Darren Carter purchased some property in Illinois last July with a goal of making a fantastic riding facility for up-and-coming riders. With a background in flat track, he built his sons three different style motorcycle tracks and allows local riders to come and ride. Along with the tracks, Darren also has a race shop with some cool ideas in mind. We called Darren up to see what his plans are for Carter Farm moving forward.
Tell me a little bit about Carter Farm?
We bought a house last July located in Illinois and we have been creating and recreating tracks on the property. We have a house, workshop and 3 tracks on the property. I have a small short track; a quarter mile short track and a motocross track that weaves in and out of all of it. We are working on getting an over-under bridge put in the middle. The goal is to have people come over and ride. I want to be able to help younger riders with Flat Track and there are other great motocross riders in the area that come help the young kids with motocross skills. It’s cool to see racers from Illinois doing good and going places and we want to do our part to keep the young talent coming through.
How did the idea come about?
We rented a house for a little bit and tried to have Carter Farm there. We had a small minibike track there. It was cool but renting the land and constantly digging up the dirt and making tracks, the landlord said he was cool with it but at some point, we wanted our own thing. I wanted to have my boys set up to where they can go back and forth between flat track and motocross tracks getting the ultimate experience on two wheels. They can practice there jumping on the moto track and work on their corner speed on the flat track. Best of both worlds. I want to have a place for my kids and other local kids to ride when the other tracks are closed or not available. The ultimate goal is to have a better track in my back yard then any of the other tracks in the area.
How has the community been with Carter Farm?
When we first moved in, I went to my neighbors down the road to give them a heads up. I told him we ride dirt bikes all the time and we were going to have a lot of people riding and making some noise on the weekends. He said he shoots guns, so if I don’t have a problem with the sounds of guns, then he doesn’t have a problem with the sounds of dirt bikes. It all worked out perfect. I know a lot more people in the area than I thought I did. We have had so many people help out with loaders, dozers and excavators; the community has really been helping out. The neighbors ride too so it is all working out perfectly. The following has been getting bigger and bigger.
What is your background in racing? Did you focus more on Flat Track or Motocross?
My roots are in Flat Track racing. My dad raced, my grandpa raced, and I raced. I had a Flat Track Pro license before I had a driving license. As I got older and stop racing professionally, I started getting into motocross. I noticed motocross made me better at Flat Track and Flat Track made me better at motocross, so I kind of went back and forth.
Tell me about the workshop?
Last year we got into powder coating. We were building 150s and had the capabilities to do it so I asked myself “why are we paying people to do this when we can” so we started with that. We are going to start doing “How To” videos and put online. We have a bunch of projects and we are going to rebuild them all and explain how to do it along the way. A lot of people are home doing nothing right now with the pandemic so we thought making videos would be cool for people to watch. We also have a dyno in the shop that we are working on getting together. The goal with the shop is to be able to build a bike, tune the bike, and then test the bike on the track outside.
Do you do any events at Carter Farm?
We want to have some events this summer. We want to have a girl ride day where just girls come out and we help them and teach them how to ride. Also, a kid’s day to help them become better riders. We want to put Illinois back on the map. Chase Sexton is holding down the fort right now, but we want to have more great riders come out of the area.
DARREN CARTER: CARTER FARM
A lot of young kids are playing video games nowadays, is Carter Farm a way to keep your kids and kids in the area interested in motorsports?
Absolutely that is my main goal in general. With two boys, I have a 6-year-old named Cash and a 3-year-old named Corbin. This winter was kind of rough. We weren’t able to do as much riding as we wanted. Keeping Cash off that Nintendo Switch was difficult. I am glad the weather is starting to get better and he can get out and ride.
What is Cash more interested in? Motocross or Flat Track?
Right now, he is enjoying both of them. We are jumping back and forth between the two and he is growing his skills in general on two wheels. He loves anything with two wheels. In the house he is playing with motorcycles making dirt bike sounds and outside he is either on a bicycle or motorcycle. If he is not on the pegs of something, he is not very happy.
Is Corbin riding yet?
He has a Strider, and he is riding that having fun. We got him a little electric bike and he was a little hesitant at first. We kept trying to convince him to take it out on the track, but he wasn’t having it. Finally, a buddy of mine told him he will give him fruit snacks if he does a lap around the track and apparently that’s all it took. We had been trying to get him to do that for days. Who knew all we needed was some fruit snacks? We were trying to bribe him with all sorts of stuff, apparently fruit snacks were the ticket.
What a way to kick off my first year in MotoAmerica as an LS2 Helmets athlete! Round one of the MotoAmerica racing season was held at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton GA and was double stuffed with excitementfrom start to finish! But before we get to the race action, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Keagan “The Carolina Hurricane” Brown or KB73 for short if you prefer. I just turned 14 on May 3rd and am making my professional debut as a MotoAmerica Sportbike Track Gear Junior Cup racer for 2021. I’ll be racing a 2021 Kawasaki Ninja 400 with the Bartcon Racing team and doing so sporting LS2 Helmets all along the way! This will be my second full season with LS2 Helmets and I couldn’t be happier to be apart of the team with the likes of Loris Baz in the MotoAmerica paddock! Now then, I couldn’t race this round thanks to my birthday being on the final day of the event. 14 is the minimum and there are ZERO exceptions to the rule.
