Privateer life isn’t easy for sure. During Supercross last year, Kyle Partridge had one bike that he used for both practice and racing, which meant that he didn’t do all that much practice or training, in an effort to keep his equipment fresh. For the outdoors, the lanky Las Vegas resident hooked up a sponsorship with the Sycuan Casino (www.sycuan.com) in El Cajon, CA, and hooked up with the DNA Shred Stix / Star Racing / Yamaha crew for the outdoors. That gave him a good place to pit from and made travel to and from the races easier, but being a 450 guy on a 250 team, he apparently wasn’t getting much in the way of testing and support.
For 2012, he helped bring the Sycuan support over to the Hart & Huntington/Dodge/Kawasaki team, and turned some heads with a solid ride in his heat race at the Monster Energy Cup. Now he’s prepping for the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season, and will be working with Ivan Tedesco for get really dialed. There’s no doubt he’s got skills, and the upcoming season will definitely be his best chance yet to showcase them.
Vital MX: Okay, Kyle, so tell me about your deal for next year.
Kyle Partridge: It’s kind of a little bit different than what I’ve had in the past. Just a good group of guys and good equipment with Hart and Huntington and Carey, everybody out at Vegas at the shop, Watson… It’s kind of good. I’m happy for once. I have a good bike and I feel really good actually so we’ll see how everything goes.
I was going to say… Monster Energy Cup, you were duking it out in there for a while, and scored a direct transfer to the main events.
Yeah. My heat race…I don’t want to say that I rode great, because I didn’t, but I rode good. I rode better than I have in the past. I think that kind of shows what I can do with good equipment and good people. I rode a lot before Monster Cup, probably more than I rode all year Supercross last year, with only having the one bike. Now being out here in California with Ivan and him helping me out, it’s going to make me ten times better than I was at Monster Cup.
Do you feel like you’ll be able to finally show your true potential there?
It kind of fires me up because Matthes seems to talk a lot of crap about me being on the team. It almost is like, for me when I passed Alessi and I started catching Townley, after the heat race I was like I know where I can be now. I know I can run with these guys. I just need to get in a little bit better shape. Not even a little; I need to get in a lot better shape. But it should be good Anaheim 1. Working with Ivan, like I said, is going to be huge for me. He’s somebody that I’ve looked up to my whole life. He has obviously won championships and won races so he knows what it takes and is a top-ten guy. So, it will be good for me especially with Ivan and Hill and Hansen and those guys helping me out will be big.
I know the Pro Circuit guys have used Ivan in the past to, “Hey, go out and push our guys around and help them.” So in a way, that’s not a new thing for him.
No. And his biggest thing with me is… And he told me the other day, “I don’t want to have to babysit you.” And I told him I just want to be able to do twenty laps. I’ll do whatever I’ve got to do. You don’t have to worry about babysitting me. Just tell me what I have to do. So far it’s good. We’re just kind of doing riding stuff right now because he’s still trying to get in shape as well. We’re kind of on the same page as far as where we’re at together as our conditioning goes, just because he’s been out. We’re going to start doing a lot of gym stuff I think here pretty soon just to get us both a lot stronger. It will be cool hanging out with him and going to see Dr. G, and just getting the whole program together.
Tell me about your deal with the Sycuan casino – how that came about, what that brought to Star last year, and then over to Hart and Huntington this year?
I was at Davi’s house last year and I got in contact with an old friend of mine that I’ve known for seven or eight years and her mom happens to be the general manager of the casino. And we just kind of started talking and she was asking me what I needed through Supercross on, from Jacksonville on. They kind of just were dabbling in it. They just paid for my flights and hotels and entries and stuff like that, which was huge because I was having to pay for all that myself. They bought me a bike right before outdoors started because I was just going do them on my own. Then the whole deal with Star came about. Obviously they gave Star quite a bit of money. I think a lot of people that looked at that deal as me paying for my ride don’t understand that in a sense, yeah, I kind of bought my ride but at the same time I’m trying to get a sponsor involved in our sport. They battle with San Manuel as far as advertising and marketing. So, all outdoors the guys at Star were telling the casino we’re going to run ads and stuff like that. They never did and the casino wasn’t really too happy about it. So, I went down to the shop and talked to Watson about a completely different thing and then it just got brought up with (Carey) Hart and we just kind of took it from there. I literally just the Sycuan people a text message with a link of a video of Hart’s wrap-up of the year and said, “Here’s another option.” And she said, “Have Hart call me.” It kind of just took off from there.
In a sense, I want what’s best for the casino as well as Hart. No offense to Star Racing or a lot of other people that were approaching me trying to bring it, but Hart’s marketing and Hart’s ways of going about getting their brand out I think is one of the best in our sport. And they do a lot of stuff for the casino. Just with giveaways and Dodge and the casino having cars for giveaways at the casino, and having Hart come down… It’s just a better business plan for the casino, because their ultimate goal is to get people into business. Having Carey Hart, or hypothetically Pink come to the casino is going to draw a bigger crowd. They’re trying to put together a deal with the truck team right now to have an off-road race at the casino. I think that will be huge. It’s just a good deal for me. I want what’s best for them just like they want what’s best for me. They’re going to be co-title sponsor with Dodge. I think it will be a good relationship with Hart and the casino. I know it’s for a couple years. That will line me up for the next two years and it will be good.
Being co-branded title sponsor with Dodge, that’s huge.
I know that they’re really excited about that because, like I said, Hart is really good at trying to get his sponsors to work together. That’s stuff that Hart does that not a lot of other teams do. I think that that’s what’s really appealing for the casino to have Dodge and to have Sycuan t-shirts made with Hart and Huntington logo on it and sold inside of Zumiez. We’re doing a big autograph thing on the first of December down at the casino. They’re advertising all of it in every store that Hart and Huntington is sold in and there are eighty stores in San Diego county, forty in Inland Empire. They’re trying to get a big crowd to go to the casino. It’s just little things like that that I don’t think a lot of people see, or if they do they overlook it. Kind of like the whole deal with Star. I kind of felt like they took advantage of the situation and they got their money and that was it. I don’t want to talk bad about Star because they’re a good team and Bobby took good care of me. It was just really frustrating because I didn’t get a lot of time to test…actually I didn’t really get any time to test. I was promised that I was going to test a lot and I never did. I think it just worked out better for Hart. Obviously for me because Hart is at home and I don’t have to move. The shop is twenty minutes from my house; our track is thirty minutes… It will be good I think.