Kaed Kniffing ended the 2019 season with some strong performances in the supercross portion of Mini Os, finishing the majority of his races on the podium in addition to a number one plate in the 450 B class. The EBR Performance Yamaha backed rider had a solid first year with the team as he built his speed and comfortability on the YZ250F throughout the season, earning solid finishes at Loretta’s and showcasing his potential more and more as the year progressed. An untimely incident during practice on the outdoor track at Mini OS hindered his performances for the remainder of the week and he decided to call it early, but he still had some momentum rolling into the 2020 season in tandem with his transition to the A class. Kniffing demonstrated the same level of speed at Spring A Ding Ding in his A class debut with plenty of strong finishes, including an impressive podium finish in the Open Pro Sport class. During the last few months he’s grown tired of the same old, same old so he decided to fly down to his buddy, Ty Masterpool’s place, in Paradise, Texas for a couple of weeks of training. We caught up with Kaed to see how he dealt with the quarantine out in California, how it’s been riding and training with Ty, and what he’s got planned for the remainder of the year.
What have you been up to recently during the coronavirus pandemic?
Just chillin' down here in Texas right now. I think it's the best option 'cause out in California, I mean now they finally opened up some of the tracks, but before there was nothin'. I wasn't even riding, it was horrible.
Yeah, what were you doing to stay fit when you were back home after all of this started?
Yeah, I don't know too many guys that have private tracks or anything, so ridin' and training out there was tough. I was honestly doing a lot of runs and working out at my house. The riding situation, I didn't really ride once ‘cause they closed all the tracks.
Most of the riding you were doing was on a pit bike, huh?
Yeah, for sure. Pit bikes are hot right now.
What was your mindset back in March after getting back to California? Did you take a little time off of training and just relax?
I did take a little bit of time off of training after that and I took a couple of weeks off of riding and stuff. I was mostly going to the gym and once they closed the gyms and stuff then it started to get really crazy with everything closing. Then they shut down the tracks and it was a bad situation for sure. So I needed to get back on the bike fast so I came out here (to His 956 Facility) and hopefully at the end of the month now Regionals are going to start. Who knows when they will actually come, but I gotta be ready for that. I'll probably stay out here for another week or two and then head back to Cali 'cause at the end of the month, I think we'll have all the Regionals in one or something and then the Cal Classic is after that. I can't believe Mammoth got canceled, that sucks.
What were you doing during all of that downtime to keep yourself occupied and entertained?
I mean the first week was cool, you know, it was something different that's never happened before. It was cool to just eat and chill a little bit super hard, play video games, and stuff like that, you know? But then it got to the point where I was so over it 'cause usually my routine is if I'm not riding, I'm going to the gym. I have a gym that's like twenty minutes from my house so I like to go there and I couldn't do that. At-home workouts are like the worst thing ever, workin' out in your room and stuff when you don't have an actual gym. That was horrible, so I really needed to act fast and do somethin' so that's why I just came out to Texas and the program that Ty has out here is super good, so it kind of worked out.
So it's been a nice change of pace for you?
For sure, bein' out here compared to California riding and training-wise is night and day. I mean, the tracks are nothing like I've ridden; they're so hard. You go out in Cali and you can put down easy fast laps but out here the dirt is so deep, there are sand tracks, and the track is different every day, too. The weather's so hot also, it's getting really humid and hot out here so that's good for training. The program he has out here is just night and day compared to Cali. I definitely wanted to switch it up, I've been trying to come out here for a while and it was just a matter of time until I actually had to get it done.
What's it been like ripping with Ty at his home track? He must go pretty fast there.
It's cool to ride with him because he's definitely with the top 250 guys and at his track he's unbelievably fast also. If I can base my speed around him, then you know you're doing good if you're up where he's at so I'm trying to get to that level, keep riding out here and keep training.
What's it been like for you there in the downtime when you're not training? What have you guys been getting in to?
