Interview of the Week – Les Smith of Honda of Troy/Kilbarger Racing

Interview by Annie Connolly

Just last month Honda of Troy/Kilbarger Racing announced that 19 year old, Les Smith was chosen to fill the spot of team rider Levi Kilbarger at the AMA Outdoor Series.  Kilbarger is currently out nursing an injury that he sustained at the Dallas Supercross.

Smith, hailing from nearby York, SC, should make a comfortable switch to the Honda CRF250R as he has had much success aboard Hondas as an amateur.  We caught up with Les to talk about his new ride.

Les, tell us about your new gig at Honda of Troy/Kilbarger Racing. How and when did that all come together?

Yeah its great you know I had been talking to them for a while, and then just before outdoors  they called and said they had room so it all started from there.

You raced the last few National rounds in 2009 with some success – prior to the new ride, what were your plans for the 2010 season?

Last year when I rode the last few nationals I gained lots of experience.  As far as plans for the 2010 season the guys at Rock River Yamaha put a deal together for me to help me get to the races, so I was just gonna do the outdoor season on a Yamaha for those guys.

You had quite a successful amateur career and much of it was aboard a Honda, right?

Yeah you know I had a really great amateur career and just about all of my titles came on a Honda, I really like the Hondas and like the feel, feels like home.  Haha!

With so much prior success on Hondas, how do you feel on the new bike?  Was it an easy transition?

For sure, I love the bike and have always loved Hondas but had never rode one anywhere near the caliber of what I have now.  It’s taken some getting used to but I feel like were getting there!

How is your comfort level now with the first two races under your belt (Hangtown, Freestone)?

I feel pretty good you know, obviously I know I can be doing a lot better, but right now I’m just taking it a day at a time and fixing my mistakes one by one.  I feel really good about the rest of the season… ready to put in some good results for myself, and the team!

The hot conditions in Texas have been known to affect many riders in the past – everyone prepares for this race differently – Did you do anything specific to ready yourself for the sometimes 90+ degree weather?

Not really you know, not much other than just more water.  I always train really hard and drink lots of water, so really the only thing I had to change was just adding a little extra water each day the few weeks prior.

Do you think the heat had any impact on your results this weekend?

Not really, most of the issues I feel I’m having right now are within myself.  I feel like I’m pretty close to being dialed and just ready to get up there and run with those guys.

What are the plans going forward, are you lined up for a set number of races?  The whole season?

The whole season, cant wait.

What are you hoping to accomplish while with Honda of Troy/Kilbarger Racing, what are some of your goals?

Basically from here on out I just want to be consistently top 10 and get better from there, try to get better and better every weekend, I really want to put this team up front where they belong.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

Of course, first and foremost, the Lord for getting me to where I am, the whole Honda of Troy team, and my family and friends.

Thanks Les, best of luck this summer!