20 Jun Rider Rap: Pro Superbike Racer Kyle Wyman
Although he’s a racer at his core, Kyle Wyman is so much more: team owner, riding instructor, philanthropist—he has even contributed to the development of 6D’s ATS-1 helmet, providing extensive feedback that led to improvements in the cheek-pad design and overall comfort. We caught up with the New York native to learn what motivates him.
Name: Kyle Wyman
Date of Birth: February 20, 1990
Sport: Road Racing
What attracted you to road racing?
Growing up as a flat tracker, I had seen so many guys jump to road racing and have a lot of success, so I was trying to follow in their footsteps. You had these riders like Nicky Hayden and, going back, Kenny Roberts, who started their careers in dirt track but went on to make big names for themselves in road racing. Road racing is just such a great sport because it demands a lot of the rider. That’s what I like most about it.
What has running the KWR team taught you?
It has been integral to my growth as a person—not just as a professional. Through the team, I’ve had the chance to network and work with a lot of people in motorcycling—built great relationships with sponsors, other teams, and the people who run the series. It’s taught me a lot. Of course, I didn’t want to have to learn how to do accounting to go road racing, but here I am [laughs]. Whatever it takes, you know?
What motivates you?
I want to win, plain and simple. There’s no better feeling than winning and there’s no worse feeling than losing, so everything I do, not just as a rider or as an athlete, but as a person, is for that. Everything I do behind the scenes—even the things that people don’t see—is just to put myself in a position to be successful on the racetrack. Of course, motivation is one part. You’ve also got to do the work, but I like that part too.
What advice would you give to an aspiring road racer?
Remember that results will ultimately be the thing that really moves you forward in this sport. I used to focus a lot on building this brand or trying to get sponsors and show value, but ultimately the people who are showing the most value in the sport are the people who are winning. Don’t let anything take away from your preparation as a rider and as an athlete, because that’s what creates the other opportunities. Of course, it’s kind of a chicken-and-the-egg scenario; I had to build a team to be able to ride and I had to get sponsors, but the biggest thing that has moved me forward is actual results on the track. So, focus on that, not necessarily the fluff.
You’re an instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. What’s that like?
It’s really good because not only has coaching helped me in my communication and speaking, it also makes me a better rider because I see so many different perspectives on the sport, from people who are just starting out to people who are kind of stuck. In giving them the tools to go quicker or recognizing the things that are holding them back, I recognize the things that might be holding me back in my own riding, so it’s really a great relationship and opportunity.
You raise awareness and funding for the treatment of progeria. What initially drove you to that cause?
Back when I was racing a Harley-Davidson in 2012, my sponsor was a big contributor to the [Progeria Research] Foundation, and he had the idea to partner with these guys a bit more. That’s what led us to having kids out at the races, and what really broadened my horizon. I hadn’t heard of the disease before that, but to be involved with people who were making it their life mission to cure that disease was really cool. They’re relentlessly pursuing that, and when you’re in a position to have a little bit of influence, I think it’s important to do that.
What’s been the biggest takeaway from working with the Foundation?
The reality is that people just don’t know what progeria is. The idea of helping people understand the disease, so that maybe they’ll want to be a part of helping find treatments, has been big for me. They’ve made some pretty big steps lately actually: They announced a new treatment that’s really helping and they’re starting to grow their understanding. I think when they first started out they knew of about 30 kids in the world that had progeria, and now they’re in the hundreds, because they’ve been able to raise awareness and actually identify these kids and give them a diagnosis. So being a part of that has been cool. And we’ve had a bunch of the kids out to the races to come check things out. It’s given me another perspective on life and I feel really fortunate for that.
Is there anything you have to say about 6D?
6D is changing the industry and helmets. They’re making every company go back to the drawing board to figure out how they can be better. Going back, I think the development of helmets was a bit stagnant for a while, and now that 6D has come in and really figured out how to improve on what was out there, it’s made a big difference. In the end, the brain is one of the most important parts of our body, and we need to take care of it. I’m pretty stoked to be flying the flag for 6D in road racing, and I think already we’re at a point where the helmet is the absolute gold standard. Since I’ve been involved, the helmet has done good work for me. I’ve tested it on a couple of occasions, and being able to dissect the helmet and see what it did to help me just makes me realize how important the technology is and what the helmet is capable of.
Interested in becoming a sponsored 6D athlete? Submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about progeria or make a donation to help find a cure, visit the Progeria Research Foundation’s website.