The Top Step:
Kyleigh Stallings spent a lot of time on the top step of the podium throughout the 2019 racing season, claiming titles at the majority of the races that she attended in the latter stages of the year. The teenager out of Texas began to catch fire at The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City with a pair of titles in the Girls (9-13) and Girls (11-16) classes. Stallings proved her speed and comfortability in the Oklahoma soil which came as no surprise considering she’s been training at Reynard Raceway an hour and a half down the road. Nonetheless, Stallings proved that she can go fast in any state and on any track as she went onto Mini Os in November and doubled down, winning a total of four titles before the week of racing came to a close. She didn’t do any racing throughout the winter but that didn’t stop her from picking up right where she left off at Spring A Ding Ding in March, winning both motos in the Girls (11-16) class on her way to her first number one plate of the 2020 season. We had a chat with Kyleigh after a hard day of training at Reynard’s to talk about her season last year, having Mike Forkner as her mechanic, and what the future has in store.
What have you been up to the last couple of months without any racing going on?
I was still training. I was still mountain biking, going to the gym, and I was trying to do as much school as I could when we weren't racing so I wasn't distracted and I tried to get as much done as I could.
Did you take some initial time off the bike or slow things down at all?
I did a little bit but like I said, I still trained just not as much as I usually would.
At what point did you pick it back up?
About a month ago. Regionals are about to start so we've been doing hard work lately. We quit the easy weeks and now we're training 24/7, every single day.
How do you split your time between staying at Reynard's and staying at home?
Yeah, we usually train for like two weeks and then we go home on the weekends so we get in as much riding as we can. I let my body rest and have time to do more school and then we go back again for two weeks.
What have you been doing during your free time in the last few months to stay entertained?
I like going on the boat and surfing in Austin where I live. I try to do that as much as I can, but you know, you always have to train.
You've been training at Reynard's for a while now, talk about what it's like to ride and train at his place in Oklahoma.
I like it because first of all, my mechanic Mike (Forkner) is the best. Austin trains down there with us so it's a lot better with him and Robbie is a really good trainer, I love him! I've been there for five years now and I've never wanted to leave. That's my favorite place to train and I don't think I'd ever wanna train anywhere else. I love the people there and I love the track, so yeah.
How'd it come to be that Austin Forkner's dad started working as your mechanic?
Me and Mike knew of each other but we weren't ever super close. He offered to be my mechanic so I was like "Heck yeah, Austin's pretty good. I want you to be my mechanic." We started getting super duper close after that and he's probably been my mechanic for a year now and I love it. I like training with the pros; Bogle is there, Bloss and Forkner. I'm pretty close with all of them so it's cool that they train there with us.
How'd The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City go for you last year?
Yeah, Ponca was fun. I ended up getting two championships so I was pretty proud of that. That was a big accomplishment in my career and it was one of my goals. I was pretty pumped about that so hopefully that's how it goes again! That's what we're hoping for.
Is this your last year in the younger Girls class or are you out of that one now?
Yeah, this is my last year in the younger class.
At Ponca last year you also had an impressive finish in the 85cc (9-12) class, finishing in 4th place in your first moto. Were you pretty pumped on that?
Yeah, I was pretty stoked about that. I've always tried to do really good in the boys class but the nerves start to kick in and it kind of affects me a lot, like more than the Girls class does. We're trying to get up there in the boys class; that was a good moto for me so I was pumped about that.
What's your opinion on the track layout and everything at Ponca?
I like Ponca. It's a good track, it's sick! The ruts are pretty good and I like how rough it is because it's challenging and I like that. I'm pretty good in the rough conditions so I really like Ponca.
Are those similar conditions to what you train in at Reynard's?
Yeah, he doesn't groom the track every day so it gets pretty rough. They're similar but Reynard's is clay and Ponca is a little harder I guess.
How'd your week go at Mini Os to cap off the 2019 season?
Mini Os was an even bigger accomplishment I guess. I ended up getting four championships so that was pretty exciting. Like I said about Ponca, we're hoping to get the same luck and achieve the same things this year. I don't think too good in the boys class; I ended up getting taken out but that happens and it's part of racing. We're hoping to do better in the boys class this year.
Spring A Ding Ding was one of the only races that you've done so far in 2020. How'd your weekend go at Underground?
Yeah, I didn't do that good in the boys class. I couldn't stay up, I don't know what was happening but I kept making so many mistakes. It was definitely the nerves 'cause I hadn't raced since Mini Os so I think that got the best of me. But I did really good in the Girls class, I ended up taking two wins in both the motos and it was another goal of mine achieved.
What do you think of the Super Regional format and what do you have coming up?
I like that idea better than everyone showing up at Loretta's 'cause I think it's safer in my opinion, so I'm pretty stoked about them making that decision. I think it's June 23rd at Three Palms - I think we're gonna do Supermini 1 and then the Girls class, so that's the plan.
What's your mindset heading to Loretta's this year?
First of all, I want to make it there in the boys class. I'm not super comfortable on the 85 so we're gonna try for the Supermini class. My confidence is way better on the supermini, making it would be a huge accomplishment and it'd be awesome to finish in the top twenty. I haven't raced Loretta's much in the boys class, last year was my rookie year so that's my goal.
Then you're going for the title in the Girls class?
That's the plan, hopefully!