All the pieces started to come together for Kyle Peters in 2013. Following an injury-riddled rookie season with Star Racing, Peters, the 2011 250 A Loretta Lynn’s Champion, secured five top-tens in five races, including a podium in the 250SX East Region. Another injury would cut his season short, but Peters felt like he had something to build off.
The same confidence was not provided in 2014, as Peters failed to break the top ten in six 250SX East Region races. The North Carolina native decided to take a different approach this off-season and race the Australian Supercross Series to prepare for 2015. He finished third behind fellow American and two-time champion Gavin Faith, and Australian Taylor Potter. Back in the States, we caught up with Peters earlier this week to see what’s on the horizon for next year.
Racer X: First and foremost, what are your plans for next year?
Kyle Peters: Next year I’m planning on doing some West Coast rounds on a 450 again, but actually on the 450. [Ed. note: Peters rode a 250 in the 450 class on the West Coast in 2014.] I’ll also be doing East Coast Lites and then outdoors again. Me and AG Motorsports parted ways not too long ago. Just kind of doing everything on our own and go have some fun this year.
That was one of the weirder deals last year, with you riding a 250 in the 450 class on the opposite coast. What was the decision behind that? Do you think it helped much?
It was just more to get my bike ready and have some fun racing and kind of get in the racing mood. It was tough. I thought it was going to be really helpful, and I think it just kind of hurt me a little bit in some ways. It was a good deal I think for racing and everything. I don’t know if it kind of got my confidence down a little bit or not. Coming in this year, I wanted to ride the actual 450 and just see what I can do. I think I’ll have a lot more fun doing that, and able to get some starts and make some mains.
I’m sure your expectations weren’t high, but you’re right—I’m sure at some point not qualifying does hurt your confidence. Is it one of those deals where, even though you’re not going in with high expectations, you still want to do better?
Exactly. I definitely wanted to go in and make some mains and just see how I did in the mains. But me on the 250 in the 450 class, not being able to get starts definitely hurt me. I definitely could have rode better as well. I didn’t really ride so well over there. I think I was more worried about the East Coast and trying to stay healthy for that. I’m feeling a lot better this year. Everything’s going really well. I just got back from Australia. I did the supercross series over there. Got third overall, which was okay. I had a lot of fun, but I struggled a little bit with bike issues and this and that. This year’s going to be really good—me and Pops back at it, just us two doing our thing. It’s going to be a lot of fun for sure.
Talk about Australia a little bit. You were over there for quite some time. How did that experience go?
It was really awesome. It was fun to go race in different countries, against different riders. It was just a good experience, good racing, and everything. The tracks were a lot tighter than what I’m used to and what all the guys over here are used to. It was tough to get used to. The dirt’s a lot different. It was really tough at first, but I kind of got into the swing of things and put in some good results. If I could have stayed off the ground a little more, then it would have been a lot better, but I had a lot of fun over there.
How much does it prepare you for this year? You see a lot of guys going to Europe right now and even Australia with Gavin Faith. It seems to really get guys into racing mode a lot sooner.
Definitely. That’s kind of what I went over there for, just for preparation and to get ready. It was really good. It definitely gets you in the racing mood, and the racing over there is a lot different. It’s a lot more tame, and everyone kind of goes fast, so you really have to put it on the edge and be really, really aggressive. That’s what I needed, and I think it’s really got me going for this year.
You also got back on the podium there. I’m sure that has to give you some confidence.
Definitely boosts the confidence being one of the fastest guys there. It was just more fun than anything. Just trying to get back to having fun on the bike again and not every day being a job. It’s been awesome this coming year. I’m really excited to get out there racing again.
You were down there for a couple weeks at a time. Any good travel stories?
I actually stayed down there for the whole two months, so I was down there for a while. I was with a teammate that I had down there, and he showed me around. We had a lot of fun. All the Australian girls apparently love the accent, which can’t complain about that [laughs]. It was an awesome time for sure.
You’re only two years removed from a podium in supercross. Is the goal next year to get back to that level?
That’s the goal, to get back on the podium and really just prove to myself that I am supposed to be up there and I can. That’s my deal is to have fun, go out there, and just do my best every weekend. If I get on the podium, awesome. If I get top-fives, happy with that too. Everyone wants to win, and that’s my goal at the end of the year, but it’s going to take some time to get there. I think we can do it for sure.
Although we don’t really know where everybody’s going, both coasts are expected to be deep. What do you think it’s going to take? What do you need to do this off-season to get back to where you want to be?
I’m staying down here at Club MX, and I need to just put in the work. Make every day count. Put in 100 percent every day. That’s what I’ve been doing lately for sure. Just keep going with that, keep training with Phil Nicoletti and all those guys, and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.
This time of year some people talked about overtraining and not peaking too early and getting the right balance. How do you feel about that? Do you believe in peaking too soon? What do you do to not do that?
I definitely believe in peaking too soon. This year I just haven’t really put too much thought into that. I just haven’t really been worrying about it. I’m just kind of doing what I need to do and killing it this off-season and putting in as much work as I can so when I do get to the races and week per week, I can take it more easy and not try to get in shape during racing season—just go in prepared and do my thing.
I’m sure you don’t want to let us in on too much of your strategy, but what strategy is there? Is there hard work, a week off? What can you let us know?
Me and Brandon Haas, we have a good program here with Phil Nicoletti. They all kick my butt every day. We just kind of do what we can, go until we can’t go anymore. That’s really about it. Once we get too dead we’ll have a day off, more of a recovery day. We’ve been definitely putting in the laps lately.
How tough is it with holidays? Obviously this is your job, but sometimes it is hard to concentrate or get everything during the holidays. It’s a pretty hectic time. How are you able to manage the two?
The holidays are always tough. When you go home and you definitely don’t want to train but you have to, and if you don’t you definitely hear about it or see it in the results. I’m only an hour and a half, two hours away from the house, so I can come down for the day, ride, train, and then go back home for the holidays and see the family and everything. That definitely helps. It’s awesome.
Thanks, Kyle. Anyone you would like to thank?
One Industries, Bell Helmets, Tag Metals, Peters Auto Mall, 100%, Club MX, ICW, and Factory Connection.