at Gopher Dunes. He struggled a little in some of the other rounds and finished 18th in the MX1 class which will drop his number by just 1 for 2016 to #35. We got in touch with Hayden today to get caught up on things. Here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Hayden. First off, how would you sum up your summer of National racing?
Hey Billy. It was all I could dream about. Traveling, racing nationals every weekend, riding during the week, seeing this beautiful country while road cycling and doing it with friends and making new ones everywhere I went! It was my first time going out west and it sure was a learning experience. I went with Michael Da Silva and thanks to the big fundraiser my family put on to help raise money for me to race the west I was able to fly my dad out to the to be mechanic which you know of so important at the nationals. It was the hardest hard pack I have ever seen in my life for this sandy east coaster. It was great getting the first couple nationals in and building up some confidence before hitting the east. The hospitality was insane out there between Golden Tire Mike, GP Moto, Josh Allen and The Meston Family we didn’t spend many nights in the trailer. I can’t wait to do it all again! Heading east I was ready to do some work! I have ridden all the tracks multiple times an I had never felt so in shape and I had the comfort of taking both my parent with me! During the entire east series I had a mechanical or a first turn crash every race. It was a pretty big deal for me getting my first DNF as a pro in Moncton after a front tire flat. I understand how disappointing it feels to be sitting in the mechanics area and watching the points you’ve worked so hard for ride by. Summery of my summery I was in a good, really close points battle from 12-15 but after the trouble in the east I finished 18th overall, a good result for my rookie year in MX 1. Not satisfied, super hungry for next year and so grateful for the good people and good times I had on the summer of a life time!
What was the highlight of the summer for you, racing-wise?
Well the highlight on the track has to be the first east round at Gopher Dunes. It was my best finish of the season 8oa and I had a blast doing it. The gang over at the Dunes changed the direction of the track and a few other spots. It was pretty sweet having everyone on a fresh track and the new lay out was a bit more demanding then the years past. My first moto was just as memorable as the second to me as I fought through the pack with John Dowd a hero of mine. I started in 4 gear instead of 3rd I am sure you could imagine what happened. While fighting through the pack I got passed by the Junkyard Dog and stuck with him until the last couple last laps. He got a flat and dropped back to 20th I think. After John’s tire went the next closes rider was his son in 11th, I kept charging and had a good last lap battle to take the 11th spot my self at the end of moto 1 from last place start. The second moto I had a decent start and quickly fought up to 8th. Halfway through the moto with Maier right in front of me and Bob Gnarly behind me I ended up flying through the air in the fast sweeper after the finish line. By the time I found my bike and got going I was in 14th. I have never been so hungry to see the number 8 on my pit board again. The track was insanely hammered and it got seriously hot out during the second moto. Exactly how I like it! Put in a huge sprint the rest of the moto got back into 8th and finished there. I have never been so pumped on fighting so hard and flowing so good in my entire life! Now that was my highlight!!!
Don’t take this the wrong way, but you remind me a little of myself – although you are trying to get faster, you never stop to smell the roses along the way. What was your travel highlight of the summer?
I am always focused on getting faster and improving myself physically and mentally but this year more than ever I really did take the time to stop the smell the roses. I was kind of forced to when I was out west there was a lot of downtime between races and you really can’t help but to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. Spinning on my road bike through the mountains in BC didn’t at all feel like training more a vacation. Did some downhill mountain biking with Josh Allen and Da Silva. I got to spend some great quality time with my dad out west and then mom joined us for the east. I met a lot of new people which allowed me to share a lot more experiences like Zip Lining through the trees with the GA Checkpoint Crew and Scott Graham in Moncton. So I can’t pick just one highlight because really the entire season was amazing. The roses smelt awesome!!
What have you been up to since the final round at Walton Raceway?
After Walton I went up to Motopark with my Grandma to met up with some of my family and friends who are all local SCR club riders. It was a great weekend having fun throwing down and hangout with some folks I missed all summer. The next weekend I went to Silver lake Sand Dunes in Michigan with local buddy and Pro Josh Long. Long story short Josh’s truck broke out 1 night, 1 day trip turned into 5 days stuck in the coolest place I’ve ever ridden! I’m back at work now at US Steel in Nantioke saving up for 2016!!!
