Darren Pine took the 51cc Sr classes by storm last season at mostly every race that he attended, regularly contesting for wins and overall podiums from the beginning of the year until the end. The young Texan started off with a title at both the Daytona RCSX and the JS7 Freestone Spring Championship, setting the tone for the upcoming races. He showed blinding speed and impressive consistency at Loretta Lynn’s, finishing in 2nd place overall in the 51cc (7-8) Limited class and he just barely missed out on the overall top ten against much more experienced competition in the 65cc (7-9) class. Pine began to gain more speed and confidence on the bigger bike and by the time 2020 rolled around he was ready to get back to winning. The 10-year-old took the win in the (7-9) class at the Arlington Supercross Futures and he also put himself on the top step of the overall podium at Spring A Ding Ding in the same class. We got on the phone with Darren to get the lowdown on how the quarantine has been treating him at Quick’s Moto Ranch, his racing season last year, and his mindset heading into Loretta’s this season.
What have you been up to the last few months during the quarantine?
I've been mostly training at Underground on the Quick's (Moto Ranch) track, it's got a lot of bumps and it helps a lot! We've been riding like three to four days a week and they pretty much change the track every day.
Back when things were postponed and Freestone was canceled, did you take some time off the bike or continue your normal training regiment?
I was still training, we didn't really take anytime off.
What about the extra free time that you've had with all of this going on and no racing happening? What have you been doing with that?
Sometimes we'll go swimming and we ride bikes a lot.
Do you live on the compound at the track or do you have a house nearby?
No, we stay in a trailer there for four days and then we go home on the weekends.
What's your relationship like with your older brother, Travis, who also races. Do you guys help each other out with stuff on the track?
Well, it's nice if my dad is telling Travis something I can usually try that, so it helps a lot.
What's it like for you to train with a former Arenacross Champion and high-level pro like Kyle Regal?
It's really good because he helps me out a lot.
What has he been helping you with lately?
Mostly getting off the brakes and clutch and stuff like that.
Last year was your final year in the 51cc Sr classes. You started the year off with a couple of wins at Daytona and Freestone. How was it for you to get 2019 started on a positive note like that?
It felt really good, I was riding really good. It was really cool to win at Daytona and race inside that Speedway.
At Loretta's last year, your main focus was the 51cc (7-8) Limited class but you also mixed it up in the 65cc (7-9) Limited class. Was it a challenge to race two different bikes there?
It wasn't that bad 'cause at Loretta's I only had like two motos a day, so it wasn't that bad. The only thing that's different on the 65 is the shifting, so that's really it.
How'd the racing go for you at Loretta's last year in the 51cc class? You had some good battles with Ryder Ellis and came away with 2nd overall.
It was good, but I was a little mad I didn't get the championship. I got a lot of good starts but I also made a lot of mistakes.
What was it like for you making the transition to the 65 and focusing on that full time starting at Ponca?
It was good. It's just a bigger bike and it's way easier to ride.
Were you able to get any Supercross Futures or anything in at the beginning of 2020?
Yeah, I did the Futures in Arlington and I did pretty good there. It was really cool racin' in the big stadium with a lot of people in it. It was really fun to ride on the same track as the pros and there were lots of rhythms. But I did really good, I went 1-1 in 65cc (7-9) and I got a 4th and 5th or somethin' like that in (7-11).
Do you like riding supercross?
Yeah, it's really fun. We don't get to ride the supercross track at Quick's too much really but we did before Futures.
What's it been like for you mixing it up with some of the older kids in (7-11) and learning from them?
For sure. They're a lot older and bigger so I can start really good, but they're faster than me on the track.
How'd the weekend go for you at Spring A Ding Ding?
It was really good. I was really mad on that first moto when I crashed, but it was cool to get a title there at my home track. It was really hard but I tried my best and it worked out!
Do you like the podium celebrations there with the fake mustaches and cowboy hats?
Yeah, it's pretty fun!
Most of the time, the QMR riders don't get a chance to actually ride on the Underground track, so what's it like for you to race over there and what do you like about the layout?
Yeah, it's really fun and there are lots of big jumps. It was really gnarly, the bumps and ruts were big and really deep.
What's your mindset going into Loretta's this year?
I'm goin' for first place!
Have you thought about what your plans are following Loretta's going into next season?
After Loretta's we'll probably start on 85s.