Seth Rarick is one of the fortunate people that have successfully made the transition from racing to the industry side of our sport. Originally from New York State, Rarick paid his dues racing all over the USA and in 2013 decided to travel north to Canada to race some of our Pro Nationals. That year, Seth raced the Gopher Dunes National as well as the Sand Del Lee National. Seth enjoyed those races so much that he came back in 2014 and raced the entire Canadian Series, and then again in 2015. Fast forward to 2020 and Seth has taken his superior knowledge of fitness and training to work alongside Aldon Baker and the famous Baker’s Factory in Florida. Currently, Seth is in charge of training the 250 riders for both the TLD KTM Team as well as the Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing Team. With all of the recent events going on in the world today, we decided to catch up with Seth to see how the Baker’s Factory Team is dealing with this disruption in racing.
MXP: Hey Seth, I’ve been wanting to reach out to you for a while now to talk about your new job at Baker’s Factory, but the months have flown by. With everything going on right now I thought this might be a good time to chat.
SR: Yeah man, it’s always good to catch up with you. As everyone knows, things are pretty crazy right now with this virus, and since the Indianapolis SX was cancelled a few weeks ago, we’ve really been up in the air with everything. Finally, this week Feld announced that the remaining rounds of SX are being pushed back to the fall so we can now focus on our outdoor training.
That is one reason I wanted to reach out to you to see how the top pro motocross training facility was proceeding during these unprecedented times.
Like I said, before we knew that SX was done we really didn’t know what to do. Do we keep the guys training for SX or do we switch up to outdoor training? Now we know that the next race they will line up for is the opening round of the outdoor series in June so that is what we’ll be focusing on.
So, are your riders jumping straight into outdoor training?
Right now, all of our riders in both the 250 class and 450 class are shut down from riding for at least two weeks. They’re all still doing some light training but no riding. With over two months until their next race and with Florida getting hot already, if they start pounding motos now they would just get burnt out. Also, the last thing our local hospitals need is to have to treat an injured rider. So, when you take all of that into account it’s best to just chill for a few weeks and then see where we’re at.
That is a good point, we see Social Media posts of people still riding at a few tracks, and while they may be keeping a good distance from others off of the track, there is still a risk of crashing and getting injured on the track. And like you said, the hospitals have enough to deal with right now.
Also, with the SX series now going until late September or maybe even October, it’s going to be a big change for these riders as September has always been vacation time. So better to relax a little now to stay fresh and then we’ll start building towards the outdoors in a few weeks.
But as you said, your riders are still doing a little training to remain loose.
Yes, these guys can’t just sit around and do nothing, they have to keep moving and doing at least one thing every day. This morning we all met at the gym for a workout. The guys are now calling this their ‘Vacation workouts’ so obviously the mood is relaxed and we’re just trying to get through the best we can. Like everyone I suppose.
What we see on the track is exciting each and every weekend with these riders battling it out, but we don’t always see what goes on behind the scenes. Not that riders of the past didn’t work hard, but today’s riders work really hard, don’t they?
(laughs) Oh yeah! Our riders are basically put in race situations at the practice track all week long. Each day they’re battling in motos with all of the telemetry that is available today. Lap times, heart rates, split times, it’s all there to see and to assess after each moto, so there’s no guessing or hiding anything. It’s a lot of work and it’s stressful for our riders, especially the young guys who I work with. But that is what makes them better, and when they get to the race on Saturday, they’re better prepared than they’re competition.
What is the hardest part about training these riders?
Good question! I think the hardest part is just dealing with each individual personality and figuring out how to get the best out of each rider. Obviously, each rider is different – what motivates one might discourage the other. Also, it’s very rare that every rider has a good day on the same day! There is almost always one or even two riders that are struggling on any given day and that is never easy to deal with. I’ve spent many a night lying in bed thinking about how to best deal with a rider who is struggling. But it’s all a learning experience; every rider goes through different things at different times. Every rider has bad days and it’s how you deal with your bad days that makes the difference.
As you said, you’re preparing these riders for competition at the highest level. If they learn how to deal with adversity during the week then they will be that much better prepared on race day.
Exactly, that is what makes our training so valuable. These riders are always competing with each other during the week, and that makes them both mentally and physically stronger. I know motocross is an individual sport but training during the week as a team works very well.
I cannot believe how our sport has evolved over the years. Back in my day and even in your day, it wasn’t uncommon to load up your bike and go riding or training by yourself. Now riders are training in a group setting, and as you said, they’re competing against each other every day.
This is one big reason why the riders of today are so good. I mean, just look at the past ten years and how successful the Baker’s Factory program has been. I’m extremely proud to now be a part of it.
You’ve been at the Baker’s Factory since late last fall. How did this opportunity come about?
Well it all happened pretty quickly, actually. Last summer I had heard that Aldon might be looking for someone to help him with his 250 program so he and I had a good chat at the Unadilla National. Then two weeks later he called and offered me the job. Obviously, I jumped at it and moved from North Carolina to Florida. It all happened that fast!
That is pretty quick! Aldon must have made a lot of calls during those two weeks to people asking about you. (laughs)
Yes, during that time I had people calling me and telling me that Aldon had called them. Thankfully, they had good things to say about me.
Looking back to your racing days in Canada, did you enjoy coming up here to race our Nationals?
Honestly, I love Canada and I loved going up there to race. The first time I went up was in 2013 when my buddy and I raced the Gopher Dunes and Sand Del Lee Nationals. We had so much fun, and then the following year I raced the entire series, coast to coast. I also went back in 2015 but that year didn’t really go so well. As I said, racing in Canada was great, and even though it wasn’t that long ago, it really feels like ages ago.
Wow, if your first race was Gopher Dunes in 2013, you really jumped into the fire. That day was one of the hottest race days ever in Canada.
That was a very hot race! I think I finished 6th that day. I don’t know, the heat never bothered me that much so I was okay. I really love that track as I’ve always enjoyed riding in sand. Sand Del Lee was also fun, as was the track in Ulverton. You guys have some good tracks up there and racing in that series was a lot of fun.
Well Seth, it’s been great chatting with you. As I said, I’ve wanted to do it for a while now and I’m glad we were able to get it done. Thanks for doing this and I hope you and everyone at Baker’s Factory remains healthy through these challenging times. We can’t wait to see everyone back on the track soon.