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5 Minutes with... Kyle Chisholm

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MCRMX Yamaha’s Kyle Chisholm has been turning his season, and maybe even his career, around after the crazy end to his season in 2009. He’s back in 2010, has picked up a new ride, and he’s banging on the door outside the top five. We talked to him about it.

Racer X: You grabbed seventh place last weekend, so that’s pretty solid for a guy who didn’t even have a ride when the season started, isn’t it?
Kyle Chisholm: I finally got a decent start. In San Francisco [his first race for the MotoConcepts Racing Yamaha team], I just jumped on the bike. I didn’t get any testing time at all because the deal didn’t get done until Thursday afternoon, so even though I was riding a Yamaha before, this bike was way different. Then it rained the whole next week before Anaheim II, so I didn’t get much time on it then, either. I really only started getting time on it before San Diego, but we’ve done a lot of testing the past couple of weeks and I’m a lot more comfortable. This week it was better, though. I got some more stuff figured out.

You raced the German Supercrosses this off-season, including the race the same weekend as Anaheim 1, but you probably could’ve had a Lites ride with a team, except the rules kept you from being able to sign a deal with any of those teams.
Yeah, it’s a stupid rule in my opinion, and obviously it sucks for me, but it is what it is. I set my mind to do good on my own and see if something comes along in 2011, or maybe through the year like this did.

Yeah, but you got the ride for this year, which is better, right?
Yeah, it is, but I figured if it didn’t happen, I at least wanted to put results in and get it together for next year. Since I got my knee fixed after supercross [in 2009], I’ve been a lot better withougt having to worry about that in the back of my mind, and the knee was why I didn’t do the first two German races, actually.

That rule that kept you out of the Lites class is kind of bunk, though, because you didn’t have a lot of Supercross Lites experience, and you couldn’t have been expected to pass up a ride on a team like the San Manuel Yamaha team. That doesn’t mean you’re too fast for the Lites class or something.
I raced supercross in ’06 and then did the Canadian outdoors, and then in ’07 I broke my heel at Phoenix, so I did one race that year. Then, I raced in ’08 on the Lites bike. So, really, I had two years of experience under my belt before last year, so I did more supercross races last year than I had in my entire career before that. So, when I was talking that over with the people at the AMA in the off-season, I was telling them that, and no offense, but there are a lot of guys in the Lites class that have been in the Lites class for 10 years – they make a career out of it. And I actually don’t have a problem with that, but you shouldn’t let them do that, and then keep me stuck in the 450cc class like this. Then, Jason Thomas got to move back down in 2009 because he didn’t finish in the top 20 in 2007, and when I pointed out that I didn’t finish in the top 20 in 2008, they said it was because I didn’t race that class, and I have to race it to finish outside the top 20.

Yeah, I can see how that would be frustrating.
The thing is that I don’t race as a hobby. A hobby would be something like R/C cars or something, where you buy cars and you go have fun with it in your spare time. A hobby is something you spend money to do. So I was telling the AMA, “You guys are telling me that I have to turn down money for these paid rides in order to turn around and spend more than I would’ve gotten paid to pay my way to the races? I race to make my house payment and my mortgage and pay my bills.” I mean, it’s not that I don’t love to race, but it’s not a hobby.

Yeah, you can’t act like it’s not a job. You do it full-time and train full-time. You can’t ride at your level, and finish top seven in an AMA 450cc Supercross main, and have a job on the side.
Yeah, basically they’re telling me that I have to turn down these rides for money, and the only option otherwise is to pay to race because there aren’t enough rides to go around in the 450cc class. It’s just kind of a dumb rule. Even Timmy Ferry doesn’t have a ride, but if he was healthy, he should be allowed.

And the funny thing is that if Timmy raced Vegas at the end of the year, he would not be in the top 20 in points, and he would be allowed to ride the Lites class in 2011, but you couldn’t this year.
That’s what I explained to them. I think there shouldn’t be a rule like that at all, because just like with the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Jimmie Johnson can race that one on Saturday and then the Cup on Sunday. They’re both professional racing series.

I don’t even see a problem with drawing a line at something like, “If you’ve ever won a 450cc Supercross or National, you can’t ever ride the Lites SX class again.” That makes sense. But top 20 in a series, that doesn’t really make sense in any way.
Yeah, I can see that, too. I just can’t believe I have to turn down money and then spend money on the other side to go race. But I was also told last year before I signed the deal that the rule was top 10, and it’s my fault for not reading the rule, but that was what I was told. And I figured if I was top 10, that’s where I belonged, and if not, I could go back down, but obviously I can’t blame it on anybody else.

But luckily the MotoConcepts Yamaha team came through this year, right?
Yeah, and it’s kind of funny because I originally talked to them about riding a 250 or a 450, and I didn’t care which, but they ended up signing Dan Reardon as their second 450 guy, and they had a Lites spot open, but I couldn’t take it, and they hired a very capable rider in Travis Baker. They were cool and waited for the AMA’s decision. Then Matt Goerke got hurt, and I called them to ask if they were going to have someone fill in, and they said no, but then after Reardon got hurt, too, they called me.

Is your deal for supercross and outdoors?
No, right now it’s just for supercross, and then hopefully they want to keep me around for outdoors. But as of now, I have no deals for outdoors. I’m just trying to focus on supercross to get some good results either for outdoors this year, or for next year.
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