This is my second week here and we're riding like five days a week, workin' out like four or five days a week, biking and working out in the gym. Honestly, there's really nothing to do besides play Uno and watch music videos on YouTube on the TV. There's really nothin' to do, nothing is open. I actually went to a restaurant for lunch and that was the first thing I've gone out and done, but besides that everything is closed. I've gone to the store a couple of times.
Texas is one of the first states that's starting to open some stuff back up, so it's definitely a bit different than where you were in California.
In a couple of weeks, they said they're going to open up gyms and stuff but the highlight right now is like going to your local Walmart for sure.
You joined the EBR Yamaha team at the beginning of the 2019 season and had a solid year with them, ending out the year with a title at Mini Os in SX. How was last year from your perspective?
Yeah, for sure. It was big getting a title at Mini Os and the year before that also I started to get some more titles. I've been training a lot and Mini Os is one I haven't gotten yet so that was sick, too. I came into outdoors after supercross and I had all podiums leading into outdoors and then I had a pretty big practice crash. I landed on this hay bale, it just flicked me off the side of the track and I smacked my head. Blacked out for a little bit there -- I'm pretty sure I got a concussion on that, I don't really remember the whole thing. I tried to race more and I thought I was okay, but I was so out of it and I wasn't there at all. Riding in the motos, my brain was getting so tired that I just had to call it on outdoors, so that sucked but I haven't really had any races since then besides Underground.
You didn't do any Supercross Futures or Loretta Qualifiers at the beginning of the season?
Nah, I didn't do nothin' before Spring A Ding Ding, I just kind of did my own thing and was training out in California. I went to Spring A Ding Ding and then was gettin' ready for Freestone and they ended up canceling it. The trainer I was with, Caleb, and these two other guys were contemplating whether or not we should go to Freestone and sign up, pay for everything and do all that, or just call it and go home. We just said "screw it," we're going to fly back and the next day once I flew back, they didn't call it and I couldn't believe it but then they finally did. It didn't make sense for them to run a race when everything else was getting shut down, so I thought there was no way that would actually work, you know.
What was it like for you making the jump to the A class this season?
Yeah, Spring A Ding Ding is the only A class race that I've raced but I was thinkin' it'd be a little bit crazier in the A class now. But again, it's everyone that I've been racing my whole career movin' up and there are already people that were really fast in it that are moving out of it. The only difference now is the long motos, so it wasn't really too big of a step like I thought it was going to be but definitely moving up to the actual Pro Nationals is just a whole night and day experience for sure.
How did Spring A Ding Ding go for you?
Good. I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was with that Texas dirt being so deep and all that. That's when I really knew I had to get out here and ride some deep stuff with ruts. I'm good in the ruts, but that deepness just tires you out way more, like I could go do a thirty-minute moto at Fox Raceway like it's really nothin', but when you're in that deep dirt it's way different.
What do you think of the layout down there at Underground?
I'd say it's for sure the best track layout as far as amateur motocross goes. You don't see any other tracks in amateur motocross that have jumps like that and the dirt and the lines are so good there, too. A lot of other amateur motocross tracks are so tamed down and little, so that track is more of a pro-style track for sure.
What's your opinion on the Super Regional format and what might happen with Loretta's this year?
I mean, I was kinda readin' through a little bit and I don't know how exactly the Super Regionals will work but it seems pretty hectic with everything. It is one race I'm kind of nervous about because you have to do good there, so I'm kind of figuring out how it's gonna play out. It's gonna be so stacked, too, 'cause everybody is going to be at that Regional. It's gonna be super gnarly for sure. I'm curious to see how it goes so I'll probably spend a couple more weeks out here and then head back to Cali to do that race at the end of the month if it's still at that date.
Have you talked with the EBR Yamaha team about what your plans are moving forward after Loretta's this year? Were you thinking of hitting some Pro Nationals or potentially moving up for 2021?
Yeah, for sure. One thing I did want to do this year was a couple of Pro Nationals after Loretta's or however it works out, especially Fox Raceway 'cause it's kind of like a hometown one. But I want to do a couple for sure, that'd be super sick to try and get some experience and see how it really is. It honestly depends on if I race some outdoors how that goes -- if I make the jump up to supercross, it will all depend on this summer honestly.