Countdown to EnduroCross: Interview with Team SRT's Kyle Redmond
Team SRT’s Kyle Redmond is a veteran of the EnduroCross series having raced since the 2008 season. The veteran racer from Lake Hughes, California finished 5th overall in the 2016 season with two podium finishes and despite having surgery on his wrist in January, Redmond has been putting in some strong finishes during the off-season. He finished second at Last Dog Standing at Glen Helen Raceway in mid-June and won the Red Bull Rocks and Logs race in Canada just a few weeks later. We caught up with Redmond to hear what his thoughts are leading in the 2017 EnduroCross season.
Your best result last year came at Boise, Idaho with a third place. What was it about that night that came together for you so well? “I thought the track was really good. It was technical enough for me to excel at. On top of that, I had some issues at the beginning of the year with the team and the bike breaking. I think that was the first race that I was actually fully comfortable. It took me awhile to get going last year, which had to do with suspension.”
You recently began riding a Husqvarna after riding a Beta. How have you adjusted to the bike this off season? “It’s just been great. The adjustment is going onto something that doesn’t have any faults, so it’s not much of an adjustment. It’s just been a great experience so far. I’m just happy to ride the bike. It’s obviously the best bike out right now. I feel lucky to be on the best equipment that I’ve been on in a long time.”
You’ve raced two-strokes and four-strokes during your EnduroCross career. Which do you prefer and why? “I’ve been on a two-stroke for the past four years leading up to this year. I got on a 350 and that’s what I am going to be racing. I am making the switch. I think I’m a pretty big guy and the the two-stroke suited my style for the most part, but on some of the easier and faster tracks, I felt like I was maybe lacking a little bit of speed. I think the 350 is going to be good for me because I am one of the heavier guys in the field. I think it’s going to be good for starts and some of the easier tracks. I realized that I was kind of thinking along the lines of the tracks being super technical and having an advantage, but last year we kind of didn’t get that as much. We kind of got 80 percent easy and 20 percent hard. I think making the switch is just going to be smarter for me.”
What would you say the biggest change you’ve seen over the years as far as the tracks are concerned? “I think the tracks have gotten a little faster and a little more jumpy. We’ll see some old features in there still, but I think nothing is really new to us anymore as far as the tracks. We’ve seen almost everything they make, so I think that makes it easier. It’s not just that the tracks are super easy now. Everybody is getting so good and so much better at what they build. We’re not being surprised anymore by the tracks. It’s all about just going as fast as you can. I mean it’s always been about that, but I just remember in the past, maybe like five years ago, it was like, ‘How are we going to make it through this?’ or ‘That’s the race right there, that section. If make it through that every lap without getting stuck, you’re going to be on the podium.’ Stuff like that doesn’t seem to happen as much anymore. I think Boise was one of those tracks last year that had that with that crazy woodpile. Personally, I like that and I think every track should have something that mixes it up and makes everybody get stuck and crash. That makes it exciting. I think every track should have fast jumps, too. I think it should be a mix of both at every track. We’ll see what they come up with. I just hope it doesn’t get boring.”
We’ve seen some bigger jumps in the past few years of EnduroCross such as the water pit double in Sacramento last year. What are your thoughts on the bigger jumps? “I’ve never really jumped a water pit feature. That’s something that just seems a little too dangerous. I’ll jump any tire double. I’ve jumped ones that are way bigger than at any race. I train at Colton Haaker’s house. He’s got bigger tire doubles than we ever see at a race. I’m not afraid of those. I think they’re fun. That’s another reason to switch to the four-stroke is that they jump better. Maybe some of these water features are doable on a 350, which they weren’t to me the last few years on a two-stroke. In my opinion, they don’t jump as good. We’ll see. I think it’s good for the crowd. I think it’s exciting. I just don’t want it to be too dangerous. I don’t want to see people get hurt. When it’s not a dirt landing and it’s a log or a concrete face, that’s the kind of thing where it’s like, ‘Is that really necessary?’ We’re not invincible.”
You mentioned you’ve been training with Colton Haaker lately. Is there anyone else you train with? “Yeah, [Cory] Graffunder and I are super good friends. We have been for years. I train with him a lot and I train with Colton. I ride with Geoff Aaron a lot, too. So those three guys are mainly who I ride with.”
Have you done anything differently to prepare for this season than in the past? “It’s been a really bad year for me so far. I haven’t had a great first half of the year, but I’m trying really hard to get better than I was last year. I had surgery, I got fired, and I was just in a really bad spot going into this year. Beta let me go pretty unprofessionally just a week before January. They just let me go not really at the right time of the year. It should have been a few months earlier. It really put me in a bad spot for the year because everything was already set in stone for all of the teams, rides, and deals for everyone to use their budget. I was in a bad spot then, but Craig at SRT stepped up, and he didn’t have to. He has more riders than anybody. I really appreciate what he’s done to keep me racing. I didn’t know if I could do it. I had no bikes for a couple of months. Then I got some bikes from Timmy [Weigandt] at Husqvarna, he helped me out there. Everything came together and then I got surgery, so I haven’t really started back on training until a couple months ago and I haven’t raced this year more than twice. It’s just been a different year for me compared to racing almost every chance I can. I’m just going to try really hard and I know I’m on better equipment.”
What did you get surgery on and what was that from? “I hurt my wrist the week before round one in Atlanta [last year]. I did some tendon damage, so I had a few cortisone shots to get me through the season. I just did some more damage to it because I kept riding and I just wanted to keep racing. I didn’t want to not race the entire season. It happened right when the season started. I just got some cortisone shots and kind of ran it when maybe I shouldn’t have. I did some damage and had to go in and fix the tendon, so I did that in January.”
What is your favorite EnduroCross obstacle? “My favorite would be the Matrix just because they are interesting and they’re all different. You can feel really cool and have a lot of fun in them or you can feel really bad. It’s just so up and down, you never know. There’s so many ways to go through them. Sometimes it goes good and sometimes it goes bad.”
What is your most memorable race? “I think my most memorable race would be Vegas 2013. I just had a really good day. I ended up third on the night, I was fastest in practice, and things were clicking. It was just a good day.”
What is the most difficult part of EnduroCross for you? “I think the hardest part of EnduroCross is the physical side of it and being consistent throughout the 15 laps of racing. Anybody can do one lap, but putting 15 together is just hard.”
If there was one thing you could change about EnduroCross, what would it be? “I wish more people would try it and I wish there were more riders involved in it. I think it’s so frustrating and challenging that it keeps people out of the sport. I think it kind of keeps people away because they go out there and they break their bikes. It’s hard, so they get discouraged. We need more riders out there and more people doing it."
Since you started racing in 2008, do you think there are less people racing EnduroCross now? “I think that there was a time when there was a little more people doing it. It seems like it has kind of tapered off a bit, but we have more races than we ever have. There are tons of races outside of the EnduroCross series that go on. It’s definitely growing on that side. It has to come from the top, too. There’s got to be an incentive for the young people to stay in the sport as well. It’s kind of discouraging when there’s only three real factory rides.”