Industry Spotlight | Catching Up with Brandon Caplar | TPJ Racing
By Jeff McConkey
When Brandon Caplar graduated from Sir Wilfred Laurier University, I’m sure the last thing he expected to be doing for the summer of 2016 was following the AMA Pro National Outdoor series. Well, it turns out that the Ajax, Ontario, native hit the jackpot and landed a position with Teddy Parks and his TPJ Racing team. Brandon left his familiar club races and headed south to the big leagues. Along the way, he got to experience life on the road and create memories and friendships that will last forever. I caught up with Brandon in between motos at the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in late September.
(Since the interview was completed, Brandon suffered a pretty nasty practice crash which required a few surgeries. Brandon is now out of the hospital and on the mend. Hope to see you back on the bike this spring, BP. Get well soon.)
Direct Motocross: Hey, Brandon. We’re sitting here at Ironman Raceway. Tell us about your weekend.
Brandon Caplar: It’s been a pretty good weekend, so far. I survived one tornado warning and one tornado touchdown this week, so that was good. Just hoping that everything goes smoothly. We go some big reps her from Fly this week so I’m trying to make sure everything is in tip top shape and make it through the last round.
Let’s take a step back. How did you get started in this thing and where are you from? Give us some background.
I’m a good old Canadian kid out of Ajax, Ontario. It all started a few years ago. I was working in the meat department at a Costco and I had this great idea to quit that before I had a job at GP Bikes. I ended up working there for a year and met some people in the industry and was fortunate enough this year at the Toronto Supercross, as I was just graduating college, and had Ted Parks, the owner of The Privateer Journey, and he gave me the opportunity to come on the road with him and travel with the team. And just as a fan of the sport and someone just getting into the industry, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
What’s you title here at TPJ?
Originally, there were five of us that worked for the team and it started as the ‘Media Coordinator.’ Since then, let’s just say we’ve had a lot of turnover and I’m the only one left so lately they’ve been calling me ‘Team Manager’ and ‘Team Owner,’ so it’s been pretty cool.
What’s the weekly routine for you?
Typically, we’ll leave Sunday morning and drive one to three days, depending on where the next round is, and hopefully not break down. We’ve had quite a few breakdowns this year and roadside service consists of me and Ted, so that’s always fun. Fly being the title sponsor of the outdoor series, we’re able to pull in on Tuesday or Wednesday, which is kind of nice to get set up early, especially because it is just two of us setting everything up.
Thursday night and Friday are the days I get to enjoy because the riders just go through tech that day so I’ve just got to make sire they’ve got the necessary product for their bikes to be ready.
Saturdays are busy. This morning, I was up at 5:30 getting the WPS activation tent dialed in. They have a dealer set up, Fly does, so I kind of manage that and help make sure they have all their things dialed in. I have to make sure the riders are getting taken care of. I need to make sure our washing station stays clean…just have to stay on top of everything.
It’s the end of the summer. Have you enjoyed your time?
Uhh, at the end of the summer, now that I reflect back, yes. I had a lot of fun this summer. To give the usual cliché that everyone says that it’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks when you’re a fan, definitely there are some hard days.
The one that will stand out above ay other was driving from Millville to Washougal. Right on the border of Montana and Idaho, we had a breakdown on our big bus that wanted about $14,000 to come fix it. Being a low budget, privateer effort, we don’t have that kind of money, so Ted and I…and a gentleman by the name of Keaton, who made the mistake of joining us for a couple weeks…we got up at 6:00am and got into the engine compartment of that bus and we were in there until 3:00am the next morning to get back on the road.
There is definitely some hard work involved but, when Saturday rolls around, you get to watch the gate drop and we get to watch Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen win the championship this year, it was pretty exciting and well worth it.
What was your favourite round, or highlight of the summer?
My favourite round…well, I haven’t gone through tonight yet, rumour is we might be going to a Colts pre-season game, but that would be pretty cool. Last week, I had the chance to…us being a Suzuki-backed effort, we went over to RCH’s rig and were part of their festivities last week and that was definitely the highlight of the season to be a part of that group.
Is there a track that has stuck out as your favourite?
Definitely Millville. Without a doubt. Being from Ontario, if you’re listening to this and you’re trying to decide which national to go to, I would make the extra effort drive and go to Millville again. You can see the whole track, pretty much, from just about anywhere and Mount Martin is definitely…TV does not do that track justice.
Is there a track that’s maybe not the best on the circuit? Not your favourite?
Without stepping on too many toes, I’m going to say Unadilla was…it was nice to have my family down that weekend and everything, but that was the least enjoyable track for myself if I have to pick one.
So, now that the season is over, what’s next for you?
Well, I’m working on a couple different things. By spring next year, I’ll be able to come back and work for a company within the industry. That’s the plan. I just don’t want to say anything in case it doesn’t work out. In the meantime, I’m going to move back home after this weekend. I’m actually hopping on the rig with Redemption Racing, so shout out to them for getting me home and saving me a flight. I’m going to become a test editor/media manager for On Snow (a snowmobile magazine), so that’ll be pretty cool.
So, you’ve had a great summer, are we going to see you in Supercross?
I don’t know. If all works out, I may be back in the industry next summer, I don’t know for sure. It’s all up in the air. I’ve made a commitment to work for On Snow right now and if that job lives up to what I hope it’s gong to be, that could be a job I end up with for a long time. I’m kind of just weighing my options and seeing where I go from here.
What have you missed the most about Canada?
I’d say riding. We knock on our moto scene that it’s not as strong as it is down here and I had the opportunity to ride some of the…I rode Hangtown and Glen Helen and all these tracks, but people need to give our riding scene more credit than it’s getting. We’ve got some quality tracks and it was a lot of fun last summer and I’m looking forward to getting back this fall to get some quality riding in.
Now that you’re heading back, are you going to hit up the MMRS and AMO scene?
Ya. The plan is…I think Cochrane’s is the first week back, and I think the Goheens are going to let me use a motorcycle for the fall, so shout out to them. They’ve always taken care of me. Hopefully, I’ll hit up the last few rounds of MMRS and I might see if I can travel with Redemption and do Arenacross again in the fall for the eastern rounds.
Is there a certain food or fast food you’ve become accustomed to down here?
Olive Garden is pretty good. As far as fast food goes, Jack in the Box is killer!
OK, who do you want to give some love to for getting you here?
First, I’ll give some love to the team: The Privateer Journey, which we’ve now changed to TPJ Racing, Ted and Cathy Parks, they really took me under their wing, Max from Fly Racing, Suzuki, they gave us bikes, and everybody else who sponsors the team, Yoshimura, Rekluse, Lucas Oil, Engine Ice, we have 50 sponsors so to name them all, we’d be here all day. And as far as friends go, there’s a group of us that I like to call ‘The Travelling Circus:” Mario from Red Bull, and Rachel and Jason Witt from Lucas Oil.
OK, well thanks for your time and hopefully you get to that football game tonight.
OK, that’s the plan.