Kyle White may not make every 450SX main event throughout the year, but he does have an impact on the sport. Kyle and his brother Brian own the K1 Speed/BWR Engines/SSI Decals team that has seen riders such as Tony Archer, Cade Clason, and Nick Kouwenberg hold a spot on the team alongside Kyle.
We caught up with White after he got done with his day job to see how his team got its start, what it's like to run it alongside his brother, and how he finds the time during the week to be a professional supercross rider.
Racer X: When I texted you to do an interview this week you said it would have to wait until after work. Where do you work during the week?
Kyle White: I actually work for an excavating company here in Illinois. Just outside of my hometown. I’ve worked there for the last 10 years actually.
How did you get involved with that?
My dad works there and I started when I … my first day out of school when I was 16. That summer I started working there and I’ve worked there ever since.
What kind of difficulties do you have staying in shape and getting enough time in on the bike during the week because you spend your days working?
Honestly, early in the season it’s not bad. I work for an excavating company so in the winter here it snows and we get slow. I’m able to go to California and stay out there for the whole West Coast and all that. Last week was my first week back at work so it gets kind of difficult now. It’s a crazy schedule for everybody, though, because we go from the east and then we go all the way out west and then we come back. This time of year we’re all established and in shape and all of that, it’s kind of maintaining at this point. It’s not like anybody’s going home during the week and doing a lot of work to get a lot better the next weekend. It’s maintaining and showing up on the weekend and hitting your marks. So it works out all right. It’s a long season so it’s easy to get burnt out at the end of it. It’s a good change of pace to get back to work. Last year I made my first main event in Detroit and the first week I went home to work was the week before Detroit. Same thing last week, my first week back at work was the week before St. Louis and I made the main there. So I don’t know, maybe going back to work is good for me! [Laughs]
Before all of this you went to college and got your associates degree. Was that always the plan? Was racing kind of secondary to school or was it the other way around?
Racing never really was my main priority. I never really had an amateur career to speak of. I never did Loretta’s or any amateur nationals or anything like that. My brother and I started racing some arenacross and it kind of just went from there and took off. I guess I just wanted to see how far I could take it.
So you did arenacross for three years?
I did three full seasons. In AX Lites I got second in points in 2013 and ’14. Then after arenacross was over in 2014 I did the last four supercrosses and that’s when I decided to stick with supercross after that.
You were fairly successful in the Lites class, what made you want to jump up to 450?
I went and did those four and I enjoyed them and I had a lot of fun with them. My brother and I run a race team, also, the K1 Speed/BWR Engines/SSI Decals team, and it just opened up a better avenue for sponsorship there. When we went to supercross is when we were able to bring K1 Speed on as the title sponsor. And just to get a little bit more money into the program there.
What was the biggest shock to you when you did switch to supercross?
For me it was just the differences in the tracks. Because in arenacross sometimes you’ve got a 20-second lap time and you can get the track down really perfect really quick. Supercross to me was just a lot more track to learn and it was tough to keep my aggression throughout the whole track.
And your hub is out of Illinois for most of the year. Did you have trouble finding places to practice to help you with the supercross tracks?
We leave in the beginning of December and head to California because there’s not really any supercross tracks around here. The closest supercross practice track around here is five hours. There’s one down in St. Louis to ride at and there was one up in Minneapolis, also. So it was five hours to go ride a supercross track. I would try in the fall when I get a chance; I try to go down on the weekend and ride a couple days at a supercross track. Then just leave in December to go to California to do the pre-season out there.
So what made you and your brother want to take that step into managing a fully functional team?
We kind of put together a little bit of a team in arenacross, which really was more of just a group of buddies going and splitting expenses. It really just kind of evolved from there. It wasn’t ever something where we were like, “Hey! Let’s start a race team.” You know what I mean? It kind of just came about because we were passionate about racing and did whatever it took to get to the races. In 2013, I think we had four bikes and seven people in a Ford van going to all the arenacross rounds.
Not only my mechanic, truck driver, and rock solid foundation to the @k1speed @bwrengines @ssidecals Team, but most of all my brother! I can certainly say I wouldn't be where I'm at and accomplishing the things I'm accomplishing without him. We make 1 heck of a team and I know these days won't last forever so I'm here to enjoy them! #Repost @fxrmoto with @repostapp ・・・ Solid crew right there @kwhite291 @bwrengines @k1speed @ssidecals @supercrosslive #sx #supercross #supercrosslive #sxonfox #dropthegate #thisismoto #fxrmoto ? @freestylephotocross
What roll do you and your brother play in managing the team week to week?
My brother is my mechanic, he’s the truck driver, he owns BWR Engines so he builds all of our motors. He’s also a Race Tech Tuning Center so he builds all of our suspension. I pretty much take care of the financial end of things with contracts—rider contracts, sponsor contracts, stuff like that. We just work together and try and do as much as we can. He takes most of the load off of me during the season so I don’t have to stress too much on it. He works his tail off. He works way more than what he gets paid for. [Laughs]
I kind of had this conversation with Ronnie Stewart, who managed to put a pretty legitimate program together without getting fantastic main even results. How have you guys managed to do that?
We’ve got a lot of sponsors that we’ve stuck with for a lot for years. Since 2010, that’s seven years with a lot of sponsors. We’ve just built good relationships and been good to people, and things just seem to come together like that. Our program really has been built around good bikes. With my brother being an engine builder and then being a Race Tech Tuning Center our bikes are really good. When people talk about riding our bikes, they’re like “Yeah, those bikes are really good.” I know Tony Archer came on to ride 250 East for us this year and we were talking to him and he was kind of wishy-washy. Then he talked to a couple people and they were like, “Yeah, their bikes are really good.” And he called back and was like, “Yeah I’m gonna take the deal.” So that’s good to have that reputation that as a smaller team we have good bikes. That’s really been our biggest thing that’s helped us be successful.
Any sponsors you’d like to thank?
K1 Speed, BWR Engines, SSi Decals, Race-Tech Suspension, Freeport Honda Kawasaki, Rekluse Motorsports, Bel-Ray, TuBliss, Works Connection, No-Toil, Evans Waterless Coolant, MotoSeat, Yoshimura, RK–Excel, Dunlop, FXR, Arai, Dirt Tricks, Pro Taper, WebCams, THINK Technology, Atlas Brace, and EVS.