One-on-one with Iain Hayden

RidersWest chats with motocross professional and Canadian snowcross icon Iain Hayden

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Iain Hayden ripping around the motocross track at Motopark.

These days, Iain Hayden is focused more on the business side of motocross than actually racing, but he still finds time to twist the throttle at Motopark. — Nick Hill photo

As a motocross professional in the summer and a snowcross superstar in the winter, Iain Hayden, 31, has the best of both worlds.

He runs Motopark, a 100-acre motocross training facility in southwestern Ontario, while at the same time, manages the team that motocross stars Bobby Kiniry, Shawn Maffenbeier and now Kyle Chisholm race for.

It’s a full-time gig, but when the Canadian motocross pro nationals are over, Hayden turns his attention to training and racing snowcross.

And he just wrapped up another great season.

Heading into the final round of the 2014 CSRA Pro Open National Championships, Hayden had a strong 191-point lead. He was there to defend his pro open title, and did it successfully, becoming a seven-time Canadian snowcross champion.

RidersWest caught up with the Polaris factory racer as he was fresh off the track to see what’s in store for the summer.

First off, how does it feel to win the Canadian snowcross national this many times?

It’s pretty cool. I mean, I always go to the races to be competitive and try to win. I’m pretty fortunate to always be up front or close to it. I work hard at it and I think every year that goes by, it gets a little harder—not harder but the fall hurts a lot more when you are already on top. I think it’s a little easier to not succeed when you haven’t won. The fact that I’ve had a pretty successful career makes it a little bit more work each and every year to maintain that.

Now that snowcross is over, what are you up to?

Well, Motopark opened about a month ago. We are a little bit late opening this year—just with the extended winter we had—but we’re open now and we have our first few races coming up in the next couple of weeks so that’s been busy. And then once we get to the end of May, we start the Canadian motocross nationals and I’m managing the team again this year so we have three guys on the pro tour: Bobby Kiniry, Shawn Maffenbeier and Kyle Chisholm. It’s the same team I race for in the wintertime but I kind of help with that all summer. I’m really good friends with the guys that race and they come and spend a bunch of time on at my track, training and testing pre-season, so it’s been good.

What about yourself. Any plans to race the motocross nationals?

I don’t think so. My winters are so full and with the summertime programs at Motopark and then managing the team—yeah I could it, but I just don’t have the true interest in it anymore. I don’t know if it’s my winters are so long that I almost need to step back and focus on the business in the summertime but I’ll still ride some of the age classes and Amateur day on Saturday. I enjoy that part of it. Do I have the speed to ride and be Top 20? Yeah, but I don’t have the ambition to do it like I used to. If I had nothing to do all summer, I probably would but I have a full plate.

This year, though, you’ll be heading to Argentina in November with Team Canada ISDE, right?

Yeah, that’s kind of up in the air right now. They are working on the particulars of it. I don’t logistically know it’s going to work, just with my snowcross stuff but yes, I have been invited to ride the International Six Days of Enduro. Which is cool, but it’s like a three-week long event by the time you fly there, prep and ride and then pack up and come home. It’s cutting it close to prepping for the snowcross season, and with our one big show we do every year, which is in Toronto. So I’m not sure how that will all iron out but hopefully it will. If it works, fantastic, but if it doesn’t, no problem.

Have you ever ridden a hard enduro before?

No (laughs). When they called me, I’m like, “Are you sure you are calling the right guy?” But they tell me the way the event has been going, the MX guys are typically doing quite well with it—with the types of riding and the way it’s laid out. I understand it’s long days, which doesn’t really bother me. I’ve watched a ton of videos on it and it looks pretty cool, so it would be one heck of an experience to do, regardless.

What are your goals for next winter?

I don’t really know. Obviously, we are still going to race the Canadian stuff and do some American stuff. I have a couple of things on my health I want to work on a bit throughout the summer—little things, nothing major. I just want to get on top of that and get dialed in and go out and be competitive again next winter. I’m going to work hard. It’s a bit of a challenge for us. I don’t want to say we don’t have anything left to prove. I’ve proven that we can win in Canada, but now it’s kind of like, how long can the old guy win? And I’m kind of enjoying that challenge . . . My trainer, Drew Robertson, he’s going to work me 120 per cent and he knows what we need to do. We spend a lot of time together at the park so I’ll be around him quite a bit. We want to come back and be competitive again next winter.

As a Canadian snowcross hero, a lot of people look up to you, but is there anyone you look up to?

Just because I became really good friends with him, it would be Blair Morgan. I got the opportunity to race with him for a few years and we became good friends, and I still talk to him from time to time. He was definitely one of the most influential people in the sport—not just for me but for everybody with what he did for the sport. If I ever looked up to anyone in my racing career, it would have been him.

Well, thanks for catching up with us, Iain. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

Yeah, the guys that support our whole operation. Rockstar, being the headliner. Polaris and OTSFF, which is Andre Laurin’s logistics company. Those are the three main ones behind it, and there’s no question that if they weren’t around, it would be a big impact on us. So (I’m) super appreciative of the support those guys have offered us in the last four years.

For all the latest news and updates from Iain Hayden, you can follow him on Twitter

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