With the 2 Arenacross series about to start up, will you be competing?
I would love to but I can’t afford it. I’m already working 60hr weeks to save for next year.
What are your winter racing/training plans?
Well, I plan on working and training at home in my gym until the end of February then go out to California to train for the west coast for a couple of months before the Nationals start.
What will you do for racing next summer?
Not sure right now. I am grateful for the support I already have but need to see what other support is available to help continue this journey. Having the opportunity to race all the nationals with the help of sponsors, friends and family has been amazing!
How are the plans for your Hoedown coming? Can you give us some details?
The Halstead Hoedown is one wild day/night. It is a big thank you to everyone for the support and a celebration of a great summer with everyone. We ride my track all day and have a big pot luck dinner before partaking in some partying festivities.
Thanks for the chat. Who would you like to thank?
First, I have to thank my parents. My dad for spending every day off work helping mechanic, driving non stop on the east and flying everywhere out west. Also my poor mom who was stuck at home working when we were west which was killing her. That was the first time racing without both of them. She also sacarfies all her extra time for my racing. She was able to get holidays for the entire east tour which was defiantly nice. All my family for standing behind me and everyone out west that helped us. Got to thank Mckee racing and Yamaha Canada. Andy White from FXR for helping me out so much last minute. Ryan Lockhart at Atlas Brace and 100%. Steve Simms, Cale Foster, the mx101 crew and Geoff from Gp Moto…and as always you Mr. Rainford!
Before I start this week, I would like to send my condolences to the friends and family of Marianne Brodeur. We all love to ride dirtbikes. Some of us prefer moto, others prefer off-road. We all have one common love, and it can give us so much joy at times, and so much pain other times. I, myself, have had a few instances where I have wanted to pack it in and never ride again. Most of those times are the first few days in the hospital after a big crash. I have had a few scary ones over the years, but for some crazy reason, I keep coming back for more. Is it the speed? Is it the thrill? Maybe it’s the nice new gear? Whatever the reason, I’m sure I am not the only one. The more and more I think about it, the more I honestly believe it is the people. In no other sport like moto, do you have people open their hearts, homes, and wallets to their fellow competitors and racers. I have been very lucky to meet, to work for, work with and race against people from all over the world, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
The Corduroy Enduro
As the days get shorter, and the temperature drops, it means that this year’s Corduroy Enduro is just around the corner. I haven’t received my race bike yet, but not to worry. I’m going into this race to experience something new and have a good time. There are quite a few keyboard warriors out there talking about how nasty it is, and how bad I’ll do. Yes, it is a nasty race, yes I will get wet and dirty, but who cares. I get a chance to ride a terrific motorcycle courtesy of Husqvarna Canada, and I’ll be smiling from ear to ear. At least that’s the plan. I’m honestly just looking forward to meeting a lot of great new people.
Check out this video that MX and Off Road put together from the 2013 event. Jeff, you may not want to watch this. We know that Jeff Morgan from MX and Off Road is also competing in this race so the two will be going head to head. I just need to figure out which class to sign Jeff up for because apparently Vet is for over 40 riders…
What does Las Vegas have for the odds Jeff sees the checkered flag?
This past Tuesday, I headed out just North of Oshawa to meet at Just Giver Productions’ practice track. There, I was met by Marc from KTM Canada, and he had 2 beautiful 2016 KTM SXF models. He had the new 350 for me and the 450 for Chris Pomeroy. After putting on some fresh KTM Fox gear, I headed out on the track. I don’t want people to think I’m kissing butt here, this is my honest opinion….WOW! I joked with Marc saying, “I think you gave me the 450 by mistake.” I will be riding the bike as much as possible in the coming weeks and months and will give a proper assessment as soon as I can.
That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out our feature on Marcus Nilsen. I met Marcus down south at GPF a few winters ago, and I caught up with him this past weekend. It’s a really good read, so check it out. While you’re at it, look for this week’s ‘Out of the Blue‘ with Danielle Bechard. Have a safe weekend, and always #smileforBC!
Thanks, Jeff. Let me also start off by passing on my sincere condolences to the family and friends of young Marianne Brodeur. We all know the reactions — she died doing what she loved, and all that — but we just lost a very young person and that really sucks. Make no mistake, whenever you throw a leg over a bike you are taking a risk. Please make sure to always ride within your skills and wear the appropriate safety gear.
