Taylor Robert is one busy guy. With a long race season that sees him traveling all across the United States and abroad, there’s certainly not a ton of downtime. Likewise, keeping up with Supercross and motocross doesn’t leave us with a ton of room to spend time with the top racers in other series or disciplines. Luckily, though, that wasn’t the case when we got to head out to the 6th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day and spend time with all sorts of professionals. Among them was Robert, who was more than happy to chat for a few minutes about the foundation, as well as give us some insight into his racing.
First of all, how did you enjoy doing the team race at the Kurt Caselli Ride Day?
It was good. This event is all about having fun, and a couple of years ago I won it, so I wanted to do that again, but it’s all about having fun. Now they’ve kind of changed the format, so anyone can sign up for it and then they draw their name out of a hat to pick which pro they get to ride with. It’s pretty much completely random and there’s something tricky in there. This year we had to switch underwear every lap and they threw our boots in a big pile. It was chaos out there! My guy’s name was Gabriel and it was his first race ever and he had a blast. That’s what matters. It’s funny how someone always ends up battling with someone they know. My teammate, Kacy Martinez, her and I were the exact same speed. I’d pass her in the same spot every lap and then her teammate would pass my teammate. It was fun.
This event has been going on for six years, what are your thoughts on this last one?
It’s awesome, I think this location is really cool. Glen Helen has its nostalgia, but this place [Fox Raceway] has so much to offer and there’s something for everyone. The off-road loop is really fun and there are three different moto tracks. I haven’t been here since Fox took over, but they did a really nice job sprucing the place up and it looks good.
As far as the foundation itself goes, you’re a guy who actually gets to interact with the things that they do for safety on a regular basis. How important has it been for you?
It’s huge for us. Off-road racing is in some senses safer than motocross because you don’t have 40 guys going head-to-head into one turn, but in a lot of other senses, it’s way more dangerous. It’s more high-speed and in some cases, we don’t even get practice, so you’re going blindly into stuff. The Caselli foundation has been key in making things safer with course markings, spot trackers that can tell us if a rider is down and where they're at, things like that. There are so many unknown elements in off-road racing compared to Supercross and motocross, and it's awesome to have the foundation. They're pushing to make things safer and safer every year, and not just for the pros. It's for the kids and the amateurs, and the pros are just an extra bonus.
You touched on trackers and other technology. How much has that technology progressed over the past six years?
Yeah, they have the trackers that have g-force sensors in them. They can tell if a rider has a big G and that will then send out a notification to whoever is following the tracker or the company itself. If it’s over a certain number, they just send a helicopter in to pick the rider up no matter what. That’s pretty cool. I think a year and a half ago, I was involved in some testing with helmet g-force testings. It’s really cool because everyone that’s in the motocross industry thinks that this is a big industry, but it’s really small compared to football or something like that, so to have all of these technologies coming in to play is great.
In the off-road world, you don’t have the same season as the Supercross and motocross guys, so as far as where you’re at right now, what does December look like for you?
The month of December is pretty much my only off-time. We have a longer season because my racing goes from January to November, but we don’t have as many races. Still, we race all year long, get the month of December off, and then go right back into it in January. It’s pretty intense in that way. They have from October to January so they get a little more time, but these are tough schedules no matter how you look at it.
Going off of that, what all is scheduled for you in January?
I’m doing the WORCS races next year and then there’s a new sprint enduro series next year that should be really fun. Both of those start in January. I just got back from Chile after doing the ISDE and I’m just taking a little time off after racing down there. Then I’ll start training before the end of December and get ready for January.
So this is something I’m really curious to know, how different is it to race in a totally foreign country like Chile? Whether it’s the terrain or the environment or any other factors, I’d have to imagine it’s unique.
Yeah, the terrain in Chile is insane. It’s probably the most difficult terrain I’ve ridden at any ISDE and I’ve done eight of them now. The biggest thing is the cultural differences though. I’ve been everywhere around the world and nobody has the convenience factor of the United States. Any time of day you can go get something to eat, you can go to Walmart and get something you need, it’s all so convenient here. Even in Europe, you have to really plan it out a lot more. The grocery stores and supermarkets don’t open until 9:00 in the morning, but we’re starting at 7:00 in the morning, so you have to make a stop midway through the day to refresh our food and drinks. It takes a lot more planning [laughs]. In some senses, it’s a little annoying because you’re like, “I wish there was somewhere I could go that’s open 24 hours,” but everyone deals with the same thing at those races and it is what it is.