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Catching Up With Kyle Peters
By Jordan Powell
Photos by Jeff Kardas
When Kyle Peters scored a first place finish in the 250A class at the Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in 2011, he was considered a hot commodity for factory teams. However, things took a turn for the worse when a crash in the 450A class left him with a fractured T10 vertebra. All things considered, Star-Valli Yamaha picked him up for their 2012 roster, and was set to make his pro debut in the East Coast Lites class later that year. With injuries upon injuries keeping him from riding to his full potential, Peters was let go at the end of the 2012 season, and was forced to put together his own ride. But when the North Carolina native took a fourth place finish in Arlington earlier this year, you would have never known that he was at a disadvantage on his privateer Honda. With top-10 finishes in Atlanta and Daytona, it looked as if Peters finally started to get into his stride, and then he shocked the fans in Indianapolis with a second place finish. We caught up with the privateer rider, and to our surprise, we found out that he had been suffering from a broken foot since St. Louis. So, Peters explains what it was like to hide that injury from everyone, and what the plans are from here.
Congrats on that second place finish at Indy! How did that feel?
Man, I was so stoked! It was kind of surreal all at the same time. I mean, I’ve always known that I could do it, but I just had to get good start, and that’s what happened at Indy.
You said in your post-race interview that you’ve never done well in the qualifying sessions. Do you consider yourself a better racer?
Yeah, I don’t know why, but I’ve never done that well in practice. Once the gates drop, it’s like a fire is lit inside me, and I’m able to ride faster.
Last year didn’t go so well in your rookie season on a Star-Valli Yamaha, and now that you’re riding a full privateer Honda, your results have improved drastically. What has caused the change?
[Laughs] Well, last year was a bit of a struggle for me because it seemed like I was always riding through some sort of injury. Now, I’m back on a Honda and I’m loving it. Plus, Pro Circuit has my suspension dialed, and my motor is solid. I’m also a lot happier because I’m back in Georgia, and I’m not stuck in California. All around, I’m just a lot happier.
You grew up in Georgia?
I’m actually from North Carolina, but I stay at MTF in Georgia.
Are you working with trainers at MTF, or are you running your own program?
Yeah, Colleen [Millsaps] and the crew down at MTF help me out a lot, and get me where I need to be.
Do you think having another year under your belt in Supercross has helped you out?
I’ve never been known as a Supercross guy, but I guess I’m starting to figure it out a little bit.
After the East Coast series opener in Arlington, you had to have been pretty excited with your fourth place finish.
Yeah, it was awesome! After that, I got an eighth in Atlanta, and a seventh in Daytona. I also ended up breaking my foot right before St. Louis, and I’m healing up from that now, so it’s all good!
So, you have a broken foot right now?
Well, it’s been two-and-a-half weeks since I broke it. So, we’re all good now.
Did this happen during week?
Yeah. I ended up breaking it on the Thursday before St. Louis.
What was going on through your mind at that point?
Well, I tried to hide it the best I could because I was fifth in points. I was able to make it out of St. Louis without too much pain, but Daytona was a little rough on it [laughs].
Now, why do you think motocross racers tend to hide their injuries, whereas athletes in other sports will sit out of a few games with a broken finger?
[Laughs] I don’t know. For me, I try to stay under the radar and do my own thing. I just wanted to do my best, and hide the fact that I was hurting.
You think it’s because it would show other riders that you had a weakness?
I guess you can say that. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was hurt, and I didn’t plan on coming clean with it until I was better. So, I guess you can say that I feel better now [laughs].
Did that affect your riding schedule during the week?
Yeah. Right after I broke it, I tried to ride a couple times during that next week, but it hurt too much. So, I spent most of the time with ice on it. It slowly started to heal after Daytona, so I decided to try some outdoor riding to loosen my foot up and get back into the swing of things.
What are the goals from here? Do you have higher expectations now?
Oh, for sure! Once you get a podium finish, you get the taste of it, and you want more.
Now, who has been helping you out along the way?
First off, I have to thank my mom and dad because they’ve put so much into this sport, and I can’t thank them enough. I’d also like to thank Tony D at Unit, John Cuzzo at 100% Goggles, GoPro, One Industries, Sunline, Tag, Triple Threat Energy, AG Motorsports, Dunlop, C4MX, FMF, Dano at DVS, and everyone else. I wouldn’t be able to get this done with those guys!