Kyle on his Cycle Trader/Rock River YZ450F. Photo: Yamaha
YOU WERE LATE GETTING A RIDE FOR 2014. HOW MUCH ANXIETY DID THAT CAUSE?
Kyle Chisholm: At the beginning of the season it was tough. I didn’t have anything solid going into the season. But luckily, Yamaha had actually given me my two bikes from last year?the 2013 bikes, so at least I was able to ride and train during the off-season.
WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WEREN’T ON ANYBODY’S LIST?
I had some pretty bad injuries in Supercross last year, so I was pretty much out the whole year, from basically the end of February all the way through the year. So when silly season came it was kind of tough. On top of that, being hurt obviously didn’t help me at all. But Yamaha was awesome and let me have those two bikes to ride and do what I can on them. So I got myself ready and actually Yamaha gave me a new bike just before the season started, like a week or so before Anaheim. And unfortunately, like literally the day after they gave me the bike, Ben LaMay got hurt out at Milestone. I had already kind of been talking with the Cycle Trader.com Rock River Yamaha team and then when he got hurt obviously they called me right away. Obviously a bummer for Ben, but it’s good for me. The bike is awesome and it’s going to get better every week. So I’m looking forward to improving each race.
YOU HAVE BEEN CLOSE TO QUALIFYING FOR EVERY SUPERCROSS MAIN, BUT SOMETIMES YOUR’E THE GUY WHO DOESN’T MAKE IT. IS THAT FRUSTRATING?
Don’t remind me. I want to forget about it. It’s definitely frustrating. At all of the Anaheims I had the worst luck. At Anaheim 1 I missed it by one out of the semi. I got sixth in the semi, and then the LCQ I got fifth. Missed it by one in both of them. And to be honest, obviously I was really bummed and I wanted to be in the Main Event, but for only having about 3 days on the new bike and not really any testing on it, while I was still bummed, I was pretty happy with where we were at. I knew it was going to be tough because there’s a lot of good guys this year. Then Anaheim II was the same thing. I just got in that LCQ and I was right there, but the race was so short, only 4 laps and it only lasted for a little over a three minutes. A lot of guys can go fast for four laps, so it’s not the place where you want to be, but I was there and didn’t get the good end of the stick that night. It was a bummer. And then we had a little bit of bad luck at A3 with the bike, obviously I didn’t even get to make it out to the LCQ.
Kyle has been on Yamaha’s longer than most riders on the circuit. Photo: Yamaha
IS THE NEW FORMAT TOO RUSHED?
With the new format there is only about 15 minutes between the Semi and LCQ. At Anaheim 3 we were trying to get a engine changed out and we just didn’t get it done in time. But we tried and it is what it is. Anaheim wasn’t very nice to us this year. With the new format, the races are so short and my starts, to be honest, have just been terrible. The semis are 5 laps and the LCQ is 4 laps. When you’re starting 15th or so in the races, it’s hard to get back to the top 5 because there are 7 or 8 pretty good guys that could make it out of there. So I’ve definitely got to work on the starts. I think it just comes down to a little bit of confidence with myself and the bike. It’s getting a little better each week.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE 2014 YZ450F COMPARED TO THE 2013?
Everybody knows I really liked the older generation Yamaha. I really liked it. I had my best years racing on that bike. I won some races, Bercy and stuff on the bike. The new one is a little bit better everywhere. I really don’t feel like it’s a whole lot better in any single area. The engine on the old bike was pretty good, but the new one is better. It’s an improvement. It’s easier to ride. It’s smoother, more rideable and has a usable powerband. The chassis and the frame are an improvement. When that bike first came out a few years ago, the bike was completely different. No one had ever done what Yamaha did and over the last 4 years they’ve just learned and learned. It’s better handling bike. It’s more stable, but at the same time it’s more nimble. You can move it around. It’s easier to put the bike where you want it. The traction on it is good. The frame is forgiving, but it’s still stiff and rigid where you need it to be, especially for us in Supercross. Honestly, there is an overall improvement everywhere from the old bike.