Big news broke earlier in the year when the Smartop MotoConcepts Racing squad announced that their premier class rider, Mike Alessi, would forego the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and head north to race the Canadian Nationals. But where exactly did that leave their 250 contender, Kyle Cunningham? Both Alessi and Cunningham will race the first round this weekend at Glen Helen, but we wanted to set the story straight on Cunningham's plans for the remainder of the season--he will race the entire outdoor series here in the States for the team, but just without the team. We caught up with Cunningham after a post-practice Chipotle burrito to find out more.
I'm sure the first question everyone will want to know is…how was your Chipotle burrito?
[Laughs] It was pretty good--quick pit stop after some riding. We went up to Competitive Edge today, and then we’re heading out to Milestone MX tomorrow to finish up some testing with suspension and get ready for the weekend.
Big news came from your team earlier this year that Mike Alessi would be heading north to Canada after Glen Helen to race the Canadian Nationals. So where does that leave you?
I have it worked out with Mike Genova, the owner of the Smartop/MotoConcepts Racing team, for me to keep my bikes and have them hauled to the races so I can stay here and race the US series. There had been talk about Canada early on, but it wasn't really what I was looking to do, personally. Luckily, I was able to work it out with Genova, and I'm going to stay down here with my pops and race the outdoors.
How will you be getting back and forth to the races and making sure you're getting everything you need?
Well, that's kind of been the preparation over the last couple of weeks with my dad and Tony, who are making sure I'm getting my bikes built and all of the parts that I need. Outlaw Biker and Kevin Peters are going to haul my stuff for me to all the races, which will make it easier for me to get out to each one. So that's kind of the plan right now. The team and the semi will be at Glen Helen, and who knows--maybe they'll show up at a few more. We're just trying to get through Glen Helen this weekend and start the series off good. I'm looking forward to racing!
At the beginning of Supercross you weren't comfortable with your bike setup, but you started picking up your speed towards the end. How prepared are you heading into Glen Helen?
In Supercross we were chasing the bike setup, and when we got it going towards the end we got a few fourth-place finishes. We really wanted to get on the podium in Vegas, but I put it on the ground. We finished the season fourth in points, which wasn't bad. Since then we've just been testing and putting in motos, and to be honest, the last three or four weeks of Supercross I was showing up to the races on the weekend and riding outdoors during the week. I feel comfortable on the Honda and the bike setup seems good. We're trying a few small changes still, but hopefully we can get those panned out tomorrow. My fitness feels good, and I'm looking forward to Glen Helen and seeing what we need to work on from there.
We have a new track this year in Indiana and of course the return of Glen Helen, but where are you looking forward to racing the most?
Glen Helen is a great track, and I raced there when I first turned pro. It's definitely pretty gnarly, and everyone knows that now from the pro day last week and the practice the day before--it was pretty brutal. It's cool to see it come back because it was such a big race in the past. I think it was a good move for MX Sports and Glen Helen to get it back in the series. I'm looking forward to Indiana because it's new and it's always cool to ride something different. But I think I'm going to stick with my favorite one, and I can't wait to get to RedBud, man! I've always liked that track every year. It's just a cool track with awesome dirt. They do a great job there. I'm just excited to get the outdoors going, and I'm looking forward to a new series and a fresh start.