Charlie Mullins is off to a fantastic start to the 2013 season. So far, the FMF/KTM rider is undefeated in two rounds of the Rekluse AMA National Enduro Series, and at the opening round of the GNCC series at River Ranch, Florida, this week, Mullins took a hard-earned victory over teammate Kailub Russell.
His off-season wasn’t too bad either. He and his wife, Rachel, welcomed a new baby boy a few months ago: Cooper Mullins.
Dirt Rider spoke to Mullins just after the River Ranch race.
Q: You looked like you came into the season pretty much prepared. You now have three wins in three races, including today’s River Ranch GNCC.
A: Yeah, I’ve been working hard during the off-season and I really want to win this year and I think it’s starting to pay off.
Q: The River Ranch race is a super-tough, sandy race. Did you spend part of the winter in Florida like you usually do, getting ready for this race?
A: No, we kind of changed things up this year, and since the weather wasn’t too bad at home in North Carolina, we spent more time at home. I think that will pay off for me when we go to Georgia next week, because I’ve been riding a lot clay, instead of sand, and that will pay off at that race.
Q: In the enduro series, you decided to ride the 350 XC-F and so far the results you look right at home on it. Have you adjusted to the 350 yet and what are your thoughts on it?
A: Yeah, I’m starting to feel comfortable on it and I think it was a smart choice. Riding the 450 in tight woods is a handful and I believe the 350 is the right choice for me. The 450 is an awesome bike, especially for GNCC and cross-country. But for tight woods the 350 is exactly what I was looking for.
Q: Do you think it will cause you problems switching back and forth between the two different bikes for the two series?
A: I don’t think so. The 350 and the 450 are both four-strokes and they’re not that much different. Plus, everything is identical on the two bikes, as far as setup, so it makes it easier to go back and forth.
Q: Last year was a tough one for you with all the injuries and mechanical problems.
A: Yeah, it was rough, and it just seemed like I was due for a year like that. If it could go wrong it went wrong, it was just a bunch of freak deals. I got hurt a couple of times too, but it didn’t affect my confidence, I was able to come back in the Fall and win the Missouri enduro and the last GNCC. So that helped and I had a good off-season as far as training and testing goes, so I think we have the bikes sorted out and I’m real happy with how things are going.
Q: What did you do during the off-season to turn things around?
A: I think I put a little more effort this year during the off-season in bike set-up; I guess I’m getting a little older or something. This year I really wanted to get my bike so I was happy with how it was working so we put in some good time getting that all figured out and I think it’s paying off. Another thing is [my wife and I] only spent a few weeks in Florida this year, so we’ve spent the rest of the time back in North Carolina doing my regular routine and I think that’s been a help.
Q: Do you have a different perspective on racing now that you have a new addition to the family?
A: I’ve always wanted to do well and I’ve always wanted to win, but I have a little extra motivation now with Cooper, just to come off the track and see him. I can’t wait until he gets a little older.