MXP Chatter: Part II of Dylan Kaelin’s post-season discussion

The second and final part of an interview with Devils Lake Riverside Yamaha’s Dylan Kaelin. You can read Part I here.

Is the Devils Lake program good enough to get you up front?
Yeah, it is. I’m happy to stick with them again. We’ve talked a lot and I like the direction of the team. Everything is good there. Going into the second year will be a big improvement with the team and I. I’m talking to the guys daily and want to do whatever we can to improve our result.

Do you guys have a pretty good parts supply on the Devils Lake team?
I don’t think there was a ton of Yamaha budget, because we didn’t have a lot of OEM parts. At Kamloops, I needed to replace my clutch and there were no spare clutches, so I had to take one out of my spare practice bike. When they raced with Josh (Clark) in 2013, they winged it and got super lucky with no DNFs and the bike worked good. They came into this year hoping it would go the same way; we had lots of 250F parts because Josh was the main guy. They learned a lot more about racing this year than last year. There were times when Josh’s bike had a broken piston last summer and they noticed it after tearing it down after a race, but somehow the thing held on . There was a point where I ordered a $1,000 worth of parts for myself: tubes, clutches and consumables that you need replacing often. The team saw that and appreciated it; they had already taken a big bite supporting us. I’m excited to go into the second year with Devils Lake; I think we both learned a lot this year working together.

Kaelin and Tyler Medaglia enjoy a good battle at Round 9 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Ulverton, Quebec.

Kaelin and Tyler Medaglia enjoy a good battle at Round 9 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Ulverton, Quebec.

Which lap, moto or race stands out the most from your 2014 national campaign?
There were a few moments. I was pretty happy with Moncton; I finished sixth place in a moto, which got me out of the seventh place rut that I was in. My early moto speed was struggling in most of the rounds but I was better in Moncton, running the same pace as third place, and I held it for the whole moto. Also, going seven rounds and still feeling that strong, I was happy with that too.

Is the 450 harder to hold onto for 30 minutes compared to a smaller and lighter 250?
Yes and no, depends on the track. The 450 is more of a ‘Man’s’ class;’ heavier bike and line choice becomes a bigger factor. Also, being the last moto of the day is tougher; the track is so blown out and they don’t prep it much before the last race. They groom some jump faces and that’s about it.

Which mistakes and lessons learned have you experienced since becoming a professional racer?
Oh, I went down the wrong road a few times since I turned pro. At a young age, I took racing way too seriously, trying to make a career out of Canadian motocross. Financially, my family and I weren’t able to do that. It caused me to make poor career decisions with sponsors because that was what I felt I needed to go racing. But now, after working with other people, it’s taught me how to work with other people and appreciate what we do in the summer, being able to go racing. I did make some bad calls but I have learned from them, and that’s all anyone can do to not repeat them.

How much did it cost you to go racing all ten nationals this summer?
From the time I quit work to end of the season, I was out $15,000 after winnings. That’s life, though, – car payment, insurance payments…I could do it on less of a budget but I kept things comfortable for the most part. In just racing related expenses alone, I was out about $5,000. Not bad really when you think about it at end of the day.

That’s not too bad. I mean, you probably won’t be doing that for the next 20 years, but all things considered, I thought it would have cost you more.
No, but I worked a lot last winter and financially got myself to the point where I had no worries during the summer. In total cash, I made just under $9,000 between sponsorship payouts and CMRC purse. All in all, not bad a year and I can’t thank the team enough because without them, $9,000 wouldn’t have gone very far.

At only 21 years old, Kaelin still has some time to move up further in the rankings. A little more testing and pre-season riding is what he feels he needs to get onto the box.

At only 21 years old, Kaelin still has some time to move up further in the rankings. A little more testing and pre-season riding is what he feels he needs to get onto the box.

I do believe many of us are guilty of thinking Canadian motocross owes us more: more money, more salaries, etc., but the truth of it is, dirt bikes are a small part of the sporting world and there’s just not much money to go around. That said, we shouldn’t look at things that if it doesn’t make us money, we shouldn’t do it. Be realistic, enjoy the sport and do your best, but don’t let yourself be led to believe there will be a pot of gold at the end of it. Your take on lack of money to be made in racing?
I do believe people need to be more realistic in their goals with Canadian motocross. I was a top 10 guy all season; my practice bike was purchased and then there are Junior kids getting free bikes from dealerships. They think it will be more in the Pro class. I’ve raced since I was 4 years-old and won a lot. I might have gotten four free bikes since then.

I am thankful for what I did and do get, but I suppose it’s frustrating for a lot of people because they saw money being made in the early 2000s. We want to see it get back to that point but that’s not how it is. We can bitch and moan about it, but this is the support we do have and we should be happy for what we do have. There are places all over the world and riders in the US who are fast and don’t have support. We need to be positive and work together to keep building the sport.

Have you talked to other teams about a ride next year?
I did talk to two other teams. I made a couple of phone calls to teams that I’m interested in riding for. I did let Devils Lake know before I called anyone. I knew the first call wouldn’t pan out but I tried anyways. The other one is still waiting; we are going to talk again in a month or so. I want to keep racing for fun. If it’s not under the right scenery, then I won’t go out of my way to call someone.

I want to stick on 450s and build towards being a championship guy. Hopefully all the roads can keep going in that direction. If someone offered me a really good 250 deal, I would have to think about it because I really want to stay on 450s.

Maybe give Tony Alessi a call about racing for MotoConcepts!
I’d rather work and ride for Devils Lake . I heard some horror stories and I don’t think it would be a good fit for me. They are pretty focused on Mike, and the next rider doesn’t get much attention, from what I hear anyways.

Okay my friend, let’s give a shout out to your sponsors and supporters from 2014. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today.
No problem, anytime. I want to thank Devils Lake and their whole crew, Yamaha Motor Canada, Riverside Yamaha, Motovan, GM Stetson, Muscle Milk, JT Chains, Dunlop Tires, Recycle Motorcycle, Maxim Oils, Ogio, SBS, Motion Pro, VP Racing, Answer, Ride Industries, Moto Seat, and of course my personal sponsors of Atlas Brace, Rekluse, Forma boots, Oakley Canada, and everybody else who helps us out on the Devils Lake team.