Kale Makeham Interview

Todd Jarratt: So it’s your rookie year in the Monster Energy MX1 class, how has the transition been so far?

Kale Makeham: It’s been good, but definitely a big learning curve with a lot of mistakes so far. Overall, I’ve been happy as my speed is right there with the top five guys, I’ve just been inconsistent. I wasn’t really too worried about that though, because those first five rounds I just wanted to show my capability and speed, and then learn from that. So basically, I figured out my weaknesses and have focused on them over this five-week break and feel a lot better heading into the second part of the season.

Kale Makeham in the thick of things at Horsham earlier this season
Kale Makeham in the thick of things at Horsham earlier this season

TJ: How would you rate your performance so far this season?

Kale Makeham: Well, I’ve made a super pole and had a top five finish so they were good results, and the races that I’ve kept it on two wheels I’ve run right near the front too. It’s just that out of the ten races run so far this year, I’ve ended up on the ground in seven of them so my results on paper don’t look great but at this point in time that doesn’t really phase me. I know I’ve worked hard and all the pieces of the puzzle are organised, now I’ve just got to piece them all together really. I think the break has been really good to me because I knew exactly what I had to work on after the first half of the season and I now think I’m capable of consistently running inside of the top five and on a good day break onto the podium.

TJ: How has it been working with Jay and Jess Foreman, who have really dominated the domestic scene with Matt Moss over the last few years?

Kale Makeham - MX Nationals 2015
Kale Makeham – MX Nationals 2015

Kale Makeham: It’s been great, they’ve got their program absolutely dialed and everything is organised. The plan at the start of the year was to learn from Matt and feed off him because as you said he has been so dominant in the past. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really worked out with him being injured, so I’ve really been forced to do my own thing and try to learn as I go through the season. I worked with the team at the beginning of the season toying with the bike as it was a big change, but I absolutely love the Suzuki and have gelled really well with it since the beginning so on the team side of things we have it pretty dialed!

TJ: A lot of people say that they want to see you back on a two stroke, so in your opinion what are the advantages and disadvantages of each bike?

Kale Makeham: In my eyes if you don’t have a ride in the MX2 class it’s really hard to field a competitive four stroke bike. If you’re out there working a 9-5 job and having to pay your own way to go racing the two stroke is the logical option in terms of a power to finance ratio. I think if you’ve got the support behind you to race on a competitive four stroke then it’s the way to go in terms of enhancing your future chances of picking up a team ride, but as you would have seen I was on a two stroke during my MX2 years and copped a lot of criticism for it but still ended up getting a factory ride with Suzuki so it can be done both ways. If it’s your goal to get a factory MX1 ride in Australia then either way works, but if you’re looking to get a ride overseas then the four stroke is definitely the preferred option.

Kale Makeham - MX Nationals 2015
Kale Makeham – MX Nationals 2015

TJ: What are the plans for supercross and 2016, because at this stage you’ve only signed a one-year contract with Suzuki?

Kale Makeham: Yeah it’s only a one-year deal but I’m also still pretty young (21) so I’ll just play it by ear and see where I end up. I think the second half of the season and supercross decide a rider’s fate a lot more than the first, so hopefully we can continue to improve. Obviously, this year it has been pretty tough financially as it’s a deep field and I’m not out front winning regularly so the bonuses aren’t flying at me left, right and centre, but I will do my best to get up front in the second half of the year and make things a little easier on myself. I know what I’m capable of and I will continue building my confidence and momentum throughout the rest of the season and onto next year.

TJ: For those out there that may not know, what really goes into being a factory rider? Can you give us your take on racing dirt bikes as a job?

Kale Makeham: Without going into too much detail, I spend pretty much six days a week riding or training from daylight to dark. If I’m not riding, I’m in the gym or on the cycle, and if I’m not doing those, I’ll be stretching, cooking my meals or completing bike work to be ready for the next day. At the level we are at now, you can’t rely on talent or natural ability, you have to work your butt off and that’s one thing I’m not afraid to do. I’ve got a good work ethic and want to achieve my goals so you won’t really see me wasting time. My relaxation actually consists of watching AMA and MXGP races, so even when I’m hanging out I’m still learning from racing. In the summer I like to have a hit of golf and enjoy water sports like jet skiing, but during the year it’s head down to the grindstone and work.

Kale Makeham - MX Nationals 2015 - Image by Jeff Crow
Kale Makeham – MX Nationals 2015 – Image by Jeff Crow

TJ: A lot of riders opt to move away from home upon turning pro, but you seem to have kept your base out here in regional Victoria? Why is that?

Kale Makeham: It’s interesting actually. I still live in Koondrook but this year I have probably spent four to five months already in Newcastle with the team. It’s just easier being close to the guys up there for testing, maintenance and support, especially in the pre season when we were getting the bike sorted. The McLeary family have been kind enough to let me stay at one of their places too, which is right near the team shop and they even have some tracks on the property, so that has been a blessing and I’m really thankful for the opportunity they have given me there. I do like to come home though. I’ve got a good program back here because I know how it all works. I know all of the tracks, how they handle the weather and what to do during the year here to get the most out of myself because I’ve done it before. I guess I’ve got it pretty good both at Newcastle and back here in Victoria really.

TJ: Well thank you very much for your time Kale and we will see you at Raymond Terrace for Round six of the MX Nationals this weekend!

Kale Makeham: No worries at all mate, I can’t wait to get back behind the gate! See you there!

Kale Makeham - MX Nationals 2015 - Image by Jeff Crow
Kale Makeham – MX Nationals 2015 – Image by Jeff Crow
Monster Energy MX1 MX Nats championship points

1) Kirk Gibbs 274

2) Luke Styke 235

3) Adam Monea 227

4) Kade Mosig 227

5) Lawson Bopping 213

6) Dylan Long 192

7) Jesse Dobson 188

8) Daniel Reardon 184

9) Cody Cooper 177

10) Kale Makeham 152

Motul MX2 MX Nats championship standings

1) Luke Clout 286

2) Takeshi Katsuya 281

3) Jay Wilson 281

4) Jed Beaton 250

5) Wade Hunter 246

6) Luke Arbon 228

7) Nathan Crawford 213

8) Geran Stapleton 202

9) Hamish Harwood 194

10) Riley Graham 190

Pirelli MXD championship points

1) Wilson Todd 262

2) Connor Tierney 256

3) Jesse Madden 241

4) Jayden Rykers 233

5) Bailey Coxon 218

6) Wayde Carter 213

7) Jonte Reynders 187

8) Lachlan Davis 170

9) Kaleb Barham 169

10) Zak Small 162

Swann Insurance 30 Plus Veterans Championship points

1) Cheyne Boyd 70

2) Robbie Marshall 64

3) Malcolm Cash 60

4) Travis Regeling 54

5) Craig Anderson 54

6) Aaron Hunt 50

7) Cassidy Holland 48

8) Dean Freer 46

9) Paul Wolfe 44

10) Luke Wolfe 40

MX Nationals 2015 Calendar

Rd1 Horsham, VIC 29 March

Rd2 Appin, NSW 12 April

Rd3 Broadford, VIC 26 April

Rd4 Murray Bridge, SA 17 May

Rd5 Coolum, QLD 31 May

Rd6 Raymond Terrace, NSW 5 July

Rd7 Shepparton, VIC 19 July

Rd8 Nowra, NSW 2 August

Rd9 Toowoomba, QLD 23 August

Rd10 Coolum, QLD 30 August