NOTICIAS

Under the Radar: Kyle Cunningham

Kyle Cunningham (MyPlash Star Racing Yamaha) has been criticised at times throughout his professional career for being too inconsistent. In my opinion the criticism was justified, as it is true, Kyle has not been a model of consistency. However, could he be mastering the craft now? Quietly, Cunningham has been posting results inside of the top ten on a regular basis, which is exactly what the Star Racing Yamaha team hired him to do.

I do believe that Kyle Cunningham is in a unique situation currently, as he is paired with two rookies beneath the Yamaha awning. So he should be the team’s primary rider; however he has been overshadowed by his younger teammates (Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb) very frequently. In fact those two guys have occupied most of the headlines; hence why Kyle has flown under the radar for the most part thus far this year. Intriguingly, his contract with the MyPlash Star Racing Yamaha squad expires at the conclusion of this season, so he has some motivation to do well this year; he has not done what the team expected him to in recent years.

Kyle Cunningham has finished out of the top ten in two of the motos thus far in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series. Kyle had a big crash that resulted in a DNF in the first moto at Thunder Valley; he finished down in sixteenth in the second moto at High Point as well. Obviously the fall in race one at Thunder Valley proves that he hasn’t shaken his reputation of crashing out of motos, which he is notorious for. However, Kyle has finished in the top ten in seven of the motos, as he finished eleventh in another moto also. His best race finish has been a seventh, and he has a sixth overall to his name (Hangtown); but Kyle clearly belongs in the seventh to tenth range.

Although Budds Creek was not the best finish that Kyle Cunningham has garnered thus far, it was another great ride that really was not recognised. Interestingly Cunningham followed Eli Tomac through in the opening 250MX moto at Budds Creek. Kyle began the race in eleventh, before getting passed by Eli Tomac on lap four. Although, he was not right on the back wheel of Tomac, he followed the Geico Honda rider passed guys like Joey Savatgy and Cole Seely. It is no secret that that was not the finest ride that Eli has had this season, but I was impressed to see that he did not just drop Cunningham, as you would expect him too. In the first moto, Kyle finished in seventh, which equaled his best moto finish this year.

Although Budds Creek was not the best finish that Kyle Cunningham has garnered thus far, it was another great ride that really was not recognised. Interestingly Cunningham followed Eli Tomac through in the opening 250MX moto at Budds Creek. Kyle began the race in eleventh, before getting passed by Eli Tomac on lap four. Although, he was not right on the back wheel of Tomac, he followed the Geico Honda rider passed guys like Joey Savatgy and Cole Seely. It is no secret that that was not the finest ride that Eli has had this season, but I was impressed to see that he did not just drop Cunningham, as you would expect him too. In the first moto, Kyle finished in seventh, which equaled his best moto finish this year.

Kyle Cunningham did not enjoy as much success in moto two, as he finished ninth, almost a full minute down on the eventual race winner. If you look at the lap chart, you will see that Kyle started sixth and ran as high as fifth on laps four and five. Clearly his speed is good, and that is why he has never had any problems getting a good ride on a solid team. But, Cunningham dropped back from the fifth lap, until he eventually found himself down in ninth, and eighth overall on the day. Overall, it was another solid day for him; one that went unnoticed.

So, what is the ceiling for a guy like Kyle Cunningham? Honestly, I do not see him finishing in the top five overall at any point this year, I do not think that his speed is good enough at the moment. Cunningham shouldn’t have a problem finishing just outside of the top five for the remainder of the season though. Hopefully Kyle will remain consistent for the rest of the year too, as he should have no problem finding a ride if he continues posting results such as this. But, what if he has to jump up to the 450?

Words by Lewis Phillips

MX Vice Editor || 25

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