Frid’Eh Update #29 | Hayden Halstead Interview | Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #29 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Yamaha Motor Canada. We’re on a weekend off in the 2021 Canadian Triple Crown Series MX Nationals but the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships are headed to Washougal on Saturday. Man, I miss that yearly road trip down from Vancouver. Is the Double Deuce still there in town? Is my photo still behind the bar saying, “DO NOT SERVE THIS PERSON!”? (Actually, it would be my friend Kris whose photo it would be.)
Hayden Halstead is #29 this season and has raced the last couple weekends at Gopher Dunes and Sand Del Lee. Hayden and his parents have always been ‘Friends of DMX’ and their pits are always a first stop when we show up to the races.
Here’s a look at Hayden’s results so far this season:
The numbers don’t really tell the story here. Hayden has shown the speed to run up in the top 5 but issues have kept him from realizing his potential, so far.
We got in touch with him this week to find out how the season has been going and what he has planned for the future:
Direct Motocross: Hey, Hayden. It’s great to see you back at the races this summer. We spoke on a practice day at Gopher Dunes, but can you tell us again what you’ve been up to over the winter and spring, heading into the summer racing season?
Hayden Halstead: Hey, Billy! Its definitely nice to be back enjoying that racing vibe! Last season I rounded my season off with a nice 4th place at SDL but had to sit out of the last race to get married. Little unfortunate that the racing schedule got pushed later into the year than normal due to COVID considering how well I’d been riding. That being said, I definitely don’t have any regrets since we stuck to our original date for the wedding and ended up having a normal guest list of 85 people and had one hell of a good time!! There was a couple week window that allowed 100 people for an outdoor wedding. I think it was less then 2 weeks after our great day they cranked the restrictions back down.
This winter I trained a couple local kids in my personal gym and was steady with the same local trucking job I’d had for a few years now. This spring I got super busy with training riders on track skills. It was a great time and I really enjoy teaching these up and comers.
If things were normal, your plan was to race south of the border, though, right?
Yes! Last season my plan was to race the AMA east coast nationals. I bought two of my own YZ250f’s. Built a fully spec’d race bike and was planning on hitting up Club MX for as long as I could afford. Plan was to go straight from Club to WW Ranch for the first national. That got wrecked pretty quickly when the border closed.
After that we went into our first lock down and real life got a lot more serious. My dad was off work from Toyota and my work slowed down at least 75%. Things did turn around pretty quickly but last year was a strange one for racing with the schedule being changed weekly and no one really going south to train.
You showed up at Gopher Dunes for the National and finished 7th at Round 3 and then 8-16 for 13th at Round 4. Can you take us through how that weekend went there?
Nice Gopher and ROUGH Gopher! The Saturday was my first race. I skipped Walton 1 because we actually closed on a house that weekend. I wasn’t sure where I would stack up to the field with how busy I have been this spring teaching and not so much on my regular moto training grind myself. I was pleasantly surprised with a great start, almost getting the hole shot and settling into 5th for most of the race. Last few laps I got the short end of the stick twice with lappers and finished 7th. It was a little disappointing after putting the work in for 20+ minutes and then have that happen. But hey, it’s racing and that’s why it’s so much fun on the right day!!
Sunday was the same thing, decent start first moto, track was super rough and rode good for an 8th. The second moto I was looking forward to using my sand experience with the super rough track but the Gopher monster bit me in a fast corner a few laps in. I fought back to 16th but was down a long time so it was difficult to really get up there.
These two right here:
And then Sand Del Lee was a bit of a rodeo for you. Had a mechanical on the race bike and 2nd moto on your practice bike? How did that day go?
Sand Del Lee was rough for me. It’s unfortunate because I felt awesome. I love that track, the prep was all time. As Kevin Tyler would say, it was “Amaze-Balls.” I had a decent start first moto and felt really good, but my bike had a mechanical issue that took me out of the race. Lucky enough after taking it apart this week it won’t need too much to get back going, thankfully.
Second moto I rode the stocker and ended up at the bottom of a first turn pile up. I picked up a bike off mine with a rider basically still on it, kind of funny! It took a while to get back on my bike but I definitely had fun playing catch up. I was throwing down some good lap times and made it back to 14th. Lots of times I wish the MX2 motos were 30 minutes long like MX1. Even with less training I am still down for even longer motos. I had some good times with my Sand Del Lee family that weekend before and after the races so the trip was definitely worth it.
You have to be pretty happy with the way you’re riding though, don’t you?
For sure! It was nice to still have the confidence in my fitness and getting that feeling of flowing at a fast speed. There’s no better feeling than making passes all race and still feeling like there is more left in the tank, cardio-wise, at the checkered flag.
How are your parents liking being back at the races? They miss it as much as you, I bet!
Yep, it’s definitely a lifestyle after this many years of racing.
But now the word around the water cooler is you’ve made a recent purchase and may be changing directions? What’s all this 150 2-stroke talk?!
It might be true! I was throwing ideas around with my dad on Saturday at Sand Del Lee and thought it would be fun to ride a few GNCC’s in the MX3 pro class down there. With all the premix races happening up here I figured why not. I will be selling my race 250f and working on my house all fall so I figured it would be a fun bike to own in the meantime.
So, you’ll be lining up in the FXR PreMix class then?
Well, I definitely don’t have time to test and prepare to race the two-stroke for this year’s Premix. Like I said, it will be a fun bike to have with lots of options opening up to race it in the future.
What does the future hold for you? Are you still hoping to go south and race?
Yes, for sure, What I will be riding I’m not so sure. I feel like I’ll be having too much fun on the little two-strokes to go back. That being said, maybe I could pull a (Luke) Renzland and race some MX2 pro nationals in the AMA or up here. Next season Premix and MX2 on the smoker would be a lot of racing and fun!
What will you do on this off weekend?
This weekend….Work! Friday, Saturday and Sunday! If I was off I would for sure be hitting up the Gopher Dunes XC race.
Will you go to Deschambault?
No, sir. It will be all housework from here this year. If I have any free time it will be spent teaching and riding myself! I’m sure in the fall I could sneak out to a few AMO or at least the last Gopher race!
OK, I can’t wait to see you rip the little 2-stroke! See you soon, and who would you like to thank?
Thanks again, Billy! I can’t wait either, back to the roots! Always first, my family and wife for still enjoying going to the races. McKee Sport, almost going on 20 years dealing with them. FXR has been hooking me up since 2015! Newf at 100% and Atlas Brace. Joe Skidd SSS, Ken Hansame, Ride Engineering, Kevin Tyler and the Smeatons for being my official pit crew.
Since I won’t be chasing the MX Nationals this weekend, I think I’ll head over to Gopher Dunes to check out the Off-Road OntarioSandbox XC event on Saturday. An added motivation is the fact that this will be the first time I’ll see people riding on the new clay-based GP track.
Motopark AMO Races this Weekend
If you’re in Ontario for the Nationals and looking for a race this weekend, Motopark is an option for the AMO Provincial Championships.
Click the link below for all you need to know.
Faces at the Races | Sand Del Lee
Let’s have a look under the helmets and around the pits from Round 5 of the Canadian Triple Crown Series MX Nationals at Sand Del Lee.
We’ve got a weekend off before we head to Deshambault for a Sunday/Monday race weekend after the 2021 ECAN.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Good luck, wherever you’re lining up across the country this week.