Carson Brown On Racing Two-Strokes, Winning Red Bull Straight Rhythm and More

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The two-stroke dirt bike engine refuses to burn out or fade away thanks in part to pro riders like Carson Brown.

In some respects, Brown makes his living off the two-stroke. Of course, he races, but perhaps more than gatedrops he helps keep alive the grit and glamour of braaap, the audio bat signal of two-stroke dirt bikes.

Brown recently won – for the second time – Red Bull Straight Rhythm in the 125 class, he finished 18th in the 450 class on his 250 two-stroke at Washougal National and fans of smokers sure seem to can’t get enough of his riding and bike build videos. He just put the finishing touches on a KDX220 and future plans include building a YZ85 into a supermini and putting a YZ125 motor in another. After that, likely an RM125 and an RM250.

Brown works on the bikes with his fiance Claire who helps with wrenching and sometimes makes an appearance on the bike build videos. For those not familiar with dirt bike vernacular, that means she actually works on the bikes and helps with stripping down, tire changes, putting spokes on a wheel and swapping out a carb along with basic maintenance. Brown’s family owns BBR Motorsports which gives him a near endless supply of dirt bikes to work on. OK, maybe not endless but it sure helps his hobby. As a result, Brown’s love of two wheels extends beyond dirt bikes as he enjoys just about any two-wheeled motorized vehicle.

MotoSport sat down with Brown in between bike builds to see what he has cooking for 2023.

MotoSport: You’ve developed quite the reputation on the two-stroke. What do you like about riding smokers?
Carson Brown: It’s fun for us because the bikes are a lot simpler and cheaper, it takes a different set of skills to ride a two-stroke, and they’re obviously tons of fun! Since they have a different powerband, you have to ride it like a rollercoaster to keep your momentum. It doesn’t have bottom-end like a four-stroke so it’s really fun to let that thing sing at the top end. They’re also very easy to work on, which makes life easier as a Motocross racer.

You proved your worth in Straight Rhythm. Winning the 125 class. Twice now! How was that experience?
It’s super cool, I was happy that they brought it back this year. To have an event where all the pros are on two strokes is really great because in the modern age it’s rare to see high profile two stroke racing. I love the tracks because they’re technical, and it’s nice that you’re in your own lane too. You don’t have to worry about other racers, pileups or getting a start in the back of the pack. It’s all on you since you’re in your own lane. It lets you fully showcase your skills and your speed since you don’t have to worry about variables that are out of your control from other racers. The fans seemed to be more stoked to see two-strokes out there, and it brings an old school feel to that kind of racing.

And, you got a top 20 in the 450 class at Washougal riding a two-stroke. Did you expect to do that well and what kind of damage could you have done on a 450?
My goal was a top 20 this year so I was super stoked with my finish. Hopefully we can improve on that even more next year. Obviously, if I was riding a 450 I would have had quite an advantage over riding the two-stroke, but I always enjoy letting the 250 sing for a race. The fans and sponsors are more involved and willing to support me with the two-stroke than if I’d ridden a 450, which is really cool!


Written by Slaw Dog

Just a dog trying to find my special bun.

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