The Rekluse team caught up with Austin Serpa to get his thoughts on how his season has been going, what he likes about running Rekluse auto and manual clutches, his ISDE team selection, tips for younger riders, and more.
Rekluse: You’ve been having a really good season so far, tied for the Pro 2 points lead in the WORCS series. Tell us a bit about how your season has been going this year.
Serpa: My season has been going pretty good, I’ve been really consistent this year. There are a lot of really talented riders, it’s a pretty deep pack this year. I decided early that consistency was going to be key, and I’ve only had one race that I wasn’t on the podium, which was Peoria. Other than that, I’ve seen the podium every round. I’m tied for the points lead with Clay Hengeveld right now, so it’s been going good. I don’t have any wins yet, but I’m still maintaining a healthy points lead – well tie now, but before Mesquite it was a points lead. It’s going good.
That’s awesome. What are you doing for training? Anything you’ve changed this year to help with the consistency?
At the beginning of the year up until about 3 months ago, I was just doing the minimum amount of work it took, going to the gym twice a week and riding on the weekends. These past 3 months I’ve taken my nutrition more serious and I’ve been working out, cross training a lot more, riding 4 or 5 days a week. I’m hoping that all this training pays off in about a week or 2 [at the WORCS round] in Washington.
It looks like it is already! You’re riding for the RPM KTM Race Team. How have things been going with them?
They’ve been going great. Mike has been awesome, a lot of help. He’s been a good boss, for sure. He helps me out a lot, makes sure I have everything I need. He’s definitely someone I enjoy riding for.
Serpa has been on the podium at every WORCS round this year except for one
Before riding for RPM KTM, had you ridden our products, or was joining the team your first introduction to Rekluse?
My first introduction to Rekluse was once I got onto RPM. I don’t recall ever really getting to consistently try Rekluse’s clutches. I think my dad had [an auto clutch] at one point when I was younger and I got to putt around on his bike a couple times. Last year, I just ran the manual clutches [TorqDrive Clutch Pack], then this year was the first time I got to have RadiusCX in one of my bikes. I got to race Vegas with it. That was huge help.
Tell us a little about what it was like riding the TorqDrive Clutch Pack versus the OEM clutch.
It’s definitely stronger. Last year, I didn’t have to change a clutch in my race bike once the entire season. It was good that I didn’t have to worry about clutch fade or clutch slippage or anything like that. Then this year, running the auto clutch for the first time; it was different, but it was definitely helpful in the slower technical areas. There’s something about [the WORCS round in] Vegas, I always get really bad arm pump. Not having to focus on covering the clutch as much helped a lot, especially with how low speed some of the Endurocross sections were. I could take my focus off of making sure I didn’t stall the bike and focus on not rushing through the sections. That helped a whole lot. It worked just like a regular clutch as well. If I needed to cover it a little bit or feather it a little bit, it was there like a normal clutch, but I didn’t have to worry about stalling.
Your dad had mentioned being able to run a taller gearing setup and being able to go through the slower sections without the threat of stalling. Was that one of the things that you noticed RadiusCX helped?
It definitely helped, I was able to run the bike at really low RPM, almost like it was going to bog out, but it wouldn’t stall.
Now that you’ve raced with a manual and an auto clutch, are there certain races that you’d pick one over the other?
I would definitely run auto in the slower, more technical races, especially ones like Vegas. I also think an auto clutch would be good for racing like this year’s Glen Helen because of how muddy it was.
RadiusCX is Rekluse's flagship auto clutch, combining all their latest technologies into one package. Power transfer capability is increased while eliminating stalling.
Congratulations on getting on the USA ISDE team in Portugal this year. How’s that feel?
I’m excited. This will be my first year competing in ISDE. The nerves haven’t quite set in yet because it’s still quite a way away, but I’m sure once we get there, I think it’ll hit me that it’s a pretty big deal. But I’m excited nonetheless. It’ll be cool to represent the USA, and hopefully I can do worthy [laughs].
So was representing the US for ISDE on your bucket list? One of your racing goals?
It was definitely one of my goals. I don’t have a set “bucket list”, but ISDE has been something I’ve wanted to try ever since I was watching Ty Tremaine do it. Now, getting to finally have a chance at it, I’m stoked. I can’t wait.
When do you plan to start training for ISDE?
Technically right now, my fitness is never going to be “on rest”. I’m always going to be working on my fitness and my riding. I think after Washington I’m going to take a week off and recuperate and get that fire going again that makes me want to go out and ride. As for ISDE, whenever I go out and ride, we’re practicing sprints, we’re practicing motos, we’re practicing turn tracks, everything that will help me in any aspect of racing. Long motos help with WORCS. Working my sprint speed too. Getting my lap times down 10 seconds after doing 6-8 sprints can be greatly beneficial, because I know we’ll be running multiple tests at ISDE.
How are your tire changing skills looking?
[laughs] I definitely have some work to do. They’ve greatly improved these couple months since I found out I was going. Every time I have to change a tire and a bib, it’s timed. It’s under the 15 minute tire change regulation.
Already contender at age 19, Serpa has a bright racing future ahead of him
Who’s supports you on a daily basis? Is it just you? Is your dad pretty involved in your training?
My dad is #1, he’s helping with my racing and he’s there for almost every WORCS race, every Sprint Enduro that I’m not chasing a championship for he’s there if he has the time. I see my trainer Miles, I see my good friend Zane Roberts that rides for Beta, I train with him a lot. I ride with my brother Dallas a lot. Daily basis is definitely my trainer Miles Brazil and my dad.
Your brother Dallas is racing as well. How’s the competition between you two?
It’s going good. He’s definitely getting faster and I can see improvement. He’s got a little ways before he can give me a solid run for my money, but he’s getting faster for sure [laughs]. I enjoy watching his improvements. It’s good to see he’s improving. He still has one little thing he can work on that will go a long way, while I’m working on a lot of little things to help make a little difference.
Depending on the track setup, Serpa will run either a manual clutch (TorqDrive Clutch Pack) or an auto clutch (RadiusCX)
Changing gears a bit, do you have any pre-race superstitions or rituals you’d be willing to share?
Before races, I like to occupy my time so I’m not just sitting there thinking about the race. It makes it a bit easier to cope with knowing that I’m about to go race, but not thinking about going racing.
Along with that, do you have any tips for young and up-and-coming riders that are trying to get where you’re at in the racing community?
I would just say repetition is important. I would be on the bike as often and as much as you can. Fitness is equally as important. The younger you start getting into a routine, the easier it is once you get older. The one thing I wish I started earlier was getting into a routine of working out daily. I remember when I first started, I was 17, and it was a drag for the first 3 or 4 months of trying to work out every day. Now I’m 19 and I’ve been doing it for a few years. It kind of feels like part of my day, something my day can’t go without, which makes it easier.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
FMF/RPM/KTM Racing Team of course, Mike, my dad, my trainer Miles, all my riding friends, all my sponsors: Maxxis, Nitro Mousse, Rekluse, FMF, everybody else that I didn’t mention specifically. They’re all equally helpful.
You can learn more about the clutches that Austin Serpa and the FMF/RPM/KTM Racing team trusts on our website:
If you want to stay in the loop with Austin or the team this season, check out their Instagram pages: