Kye Forte

Bikes are in Kye Forte’s blood. His dad Rick raced motocross and built Kye his first BMX as a kid. Fueled by his father’s passion, Kye went on to become a pro BMX and mountain bike rider, before recently revving up the engine and switching to flat track. The 36-year-old now races on a Yamaha XS750 he and his father built from scratch – a labour of love and a partnership that still inspires Kye today.

What was your first memory on two wheels?

Probably riding in the backyard with Toby, my younger brother. We would dig up the lawn and make brick and board ramps!

How did your father influence your path to becoming a professional athlete?

My old man always rode motor trials and did a bit of motocross, so I remember following him round trials at a young age. He’s fanatical about trials, so I guess my Dad had a fair influence on what sort of path we went with bikes.

“My dad and I have always been close. Building that bike and racing it together has brought us way closer”

Was it always a childhood dream to ride bikes professionally?

For me, it was a childhood dream, yes. We used to compete in the national BMX series as a family and won some British titles. At the time it felt organic, as if I was just following what I enjoyed the most. This began with my love for jumping, and then soon after freestyle. Looking back, I can see that I actually did pursue it intensely and was quite fixated on making it as a pro rider. I put in a lot of work and also made plenty of sacrifices along the way.

How has the kind of bike you’ve chosen to ride evolved over the years?

We actually started racing motocross as a family. After that we went to BMX racing about the age of 12. That just naturally led to me jumping my bike more which I enjoyed, and then that become my career for like 15, almost 20 years, riding for big brands like Red Bull and Oakley and things like that. From that, I went into downhill mountain bike racing and dabbled at motocross again off and on, but I guess it’s just brought me back to motorbike racing which is kind of where I started. Now I’m racing flat track bikes and love it to death. It’s real simple racing. It’s cool. Although I didn’t have a bike for a long time, my interest in it never went away.

Has riding and working on the bike with your Dad brought you closer together?

Yes, I would say so. When I was competing in BMX it’s not really the environment for Mum and Dad. Even when I went MTB racing, I was part of a team that took care of everything for me – bikes, mechanics, the lot. Now I’m racing flat tracks, I really do require help from the old man, and he loves it. He’s a great mechanic and bike builder, so we are having a lot of fun. My dad and I have always been quite close. Building that bike, and going racing it together has brought us way closer. It’s something that we share.

What was it like building the bike from the ground up with your dad’s help?

It was rad. I was away through quite a lot of the build, so when I wasn’t there I was getting photo updates. It was rad in five months and done from the ground up. It’s a beast and is still a work in process if I am honest. It just evolved from me buying an engine that wouldn’t run. The next thing we’d like fully got a new motor built. It just evolved pretty fast. It was just wicked to see it come together. The old man was just buzzing off it every step of the way, and it ended up so much better than I ever imagined. It’s awesome just to get to ride that thing. It’s like a dream come true really. My riding has definitely come full circle. We started the motorbikes, and now I’m back doing motorbikes. I am so reliant on him now, just as I was when I was a young kid racing MX and BMX. It’s always been a dream of his to build that bike, and when I said I wanted to race it as well if just gave him like that purpose for doing it. We share the highs and lows. It’s like a two-man team.

You ride almost every discipline there is on two wheels. How do you manage to fit it all in?

It’s just a juggling act, really. I don’t ride as often as people think. I work away a lot and if I am home, I will be trying to catch up with the kids as well as getting back on top of office work. I also do tree surgery, so after a day of climbing, I’m usually too tired to even think about getting on a bike. It’s just about making the most of the time you do have. Trying to burn the candle at both ends, although I usually end up ill for a week or so when I do this.

“We share the highs and lows. It’s like a two-man team”

What does winning a race mean to you now, compared to when you were racing BMX bikes as a child?

Ah man, I love it. It doesn’t happen as often these days but it’s still a buzz when it does. The drive to try and achieve more just doesn’t go away.

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