5 Minutes with ... Dusty Klatt

Dusty is ready for his first ride on the Star Racing Yamaha team.

 

By Allison Kennedy
Photos by James Lissimore and Dusty Klatt

With the Christmas holidays over, most of us are just getting back to business in the 9 to 5 world. But for Canada's champ and Star Racing Yamaha's newest rider, Dusty Klatt, there has been no time for a break. With the keys to the Yamaha test track and his practice bike, Klatt spent Christmas morning putting in laps with good friend Howie Spencer looking on. This Saturday, it's time to see if all of his hard work has paid off. We caught up with Dusty as he was getting ready to head to press day at Angel Stadium.


RXC: So, are you excited?
Dusty Klatt: Yeah, it should be good. I'm feeling ready. We've got the bike all set up and the team is working really well together right now. I am comfortable with my new mechanic and the team seems good, so I think everything should work out fairly well. I just have to get good starts and stay healthy and keep everything moving along.

The last few times we've talked, you've sounded happier and happier about your performance at the test track. How do you feel on the bike now?
Definitely, I have improved a lot since I've been here, just being able to ride as much as I can. I only have the test track to go to and it's maybe 25 minutes from my house, so it's not too bad. I go up there as much as I can. I haven't had to work on my bike at all. The race shop is about 40 minutes away so they usually take the bike back there and I just show up in the morning and ride it. Another good thing is that I've been riding my race bike when I practice. It's pretty much the same except minus the titanium parts. So it's the real deal that I get to practice on too, so that helps out a bit.

Has it been an easy switch to the Yamaha?
It wasn't too bad, I kind of got a feel for the bike in Chilliwack. But then when I got down there the bike felt completely different from that one. It took me a little bit to get used to it but I definitely feel really comfortable on the bike now and I like it. It's awesome.

 


Klatt's new Red Bull helmets for Anaheim.


What has the test track been like? Who do you get to ride with?
[Broc] Hepler is there a lot. He is going really, really well this year for sure. He is pretty much one of the fastest ones. [Josh] Hill has been up there a few times that I've seen and I've only seen Chad [Reed] a couple of times and Grant Langston is up there a fair bit. But most of the time I see Hepler. I get to see him ride around and there have been a few times when he's pulled in behind me to try and improve my lap times and push me. They are all really nice people.
Does riding with those guys give you an idea where you stand?
Who knows? The practice track is so much different than race day. It's pretty much a whole new game but I am feeling good. It's time to start the season off, see how it goes, see if there are areas I need to improve on. If there are, then I will have to try and pick it up that much more. But right now, I am feeling good and I am looking forward to the season, it should be good. It's going to be really tough though, there are a lot of good guys, so it's going to be a matter of being consistent and getting good starts.

Are you going into this weekend with any big expectations?
I'm not really setting any specific goals for myself, really just to make the main. Just making the main is the big hassle. Once you are in the main, I don't think it's really that bad. Once you are in the longer moto, you are good. I've been able to work my way up in the past if I did get a bad start so ... I think that if you can get a half decent start in the main, you are good to go. It's just a matter of riding solid, keeping lines, and making sure you aren't screwing up and staying up, 100 percent, until the end of the race. It's not like outdoors; if you bobble, there is no time to make it up. It's all about being consistent.

 


Lap after lap after lap, Dusty put in some serious time at the Yamaha test track.


There's a lot of hype about Anaheim 1 but you sound pretty calm.
Hmmmmmm [laughs] yeah, it should be all right. There's definitely is a lot of hype to it and I want to do as well as I can, that's for sure, but I know it's going to be tough. But as soon as the gate drops, it all goes away anyway so it should be pretty good. I am excited for it. I'm just going to try and put it all out of my head and ride like I know I can.

Do you have family coming down?
My dad is driving down right now. He should be here tomorrow morning if if he drives all night. My friend Howie is coming, my uncle Mike and James Lissimore is flying in today too.

Well, good luck from everyone up here in Canada. We'll be cheering.
Thanks. The main thing is to make it into the main; that's the goal. I'm sure there will be lots of guys going down, there's usually about four guys knocked out in this race … hopefully I'm not one of them [laughs]. It should be good. The whole team are really good people and I'm pumped.