Catching Up With: Dylan Kaelin
By: Pam Moore
Photos by: James Lissimore
DK is looking forward to the next two rounds to continue running near the front of the pack.
James Lissimore Photo.
Dylan Kaelin has spent the past year dealing with some bad luck and injuries, but he hasn’t let any of that get in his way. The 18-year-old from Grand Bend, Ontario took the time off his dirtbike and has used it to his advantage. He is more focused, more motivated and is in the best shape he’s been in, and it’s paying off. We caught up with Dylan after he landed himself a top 5 finish in Moncton to find out about how his season has been going and where he would like it to end up with two rounds remaining.
You’ve had some tough luck over the past year battling with injuries starting a year ago at the Ste Julie National where you suffered a knee injury that required surgery. Tell us a bit about that and how you spent your winter.
At Ste Julie in qualifying I blew out my right ACL and two months later went in for surgery at the Fowler Kennedy Sports Clinic in London. I spent the entire fall and early winter rehabbing my knee so that I could be ready to ride as soon as possible. I got cleared on February 25 th to ride and spent a couple of days at the indoor track at Chesterman’s in Tillsonburg and then I went down to Florida. I was in Florida for 9 days before I broke my scaphoid while I was riding. It took a while to heal, and put me out for 13 weeks, which put me back on the bike just after the Calgary National.
Did you get a chance to race at all before the Gopher National ?
My first race back was a TVR (Thames Valley Riders) race. The following weekend I raced the CMRC Port Perry Provincial, and then I actually raced the Quebec Provincial at Deschambault the weekend before Gopher.
After a rough injury DK is showing us his true speed.
James Lissimore Photo.
So you were fortunate to get a little bit of race time before your first national of the season. What were your expectations for yourself for Gopher?
I really just wanted to start off where I left off last year which was just around the top 10. That was pretty much my goal. I didn’t really know what to expect coming in because there is obviously a bunch of new riders and Gopher is a really hard national to come back to for your first one with the heat and how rough it is. Top 10 is where I figured I should be but I didn’t really know until I got out there. I went 9-7 for 8th overall, so in the end I was happy with how everything went at Gopher.
After a year full of injuries it’s got to feel pretty awesome to have 3 solid rounds behind you. Tell us a bit about Ste Julie and then we’ll get to Moncton.
To be honest, if you would have asked me if I would finish in the top 10 every moto, and have a 5 th place finish before Gopher Dunes I probably would have looked at you and said ‘Well, I’d like that to happen but I doubt it,’ mainly because I’ve shown a lot of consistency which has kind of surprised me because over the past few years I’ve struggled with consistency, but I think it’s come to me with maturity and just being more familiar with the nationals. But at Ste Julie I got two good starts, I was really close to getting some top five’s there but I got excited. I crashed in the first moto and then stalled it in the second moto. At Moncton everything kind of fell into place, I got a good start in the first moto and then I just kind of kept it together and kept charging through the whole moto and riding like I know how because usually I get timid when I get a good start, trying not to mess up and stay up there, but this time I finally just rode and it seemed to work pretty good for me. Second moto I had a bad start and charged through the pack up to 9 th place which I was pretty happy with. By the time I got past Kyle Sidle into 9 th it was a bit late and the pack ahead of me was already gone so there was not much I could do but keep my head down and keep going.
So you got your first top 5 this weekend and have been working your way up consistently through the past few rounds, do you think you’ll crack the top 3 and land yourself a podium before the season is over?
I would love for that to happen. And I think if it is going to happen it’ll be at Sand Del Lee because I love that track and do well there. But I mean, it’s hard to say because Benoit, Jeremy [Medaglia], Politelli, Sjoberg and Tyler [Medaglia] are all really fast and so is Topher [Ingalls], Nauditt and Kieran Leigh. You know anybody can have a good moto and it’s just kind of how the cards fall. But, I would love to get up there and put myself on the podium because that would obviously help for next year when trying to get some support. As long as I can keep building on where I’m at and keep getting a little better every weekend, I’ll have no complaints.
You’re sitting 14th overall after 3 rounds, where would you like to be at the end of the season?
I’ve been watching the points and I would really love to get up into that 10 th place spot. I think it would be pretty hard to catch Dylan Schmoke who is in 9 th , he’s pretty far up there. But I think if things keep going well, then I should be able to get by Bles and Beatty, and Morgan Burger and Spencer Knowles aren’t doing the East coast so obviously that helps with a couple of positions right there. So my goal is definitely to get into the 10 th spot by the time Walton is over.
Cycling is how Dylan gets ready for the long motos.
James Lissimore Photo.
We know you’re big into cycling, fill us in how much time you spend on your bike.
I started cycling a few years ago and every year I just seem to like it more and more. Obviously with all these injuries I get a lot more time to put on my road bike than I do on my dirt bike. I’ve put in roughly 2500km since December. I like it, I like going with Tyler and Jer [Medaglia], it is definitely a challenge to keep up with them. There is also a group in Grand Bend that goes and does 45 km every Monday. It’s really fun to get out with a group of people. My mom actually just got a road bike so I’m sure I’ll be bringing her out on some cycles with me. I just love it. It’s a great way to train and get ready for motocross and to just stay in great shape. It’s probably my favourite way of training off the bike.
Well it seems to be paying off for you when it comes to racing. Who do you want to thank for helping you out this year?
MCR Suspension & Motors, FXR, Ortho-Flex, Pro Taper, Loud Mouth Intakes, Rekluse, Oakley, Metab Clothing, Roost MX Graphics, Yoshimura, my Mom and Dad and my Grandma and Grandpa .
Awesome. Thanks Dylan and good luck this weekend! Thank you guys for giving me the opportunity for this interview. See you at Sand Del Lee.