Catching Up with Kade Walker in Portugal

By Billy Rainford

Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
Quebec native Kade Walker now calls Portugal home and is leading their MX1 MX Nationals after the first round. | Bigwave 2010 photo

There are journeyman racers and then there are journeyman racers at Kade Walker level!

Growing up, most racers dream of one day riding in exotic places against riders at the top level. Kade has definitely done that, and then some.

Kade was a hot prospect as he climbed his way through the amateur ranks and then he turned Pro and headed to Europe. He speaks many languages and has lived and raced in several European countries — it’s a pretty fascinating story of commitment to the dream.

He’s now living in Portugal and racing their MX Nationals. He won the first round (2-1) but, like everywhere, his series is on hiatus while the coronavirus gets sorted out.

Here’s what Kade had to say when we got in touch with him this week:

Kade won Round 1 of the 2020 Portuguese MX1 MX Nationals (2-1). | Motocross Portugal photo

Direct Motocross: Hello Kade. You’re originally from outside Montreal and spent a huge amount of time travelling the big US Amateur Nationals. Can you, first off, tell us how you got started in Motocross?

Kade Walker: Yes, I’m from about 1 hour north of Montreal. I got started in Motocross because my dad raced some Enduro and on property with 4-5 tracks, so it was in the blood from a young age. 

What was your first race number and how did you choose it?

I’m pretty sure my first race number was #301. I think I had it because that’s the highway I lived on. Then later I was #51 and that’s been my favourite number by far. 

For those out there who may not be familiar with your track record, what’s the biggest win of your amateur career?

I have 11 amateur titles in America and 2 in Canada. The biggest is my Loretta Lynn’s win in 2009 

How’s your Portuguese?:

Last time we did a podcast, you talked about all the amazing places in Europe you’ve lived and raced, so I won’t ask you to go over all that again. But then you showed up in BC this past season and raced a bit of Future West Moto Arenacross. How did that even come up to bring you back to Canada from Europe?

Yeah, I’ve been in Europe full-time since 2012, so after 7 years I think it was time to go back and visit. But honestly, my girlfriend was pushing me to go back and see my family. I could have gone back many times to visit but I was focused and busy with racing, so never did.

The opportunity to race the Future West was given to me by Kenny Mcurdy at TNT Racing development. I’m thankful I got that opportunity to race on my little trip back home.

How did your races go?

The races went OK. I got some podiums, had some crashes. It was a bit all over the map. I had never raced on the Yamaha, so the first weekend was a learning experience. Then, the second weekend I felt better and put it on the box.

Kade has 11 US Amateur National titles to his credit. | Bigwave 2010 photo

What did you do while you weren’t racing here in Canada?

I was in the gym every day and did some mountain bike riding with my brothers. After 7 years not seeing them, the whole time was a bit of a shock.

And now you’re over in Portugal racing the Nationals there! How did this deal come up?

Yes, I’ve been in Portugal now since December and it’s been a blast; so much fun. I had already started talking to the team in 2019 and after they got everything sorted I came over to make a deal. We did some riding and I just didn’t want to leave.

Where are you living and what’s it like?

I’m currently living in Coimbra in the apartment that the team has kindly let my girlfriend and me stay in. My teammate lives here, too, so it’s good vibes and I’m very thankful.

Kade lives in Coimbra with his girlfriend and teammate. | Google Maps

You won the first round of the series. Can you tell us how that event went? What was the track like?

Yes, I won the first round. I went 2-1 in MX1 and won the Superfinal. The championship is nice. The tracks are small and tight but fun. There is some very strong competition with great battles and I enjoy it.

What is your practice track situation like there? Where do you go and with whom?

I’m very lucky. The team has a partnership with Agueda, which is on the MXGP calendar. My teammate and I have a key for the track, so we ride there basically daily. 

Kade in action in Portugal. | Photo supplied

What is the whole coronavirus situation like where you are?

The coronavirus is pretty much the same everywhere. It hinders everything. 

What are you going to do now that the next races have been cancelled or postponed?

It’s unfortunate that the championship has been postponed. I don’t like to stop racing once a championship starts. I find it’s always nice to keep the races going, so this is a new challenge.

What’s your contract like? 

I can’t really say anything on that matter.

Could you please go to Nazaré and take some surfing video for me!?

I’ve honestly never been surfing, but this summer I’m sure I’ll go down and see how it is.

Are you fluent in Portuguese? How many languages do you speak now?

I understand most Portuguese but unfortunately I’m not very good yet. But I do speak English, French, Italian, and German.

Will you stay over there if the racing is done?

We are just at the start of the season and now everything is postponed, so I think I’ll be here until the end of the year. My girlfriend and I enjoy it here a lot so hopefully I can stay.

Hopefully, Kade can keep the wins coming when the series resumes. | Motocross Portugal photo

What does the future look like for you?

I don’t look at the future too much. I’m focused on my task at hand and I take it moto by moto, day by day. 

OK, I’m sorry our phone call podcast didn’t work out earlier. Good luck over there and stay safe. Who would you like to thank?

First off, I’d like to thank my parents. If they didn’t sacrifice what they have for me I would never find myself in this position to travel the world racing a dirt bike. Also, Yamaha Portugal, Guga MX Racing, Hebo racing, Forma MX Boots, Rinaldi Tires, BRC, Crosspro, Polisport Plastics, and all the team’s sponsors.