I got a tweet the other day, or maybe it was on Instagram, but this follower of mine said that it was an “embarrassment” that Kyle Chisholm has national number 11. I didn’t reply, but that was an embarrassment of a statement really. Chiz is a respected veteran of the series and he has been a good pro for his whole career so what he is doing out there, whether it is getting top tens in 250SX the last couple of years or 450SX mains this year, that is hardly someone that should be labeled as “embarrassing” to have his number.
Chisholm earned that number by finishing in the top-ten overall at the end of the year when he rode for MotoConcepts Yamaha and is still racing at a high level. Is he as good as he was, say, five years ago? No, but he has still got a lot of speed, stamina and guile out there. Kyle’s never going to impress you in terms of style or raw speed but he’s a racer and he works very hard at it. I’ve talked to teams he has been on and they are always impressed with his professionalism and, sure, he wants things done to his bikes a certain way or whatever, but his requests always come in a way that is, well, professional.
There is that word again, right?
Kyle has bounced around a bit the last few years with some different teams; he did the 5150 Yamaha team in 250SX last year, he went up to Canada and raced a Honda for that series two years ago and he did MotoConcepts Honda two years ago in SX. He has been on teams that have folded halfway through SX, he has been a full-privateer at times in his motorhome with his dad Gary wrenching and he has raced all over the world trying to hustle his way into a living.
This year he’s with the HEP Suzuki squad, back into the 450SX class (where he belongs in my opinion) and, although he got a late start on the Suzuki 450 due to injury suffered last summer, he has ridden pretty good the last few weeks.
“It’s to the point where I am happy that I can just ride and put time in. I have only had a month on the bike before the season started and I was off the bike for almost five months, so it is good. I’ll go back to Florida after Dallas,” Chisholm told me after his Minneapolis race “Just spend a few more weeks on it and get more up to speed. I’m starting to feel a little bit better. Maybe we’ll have to tweak a few things here and there as I get up to speed more, but I feel like we have a good base and a good package. Now I’m able to just ride during the week instead of changing crap every time I ride.”
Kyle will go back to Florida and he’ll be better at the races back east on the dirt he grew up on. He’s so well liked that even with his buddy Chad Reed no longer in Florida, he’ll line up at someone’s facility and fit right in.
“It’ll be nice to go home and just ride with the guys at home and get in that routine. It is nice to just get away from everything and just go to work with a little group of guys. That’s what I need. Like I said, the bike is good. I need to just go work on me and put in the laps and put in time, which is what I lacked coming into the season,” Chisholm says.
New bike, new suspension and new team for the #11 but he’ll make it work: He always does and it’s good to see him out there. We’re better as a sport having Kyle Chisholm still there grinding away. I say that #11 is his until he decides it’s not.
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: ConwayMX