I know what you’re thinking.... “This kid is 14 years old....what could he possibly know about anything?” Well sir or ma’am, while it is true that I’m only 14, I am 9 years into racing motorcycles and have trained along side great racers like, Josh Herrin, Jake Lewis, Ashton Yates, Matthew Scholtz, Blake Davis, Benjamin Gloddy, Gus Rodio and several other great riders and coaches over the years. I’ve literally grownup trackside and fully immersed in the powersports lifestyle. “OK...so you know a few things about motorcycles and maybe even a little about racing... that still doesn’t explain why a 14 year old kid is writing articles for Pulse Magazine online.” Well, that’s an easy question to answer and I can answer it with one word.... ACCESS.
Basically, between racing in MotoAmerica, and being an LS2 Helmets athlete, I have access. Access to the goings on behind the scenes and in the paddock before and after the fans all go home, and inside info on some of the cool stuff happening at LS2. So, even at an early age, I find myself in a position to be able to offer some great insight into the world of MotoAmerica and racing in general, that you may not have otherwise ever known about! My plan is to bring you some interesting observations from my race weekends, some great photos from around the paddock, race reports on my races, as well as; a break down of the winners at each round. Think of me as the fly on the wall, or tent as it were. I will do my best each round to get some interesting odds and ends from behind the scenes that other publications simply don’t have access to. Trust me when I say that not all the most entertaining things in racing happen on the track and the story isn’t always about who finishes on the podium. The real race action is with the teams and everything that goes into even getting the bike and rider to the grid. Some of the best stories are about what the industry commonly refers to as back markers. I plan to cover it all from the glorious to the less than glorious and everything in between.
That brings me to this opening round of the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbikes at Road Atlanta. What a killer weekend! The first thing that stands out about the weekend is the return of the fans to the stands!
I was fortunate enough to attend last year’s Road Atlanta round which was delayed by Covid. At the time, Georgia was still allowing fans, but there was nowhere near the turn out as this year. There was literally a different feeling in the air as people wondered the fan zone and set up camps and seating all around the beautiful Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta facility. I think it was a great combination of returning to some normalcy, and of course, the excitement of round one racing.
Even though there was a tire test in Texas at Circuit of the Americas, many of these teams were just bringing their new bike packages to the track for the first time. In some cases, riders and other team members were meeting face to face for the first time as the team members may have been spread throughout the country with the bike being built in one place while the rider trains in another and the team owner and support staff lives yet elsewhere. This is the dynamic of Bartcon. I only met my full team the weekend before in New Jersey when I was there from North Carolina to test a bike that was built in New York and to train with teammates from Pennsylvania and Indiana by way of South Africa! The point is, the first round is just that for many of these racers and teams. The first practices on Friday showed exactly what I mean. Some bikes missed early practices while sorting out gremlins while some riders with some great winter training rose to the top of the leaderboards. Blake Davis sat on the provisional pole for JR. Cup for example. The all new Aprilia 660s fitting in both the aforementioned categories with some needing a little extra attention before taking to the track while others went out and impressed right away. Some riders found the technical Road Atlanta circuit to be a real challenge and found their way back to the pits via the safety truck rather than their own power. One such rider was first year Super Sport 600 rider Domonic Doyle. He found himself the victim of a high side during an early practice session and while the bike was not severely damaged, Domonic’s weekend was done due to a banged up arm. He expects to return in time for VIR later in May.
The racing did not disappoint with similar drama. LS2’s very own Loris Baz came out of the gate charging and even leading the first Super Bike race of the weekend before pushing just a bit too hard and finding the gravel trap resulting in a DNF. Leaving the door open for Matthew Scholtz to take the first win of the season on his Westby Racing Yamaha R1 followed closely by Bobby Fong aboard the M4 Suzuki. Teammates Jake Gagne and Josh Herrin riding matching Attack Yamaha Fresh N Lean R1s had two very different experiences with Gagne’s bike letting go early on allowing Josh Herrin to bring home 3rd position.
Stock 1000 saw some great competition and diversity on the podium. Last season it was all Cam Peterson on the Altus GSXR 1000. Cam moved on to Super Bike for 21 leaving ample opportunity for a new king of the hill in Super Stock 1000. Michael Gilbert on a new 2021 ZX10 Kawasaki went to the front and didn’t look back with Ashton Yates aboard a new Honda Fireblade RR-RSP coming in second and Travis Wyman aboard the BMW 1000 rounding out the podium. It is great to see three manufacturers in the mix and battling it out!
Last season saw the birth of a great rivalry in Super Sport 600 and 2021 seems to be turning into part two of that rivalry. Sean Dylan Kelly or SDK aboard the Suzuki GSXR 600 had a short battle with Richie Escalante on the Kawasaki Ninka 636 before pushing to the front and staying there to take first with Escalante in second followed by a hard charging Nolan Lamkin bringing home third aboard a Yamaha R6 to continue the diversity trend.