Like a fine wine that ages well over time, two-time National Arenacross Champion Kyle Peters continues to improve, accumulate race wins, and add titles to his racing resume. After two successful seasons with the Phoenix Racing Honda team, Peters heads into the 2022 Arenacross season as the rider to beat as he makes a run at his third straight Arenacross Championship title. For Peters, this is only the start of accomplishing the long-term goals he's set for himself. Following the opening rounds of the Kicker AMA Arenacross Series, we checked in with the Greensboro, North Carolina native to ask him about 2022 and beyond.
EVS Sports (EVS): Kyle, the National Arenacross series started recently in Colorado. How did things go for you there? Were you able to come away from the first rounds with your objectives met?
Kyle Peters (KP): Yeah, definitely; the first round of Arenacross went pretty well. I won all my heat races and ended up winning three out of four main events. I made a mistake in the one main and couldn't get that one, but overall, it was a great weekend for the whole team and me. We still have the red plate, a decent points gap, and so overall, it was really good, and the team was awesome, so I'm stoked on it.
EVS: You had a great offseason this year, taking the Prince of Paris title at the Paris Supercross in France. That had to be a big confidence boost coming in 2022, especially because you took the win over the current MX2 World Champion, Maxime Renault?
KP: Yeah, that was a really, really, cool event. I'm thankful I got to go over there and race and do so well. I didn't really know what to expect going over there. I knew it would be good to get some gate drops in before Arenacross, and it was something fun to go do and travel around. Then, Maxime Renault was there, and I was like, 'man, MX2 World Champ, obviously, he's going to be really good!' But I was able to get all three holeshots, ride my own race, and get the win over there. That's definitely something I'll cherish, and I'm grateful to have had that opportunity.
EVS: Let's talk a bit about your start in racing. You grew up racing in North Carolina and took the traditional path to a pro motocross career through the amateur scene, even winning a 250 A title at Loretta Lynn's in 2011. Tell us a little about how you got your start in professional racing and how your career path has led to where you are today.
KP: Growing up in North Carolina, the winters are a little cold, so once we got a little more serious, I went down to MTF (Millsaps Training Facility) and lived there for about four or five years until I turned pro. Coming into my pro debut, I was confident as one of the top amateur guys coming up and should have had a brighter future right off the bat. But there were some injuries here and there and a few years where I felt like I was constantly injured and struggled. I didn't have the results I needed, wasn't in the physical shape I needed to be in and wasn't having much fun.
After that, I started building back up for a couple of years. I went and lived over in Australia for a little while, raced there bunch back and forth, and really started to have fun again and get my career back on track. I had a great run over there and then signed with JGR and had a good couple of years with them. I had a few injuries, but nothing too big, and after that, I signed with the Phoenix Racing Honda team for Arenacross. Phoenix Honda is an awesome organization. That definitely helped my confidence and helped my riding and racing, bringing the intensity back.
I look forward to many years with them. Hopefully, I can get in the record books a couple of times in this Arenacross series and have that same success in Supercross.
EVS: It sounds like you're in a really good place right now. You're having fun. Your whole program is working for you. You have all the support you need, which can make a huge difference. Would you say that's the case?
KP: Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of things that have to be in place, obviously, but right now, the Phoenix Racing Honda team, the people I have in my circle are just unreal. My friends, family, people that support me, my trainer, it takes a lot more than what people really know, and everything right now is going really well. I couldn't be more excited for this year and for the future.
EVS: As you mentioned, before coming to AX, you were racing Supercross full-time in the 250 class for the now-former JGR Suzuki squad. Were you already planning to move over to Arenacross with the Phoenix team? Or were you planning to stay in Supercross until that team went away?
KP: Actually, I was gone a year before the team dissolved. I didn't really know what I would do and what would happen. I had talked to David Ellard of Phoenix for a bunch of years on and off, and we finally were able to work something out. He wanted me to do Arenacross, and I was a little skeptical about it at first. But I think it's been one of the best decisions I've made, and I'm very thankful for David and the entire Phoenix Racing team for bringing me on.
EVS: Speaking of Supercross, you are scheduled to compete in the 250 East Region after Arenacross ends. What a great way to prepare for Supercross, competing in Arenacross, where laying down precise and consistent laps is even more critical. Would you say riding both series has helped you become a better all-around rider?
KP: Yeah, absolutely. When I first started doing Arenacross, I talked to Buddy Antunez—an absolute legend—and he shared a couple of things that really helped me understand how to train for Arenacross while at the same time keeping me up-to-date on Supercross. Because as of right now, they're two completely different series, tracks—everything.
Overall, Arenacross has helped me with my technical skills even though the tracks are not as technical because you have to be really good at the little things. It's hard to make up time on anyone and make passes. So 100%, I think it's helped my Supercross game and helped me become a better overall rider.
EVS: I read somewhere that you began racing Arenacross as an amateur when you were only nine years old?
KP: Yeah, growing up in the Carolinas, it gets cold. We can race here year-round, but it was always exciting when Arenacross came to town. You got to ride in the same arena with the pros and under the lights in front of the crowd. That was really, really cool to me, and that's actually how I got into racing. I went to an Arenacross when I was younger and was hooked. So, it's cool to be back here racing Arenacross.
EVS: It looks as though you really have a good program going with the Phoenix Honda team, but another big part of your program is Club MX. Tell us about your program there and how has it helped you overall as a racer?
KP: Yeah, absolutely. Riding with different guys, we all elevate each other every day. Everyone is putting in 100% at the track. Obviously, no one wants to be the slowest guy at the track, so everyone is putting in hard, solid motos to better themselves. Brandon at Club MX has an awesome facility. I'm thankful for him and being so close to where I grew up and my home. I'm not too far away from my family and the Phoenix Racing shop, so it all ties together really, really well.
I've been at Club MX for a few years now, and I love it down here. It's very simple living, the people are really nice, we hold each other accountable, and push each other every day. It can definitely be a grind, but I'm very thankful to be doing what I love as a job, and where I am now—both physically and mentally—it couldn't be any better.
EVS: What are some 2022 season goals? Obviously, you'd like to wrap a third Arenacross title, but what are your goals for the 250 East Supercross Series?
KP: My goal for this year is to wrap up another Arenacross championship. That would be my third one. And then for Supercross, my goal is to be a consistent podium guy every weekend. Whether it's a bad start or whatever, I want to be able to work my way up and be on the box. I want to be fighting for wins. I've always been that 5th place guy. Kind of quiet, not really talked about much, just did my own thing. I want to change that. I want to come out swinging and be upfront fighting with those boys.
EVS: What about the long-term? Where do you see yourself (or hope to see yourself) in 3-5 years?
KP: Long term? To just keep doing what I'm doing. Keep getting better every year, keep progressing my riding, physical fitness, and mental state. Keep getting better and better. There's no reason I can't win a Supercross and potentially a championship a few years down the line. That's what I'm shooting for. I also want to make history in the Arenacross series. I want to have the most championships. Right now, Buddy [Antunez] has five titles, so my goal is to have six Arenacross championships and be fighting for Supercross championships as well.
EVS: One last question. What has it been like being such a longtime part of the EVS Family?
KP: I've been a part of the EVS family for a long time now. I'm honored to be a part of such a great organization. The EVS team has treated me like family for years now, so the loyalty has been awesome. To be with them and to grow together, I'm very honored. They've had my back through the ups and downs, and we've stuck together through everything, always striving for the best.
Interview by Dale Spangler.
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