Fans always cheer extra hard for the local talent, but when the local hero also happens to be riding a two-stroke, things get elevated to the next level. Just ask Carson Brown, who raced a 250 two-stroke last weekend at Washougal, and even scored points while doing so, despite riding with an injured shoulder! We caught up with Brown to learn more about his wild weekend in the Pacific Northwest.
Racer X: Carson what’s up, how are you?
Carson Brown: I’m good! I’m just working on the RM85 build my girlfriend and I are doing. It’s starting to come together.
Well, I want to ask you about all the bikes you’re always working on and riding, but first let’s talk about Washougal. You scored points in the 450 Class on a two-stroke! Take us through your weekend.
Yeah, it was awesome! Going into it, we were thinking if everything went right, we might be able to score some points. That was our goal. The Tuesday before the race I had a little practice crash and banged up my shoulder pretty bad. I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to make it through practice. We went out there and I kind of made it through and put down one good lap. I thought, Man, if I can get a good start and make life easy, hopefully I can make it through the first moto. I got a mid-pack start and kind of worked my way up. I think I was in 16th or 17th for a little while until [Aaron] Plessinger got me, and someone else. We finished 18th, barely ground it out because I was really struggling with the shoulder. But I was glad I was able to at least get one [moto] in!
Washougal is your local national, right?
Yeah, we don’t live too far from there, just a couple hours. It was really cool, they let me go out for the parade lap first, I was the first one out for that. The fans were stoked to see the two-stroke. There were a lot of people there! I’ve never seen that many people at the national before, so it was a good one to have the two-stroke singin’ at!
I heard somewhere it was highest attended national ever at Washougal.
Yeah, I think I saw everyone in the Pacific Northwest who rides a dirt bike. Every lap around I couldn’t even hear the bike they were cheering so hard!
Washougal is tricky. How much does it help to have a local knowledge of the track?
It definitely helps. I haven’t ridden there a ton in the last few years though. It definitely helps though. A lot of guys don’t understand the shadows and how slippery it is. Growing up around that place, it helped out, especially on the two-stroke. They really didn’t till it super deep this year, so it wasn’t bogging down with the horsepower disadvantage as bad as I thought. But that place is slippery, so I was spinning a lot too. It was good and bad.
I talked to Luke Renzland after he raced a 125 at Southwick. He said the fans loved it so much he felt like he was getting pulled off his bike he was giving so many high-fives.
Yeah, even in the pits everyone was so stoked, so happy to see a two-stroke just trying. I’m not kidding, every single lap I heard everybody blowing out their voices. I think it’s really good for the sport to see that. I think a 125 two-stroke class is where the sport needs to head.
You’ve done some of those 125 All-Star races. You even beat Ryan Villopoto at one of them.
Yeah, absolutely. I think if they could make a whole series of that and do it for the kids coming up, I think it’d be amazing for the sport.
On Instagram you’re always on all kinds of different motorcycles. I can’t even keep track of them all. From pit bikes to modern motocross bikes, from woods bikes to vintage bikes. How do you find time to ride all these different machines?!
I ride a lot, and in between all that I still get all my motos in on the big bike and all my workouts and everything. But in my free time, it’s all dirt bikes all the time around here, 24/7, sunup to sundown. We love to work on them, ride them, race them, and talk about them. Everything is dirt bikes 24/7, we’re passionate about it and love every single bike. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 450 or a Z50, we’re having just as much fun together with these things, working on them and riding them. It’ll never get old. We’re true moto diehards, to say the least.
It seems like it! You’re national #65 so you’re scoring a significant number of points professionally. Is it hard to gel with your race bike when you’re on so many other bikes all the time?
You know, people ask me a lot if riding pit bikes helps or hurts my riding on the big bike, and as far as the slower bikes go, I think it helps. It shows you the momentum around the track. If you make a mistake, you’re not going to be able to go as fast and hit the jump, or whatever the case is. That’s why a lot of pros, especially back a few years ago, were riding 110s. Villopoto and [Ricky] Carmichael and all those guys were riding 110s a lot to see momentum and the fast way around the track. And riding some of these old bikes with bad suspension, it really makes you careful about your line choices.
As far as BBR [Brown Brothers Racing Motorsports] go, are you still feeling the boom or have things calmed down at all?
Things are crazier than ever in the pit bike world. Everyone was at home because of COVID[-19], and they all fixed up their dirt bikes or went and bought 110s. BBR, they’re struggling to keep up with it. It’s the best problem in the world, right? It’s really cool seeing everyone at the track riding 110s again and seeing how much fun pit bikes are. I’m really enjoying it.
Do you have plans to do any more races on the two-stroke?
Right now we have to let the shoulder heal and see how that is. We’re planning on doing the 125 Dream Race, the 32:1 Premix Classic in Montana, and who knows, we might be doing Hangtown or Pala. We’ll see how we’re feeling and how things are going. I’d love to hit as many races on that 250 two-stroke as we can. We’re planning on maybe racing a 125 in supercross next year too, so that could be super interesting. We’re kind of feeling things out there. I’d really like to be able to make a main event on a 125.
That would be crazy. When’s the last time that even happened?
I believe it was 2007, but I can’t remember his name. He did it at the Seattle supercross.
[Note – It was Michael Willard. He finished 15th on a KTM 125SX]
Man, that would be quite the accomplishment if you could do that!
I’d definitely be hopping through the whoops, but I might be able to hit some crazy lines with the bike being so light too.
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