On the Radar | #241 Daylen Vanderslagt

By Billy Rainford

The Junior class has always been where some of the stiffest competition is found. It has always been the class where you were almost guaranteed to find qualifying races, so standing out was always a challenge. We went to the 9th Annual Sandstorm Arenacross at Gopher Dunes a couple weeks ago and #241 Daylen Vanderslagt managed to stand out against the rest of the red-numbered riders.

We grabbed him for a chat to get to know him a little better as he makes his way up through the motocross ranks.

We met #241 Daylen Vanderslagt at the Gopher Dunes Sandstorm Arenacross a couple weeks ago | Bigwave photo

Direct Motocross: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Daylen Vanderslagt: My name is Daylen Vanderslagt, I am 17 years old and I am from Sarnia, Ontario. I am currently in grade 12 and am earning my school education through an online program called ILC.

I’m not familiar with your first name. Where does the name ‘Daylen’ come from?

Well, my parents told me that initially, when they found out that I was going to be a boy, they wanted to choose a rare name that was uncommon and you didn’t hear very often. They also wanted a name that couldn’t be shortened. Personally, to this day, I have never met another Daylen.

How did you get started in racing?

My dad. When I was younger, both my father and I used to go racing all the time. Whether it was going up to our cottage and riding trails on weekends or hitting the track, we were rarely ever home on the weekends. I started racing when I was close to 4 years old. I began racing the local MX Schools races every Tuesday night and have been doing it ever since.

This may be my new favourite question: How did you pick your first racing number?

Well, at first I ran my dad’s original number which was 141, then, over time, I decided I didn’t want the same one so we decided to swap.

Daylen will likely remain in the Junior class as he plans to take a run at Loretta Lynn’s in 2018. | Bigwave photo

What is your favourite track and why?

Well my favourite track would have to be Baja Acres in Michigan. I just love all the big jumps and the sand. I like how rough the track gets. A close second would have to be Real Deal, though. After putting in a lot of hours training on the track I just love the way it flows.

Who is your favourite rider and why?

If I had to pick a rider it would definitely be Ken Roczen. Just after the crash he had, and all the time he has had off, it is very impressive that he is going to make a comeback into racing. It just shows how strong of a rider he is and how passionate he is towards the sport of motocross!

What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?

If I had to pick a Canadian rider it would be Colton Facciotti. He is consistent and has a cool style on track.

What were your goals for this season, and did you reach them?

My biggest goal for the season was a top 3 at Deschambeault, top 3 at the Baja Brawl, and top 3 at Walton Transcan. It was a big bummer to not be able to have the event this year. It was always a race I looked forward to. If we would’ve known, we might’ve hit the states a little more for some Loretta’s qualifiers. Anyway, I got a little unlucky at Deschambeault, with bad starts and tip-overs. Then at Baja I was running second in 250 C Mod and 3rd in 450 C Mod, and at the start of the second moto I hit a square edge off of a single and ended up knocking myself out. Overall, I was a little disappointed but just tried to look forward.

“My biggest rival this year was definitely Jake Tricco. He was the top rider at every Junior race and was very consistent.”

What are your biggest accomplishments?

My biggest accomplishments are simply just a few overall wins at some small races and some AMO’s. I also made it up on the podium on 85’s at Walton TransCan.

What is your favourite part about going to the races?

My favourite part is definitely getting to ride and show off all the hard work you have put in.

What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?

I really like hanging out with friends, going shopping, trampoline centres, swimming, etc., just having fun with good people.

What are your plans for the rest of this season?

I plan on making my way back down south just before we head to Mini O’s.

What are your winter plans?

Just to stay on my feet going to the gym and staying active. Get some online school credits finished then head back to real school come February.

Daylen will head south and prepare for the Mini O’s at Gatorback Cycle Park in late November. | Bigwave photo

Will you move up to Intermediate for next season?

That is undecided, but I will most likely ride Junior for another year.

What are your racing goals and events for next year?

My main goal is to qualify for Loretta’s in 2018. I would also like to do some of the bigger American Amateur nationals like Millcreek and Freestone.

Who is your biggest rival?

My biggest rival this year was definitely Jake Tricco. He was the top rider at every Junior race and was very consistent.

What should we all be binge watching on Netflix?

Shameless.

OK, thanks for chatting with us today. Good luck with your racing, and who would you like to thank?

I would like to say a huge thanks to my parents for all they’ve done for me. Also to Rob and Sherry Burkhart from Real Deal for all of the training, as well as the whole Thompson and FrankFit crew, WCK Honda and Honda Canada for all of the support, Team Ltd, DND, Scott, Mobius, and anyone else thank you. Also, a huge thanks to Direct Motocross for the opportunity.