I had a long talk with Marianne’s boyfriend, Simon, this past week and his retelling of the incident was absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve seen far too many accidents covering this sport and it has almost made me pack up my camera equipment and walk away from moto; I actually got as far as starting my car a few years ago at Lake Whitney. This sport is the greatest on earth and we all know that part of the draw is the ‘extreme’ side of it. There is no denying motocross is the most fun you can possibly have. Period.
Sadly, Marianne won’t be the last person this sport takes from us. All we can do is take every precaution we can to to minimize the risks. I say this as someone who lives and breathes this sport: ride relaxed and within your abilities, and wear safety gear.
There has been a lot of talk swirling the sport since the final round of the 2015 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals. People have been saying they heard Walton Raceway just had its last CMRC Pro National. There are rumours about the disappearance of Sand Del Lee, and River Glade from the schedule. What gives?
I’ve been calling around to speak with the ones who run these tracks, the sponsors of the series, and CMRC President, Mark Stallybrass. The story you get depends on whose interests are at stake, and that seems to be the bottom line.
All I can really confirm here today is that everything will be released and made public after the Manufacturers’ Meeting, October 26th.
In a lengthy conversation with Mark Stallybrass, I was able to confirm that “there will be a number of changes” for 2016 and that these changes were “at the request of the sponsors and the manufacturers.” The old adage seems to ring true: if you want to know what’s really going on, follow the money.
Title sponsor, Rockstar Energy Drink, has a lot invested in the series and although some of the track on the circuit are great and the favourites of many, if there isn’t, for example, a number Macs stores within a reasonably close distance to promote both the series and the drink, then something needs to be done.
The same argument could be made from the standpoint of the manufacturers. Ideally, races would be held as close as possible to where the manufacturers have dealerships. Calgary would have to be the flagship location to keep the people spending the most money happy and that sounds like what the aim of series is and has to be for its health and longevity.
I think what I learned in my phone calls is that there are going to be a few unpopular decisions made in the short-term but that they are being made with the series and its major sponsors in mind. We’ll just have to wait until October 27th to find out what the end result of all this hullabaloo is. Nothing is set in stone at this point but that’s what has most of the tracks nervous and is why they are after a long-term commitment from the series at their end.
Vince Friese to Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki for 2016?
Just when you weren’t sure if you’d see Vince Friese and Kaven Benoit on the same track at the same time again, it looks like we are getting closer to making that a reality. We’d heard the rumour that Vince was in talks with Jason Hughes at Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki so we gave him a call today.
Although Jason couldn’t say it was a done deal, he did confirm that “there is a deal in the works” that would see Friese on a Kawasaki 450 as Brett Metcalfe‘s teammate in 2016.
Vince showed up in Calgary and took the MX1 overall so he should be an instant contender in the big bike class next summer. We’ll be sure to post the Press Release if and when one is available.
2-Strokes in MX2 for 2016?
We’re also hearing that there should be a final decision made on who (if anyone) can ride a 250 2-stroke in the MX2 Pro/Am class at the nationals in 2016. At this point, it sounds like it is going to be restricted to those riders WITHOUT ANY FACTORY SUPPORT.
OK, so where does that line get drawn? Obviously, our major team with the big rigs will be out, but where does that leave a rider like Liam O’Farrell? Liam got his support through Orange Motorsports but that dealer got the bike through KTM Canada, so what does that mean?
The teams that I spoke to were clear that they are going to need something in writing to ensure these rules get followed to the letter in 2016. We should have an answer to this question after the Manufacturers’ Meeting in late October too.
Cycle North Will Not Defend Arenacross Title
We heard the unfortunate news that due to lack of support the Cycle North team will not be able to defend their 2014 Future West Arenacross title this fall. Team owner/manager Kourtney Lloyd confirmed that Ross Johnson will not be able to race the series with the team’s support. Good luck to Kourtney, Ross and the rest of the gang involved with the team.
2015 Monster Energy Cup Track
OK, that will do it for this week. I spent most of the day chatting with people on the phone and ended up having very little time for typing! Have a great weekend, everyone.