Kyle Keast and his #4 Yamaha
2) Home town:
KK: Lindsay, Ontario
BW: Ponty Pool, Ontario
3) Current Bike/Class/Series:
KK: YZ450f/MX1/CMRC Motocross
BW: YZ250/E2/WEC Enduro/various off road
4) Started riding in?/Racing in?
KK: I started riding when I was 3, and my first race was when I was 5.
BW: I started riding when I was 3, but I don't think my first race was until I was 15 or 16 years old...
5) First Bike?
BW: Y-Zinger 50
6) Turned Pro?
7) Lowest National Number?
Wojo will be back on a YZ 250 two stroke for 2012.
8) Goals for 2012?
KK: Well, I want the championship. It's kind of the thing. There really isn't a bigger goal, is there? I'd also like to win every race in Ontario.
BW: I'm not entirely sure what's going on yet, but I know I'm going to keep riding hard and I'd like to race as much as I can. I'd like to win a few here at home and just do the best I can.
9) 2011 finishes/achievements:
KK: Well, I didn't improve on my 4th from 2010, but I kept it which was good. Happy about that.
BW: Uh, well I finished 4th in E2, 4th Overall in the National Enduros; I was hoping for a better finish but had some trouble out west. I got 16th in the main at Xtinction, which was an improvement over last year. 2nd at the Cord. I didn't get to a lot of races at home this year but still got an enduro championship and some first place cross country finishes.
10) Your favourite track?
KK: Uh, I think I'm going to have to say Gopher Dunes. It's not like my all time, but it's a lot of fun to ride and I always do well there.
BW: Uh... Yeah... I don't know. I think Mansfield. Yeah. It's a great course; it's smooth. There's changes. It's a great race and a cool place to ride. I've done a couple trials and hare scramble events there and it's always been fun.
11) What are some of your weaknesses as a rider?
KK: My starts. Definitely my starts.
BW: Uh, well *laughs* I guess I can take things a little too seriously.
12) Do you have any prerace rituals?
KK: I don't know if you'd call them rituals, but I guess I'm a pretty supersitious person. If I'm doing well, I try to keep everything the same; I try to eat the same meal the night before, do things in the same order, you know, that kind of stuff. And I've got to have my coffee before a race! *laughs* John rags me on that, but he's just as bad as I am. Also, when I'm on the line I'm a compulsive lever checker when I'm waiting for the board to go up. Once it's up, it's on.
BW: *laughs* I don't know. I mean, I get warmed up on my pedal bike before a race, I guess a couple people have heard or seen that at the nationals. But yeah, I don't really have that
13) Now, for those readers who aren't aware, you're both pretty big on your Tim Horton's coffees; how do you take it?
KK: *laughs* Yeah. Gotta have my Tim's before a race. I like mine two milk, one sugar.
BW: Yeah, a large regular before and after the race is a must.
14) Did you have any heroes growing up? Who and how did they influence you and your riding?
KK: Well, I grew up with both my dad and uncle racing, so they really influenced the way I rode and I looked up to them a lot. Other than them, Jeff Stanton. Definitely Jeff Stanton.
BW: I don't know if I'd say I had any racer heroes growing up. I've always liked Robby Renard but I wouldn't go so far as to say he was my hero. I've also always been a big fan of Ayrton Senna, Dale Earnhardt, John Force and Mick Doohan.
15) You've both travelled out west to compete in your individual series' western swings, what are some of the drawbacks, if any, you've found racing so far from home and your comfort zone?
KK: You get used to it, you know. I used to have trouble, but I've done it so many times now that it gets easier. I've got friends and support out there now so it's got much easier.
BW: I wouldn't say it's difficult to go and race there, support wise. The terrain is different, I think for me more than Kyle, and I think that might be what makes competing out west easier.
16) You've both participated for Team Canada, Kyle at MXdN and Wojo at ISDE; what did that mean to you?
KK: It was great to be chosen and to have my chance to represent Canada in Colorado and to see how I measure up against the world. It was really an overwhelming feeling. That said, I really think we could do to step up our support. It was a great experience, though, and I am so happy that I could have been a part of it.
BW: It's different for me, because when I went it wasn't just about being one of the few who qualified for the event. It was more personal than anything, really. I got to see how I measured up against the best off road racers in the world. I think if it were a harder honour to win it would mean more; like if you had to be selected and you had to compete against the best here to earn the right, it might be a bigger deal.
17) Under the right circumstances, would you go again?
KK: In a heartbeat.
Wojo is known for being a very serious competitor, but every now
and then he lets his fun side show.
18) Do you have any advice for young riders who are starting in the sport?
KK: Nothing comes easy. I see a lot of kids these days worried about looking cool, and wanting things handed to you, and then they give up when things get hard. If you really love the sport, it doesn't matter about looking cool. Stop worrying about the little things, like clothing, and start looking at the bigger picture, and just give it!
BW: I'd say, the biggest thing for off road riding, is practice as many kinds of riding as you can, and I can't see it being a drawback for moto to do the same. Practicing trials, off road and moto will help make you a more well balanced rider, both skills and physically. And training; physical fitness is so important when you're out there racing. If you aren't fit, you aren't going to finish.
19) What has drawn you to Machine? What is it about the shop, John, the support, etc that keeps you coming back year after year?
KK: It's like home! I've known John since I was a little kid, and he's always been great with support, both for racing and personal. It's like having a second family with Machine. And he knows... I mean, well I don't even know. He tells it how it is. He isn't about being negative, but some people take him that way; he doesn't put up with excuses, and I like that because I don't make excuses. And, you can see it all the time, riders start with him and leave, but they always come back. He's got a way of motivating, of supporting and encouraging that's just ... Well, it's John!
BW: I'm not one of those riders who started with John when I was a kid. I came into Machine later, but I think I might have raced against him back in my motocross days, I'm not sure. I knew who he was, but I didn't know him, not like now. I used to ride for Asselstine's for years back when I raced motocross, but then I got out of it for a few years. It started because I was in the city a lot when I started to get back into off road, and Machine had a convenient location. I had bought a Honda off him, and then the next year I was on Yamahas and I've been with him ever since.
20) Anyone you'd like to thank (ie Sponsors)?
KK: Yamaha Canada, Machine Racing, Yamalube, GYTR, Podium Grafix, LGS Suspension, Troy Lee Designs, FMF, Smith Optics, VP Racing Fuels, Garene, Actionetix, Works Connection, Ride Engineering, Bondi Engines, Matrix Concepts, Pirelli and OrthoFlex.
BW: Yamaha Canada, Machine Racing, LGS Suspension, Yamalube, PerformX Training, OrthoFlex, AME Grips, AXO Gear and LRP.
Expect to see this smiling face on many podiums this year!