On the Radar | Kyle Sheppard | Presented by Gamma Powersports
By Jeff McConkey
Name: Kyle Sheppard
Hometown: Copetown, Ontario
Occupation: Flat Track Canada Employee and Owner of Outlaw Productions (action sports video and photography)
Bike: 2005 KBR Built Honda 450cc
Race Club: Flat Track Canada
Classes: Intermediate DTX (Dirt Track Cross) and Open Intermediate
How did you get started in racing?
Well, it really all started in high school. I was working part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer with Hindle Exhaust. Working at the shop really opened my eyes up to motocross and I had made great relationships with people in the industry. Having Lee and Lang Hindle introduce me to the people to advance me, not only with racing but careers as well, paid off when guys like Andre Laurin, Peter Marcelli, Ryan Gauld and Jeff McConkey himself stopped by the shop or hanging out at MMRS events I was attending. I would hang out with Jeff at the Port Perry MX Track (Fourwinds) the most and having him push my abilities made me understand what I was capable of.
What is your favorite track and why?
Well, when it comes down to it, my hometown half-mile racetrack of Flamboro Downs would have to be it. The high-banked corners allow us to come off the straightaways and hold our speed and momentum. It also helps to be my favourite because of all the friends and family that can come out and watch, and I can still make it home before midnight.
Who is your favorite rider and why?
For MX it would have been Bobby Kiniry because he was country and sticks to it – I never ever saw him without the square beak hat, either. He was always down to work with the film crew we hooked up for an OTSFF video.
For Flat Track Racing, that’s a tough one because I always cheer for Canadian lads that go down and battle with the AMA Grand Nationals best.
What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?
For MX that’s the easiest one of all, it’s Hayden Halstead. From the first time I watched him ride to where he is now the kid’s only progressing – he works his butt off for it all. Not to mention the best family support! Watching Hayden compete with the best pushed me to do the same in Flat Track. Keep an eye out for him because he is going to the top.
For Flat Track it’s going to be Steve Beattie – the guy is a machine on the track! But it’s not his ability to ride the wheels off his HD750 or KBR 450 Framer…. nope. It’s because the guy’s humble enough to take time out of his day and walk over to your pit and tell you what you need to do when you’re having a bad day. Then again, he does also get the tools out and set up the suspension now and then for different tracks and breaks it all down to me to make me turn faster laps.
Who is your hero?
Lang Hindle. Lang is one of the smartest guys I know, and to have him reach out to me when I worked at Hindle Exhaust had meant the world. Yeah, maybe he wasn’t an all-star motocross rider but he knew a ton about racing that caught most racers off guard. I still, to this day, think of the things he would say to me and apply it when I am on and off the track.
What are your goals for this season, and what is it going to take to reach them?
Well, this season will be to capture the number 1 plate in DTX and Open but I know I have a battle on my hands with the fast up and coming riders in Flat Track racing. I have finished top ten two years now and want to make it into Expert before I call it quits.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
When it comes down to it, my racing and career have been meshed together into one for the biggest accomplishment of all. I now work full-time as a Flat Track Canada employee under Aaron Hesmer (former Canadian Speedway Champion) and handle the social media aspect of his videos through Outlaw Productions, all the while still racing in a respected class of talented people. I have my dream job and get to help promote my series and friends at the same time. Win.
What is your favorite part about going to the races?
Has to be the feeling of knowing I am going to see my track family, the people who you mainly only see on race weekends. I know if I have troubles they are right behind me to help. Oh, and going fast too!
What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
Get my bike ready for next season. One-track mind, go fast turn left.
Who would you like to thank?
This is going to be huge:
First and foremost for all the help over the years and continued support goes out the Hindle Exhaust Family and its team of workers. They always have my pipes ready to go and making awesome power where it counts. That means you too, Eddie!
Big thanks to my biggest supporter, Kate Rundle, for always helping out with the racing, filming and all the while being the best girlfriend.
Big Thanks to Kurt Biegger of KBR for always putting up with me in your shop and bumming parts before the paycheck.
Parts Canada for all the gear and parts this season.
Bailey Motorsports for another great year of support!
OTSFF for having me be the first flat track racer for them.
Benny at the Brap Shop for the hot shoes I burn out every year.
Race Bike Bitz for the killer rad hoses, Samco Sport specials that keep the bike nice and cool.
Twenty-Six Suspensions, Aerloc for another year of support, West Valley Automotive, WASP Cam for supplying gear to help with Web Series coverage. The Outlaw Productions Crew (Anthony Sardo, Kate Rundle, Dani Dietz, Mike Williams) for getting footage when I am racing!
Special Thanks: Jeff McConkey. The guy that got me rolling.