ICYMI | Catching Up with Hayden Halstead | Yamaha Motor Canada
By Billy Rainford
I get to know pretty much all of the racers and their families in Canadian Motocross and, like I always say, it’s my favourite part of this gig I’ve carved out for myself. When I’m at the races, there is about a zero percent chance that I’m not going to spend time with Hayden and the Halstead crew. They are good peeps.
Hayden was all set to race the AMA Nationals until COVID-19 hit us, but their loss is our gain because now we’ll see him up here at our races representing the #30 Yamaha.
Here’s what he had to say when we got in touch with him this week:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Hayden. I’m gonna go all over the place with this interview today. Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get started in Motocross?
Hayden Halstead: Both of my parents were into racing of all kinds. We trail rode together when I was young and when they recognized that I had a passion for it they sold up and moved to the country so that I could have more space for a real track and..and here we are.
I know I’ve asked you this before, but what was your first number and why did you choose it?
My first number was 160 because it was my dad’s road racing number and he has always been my role model.
You’re known to be a bit of a character. I’m curious about how that played out in school. What’s the most trouble you ever got into at school?
I never got into trouble enough to warrant a call home, surprisingly. I am sure most riders, including myself, have been on many teachers’ last nerves. Motocross was definitely good for me because it motivated me to get my work done before I got home. I had better things to do after school.
Can you tell us if long hair makes a difference for racing in the hot summer? You’ve had your share of lengthy locks over the years.
Other than the added style points, my former teammate, Shawn Maffenbeier, told me that, contrary to popular belief, long hair soaks up your sweat in ways a bald head does not.
What has been your best-ever MX performance?
Southwick 2019, hands down. No need to elaborate, there was lots of media coverage. Thanks for that, Billy. (Editor’s Note: I was only at Red Bud)
What is it you do for your 9-5?
I am a truck driver who delivers fuel for a family-run trucking company in Simcoe, Ontario.
You came into last season fresh off an injury. Did you learn anything from that? What was your best race of the season?
I definitely learned that being recovered and fresh is equally as important as training hard. I never got the opportunity in past years to appreciate that, due to being healthy and always training my ass off. Last year taught me that lesson the hard way but I am grateful for it.
And now you were supposed to be doing the AMA Nats this year, right? What was the plan?
The plan was to head down to Club MX and go straight to WW Ranch for the first AMA national. I was planning to hit most of the east coast AMA nationals as well as Gopher (Dunes), Sand Del Lee and Walton.
So, does this mean we’ll be seeing you at all the Canadian MX Nationals?
You will see me at all of the nationals except for Deschambault.
Will you give the AMA stuff another try in the future?
Yes, for sure. I am super-excited for 2021. I’m going to execute this year’s original plan next season.
And I think you might be getting married soon, too, right? Honeymoon plans during these crazy times or will you just wait?
We are pretty set on going to Hawaii but with the border closed and tourism shut down, it looks like our honeymoon savings will be growing for a while.
How come we didn’t see you at any of the pre-season Provincials?
I went to the first Gopher AMO race and it went awesome. It was tough racing a stock 250 against 450’s but I made it work pretty well! Unfortunately, I was working for the other races.
OK, tell me what I need to binge on Netflix.
Meg and I are finishing up Down to Earth with Zac Efron but I usually watch older movies like Porkies, Animal House, Blues Brothers and Crocodile Dundee. Can you see the pattern?
There, that was a little different than usual. Thanks for playing along. Who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank my local dealer McKee Sport for always helping me out and of course Kevin Tyler is really holding the team on his back this year. I couldn’t do this without those guys. I’d also like to thank GP Jeff, Kevin Kinrade, Mom, Dad, soon-to-be-wife and my work family for always supporting my racing.