Troy Dog’s Shack: Derek Kelley Finished a Career Best in Glendale, Wants Podium

The amount of progress that AEO Powersports KTM’s Derek Kelley has made in the past four years has been remarkable. Four years ago, Kelley was racing off-road for SLR Honda and now he’s battling for top fives in Monster Energy Supercross. At the Glendale Triple Crown last weekend, Kelley finished a career best sixth overall and had to fight through the pack after some not great starts. It’s all been accumulating to this point for Kelley who had a rough go at Oakland and Seattle with some big crashes. The 6th place was just another check mark off of the list. 

“I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I’m back to 100% healthy,” Kelley said. “I’ve been working on more base level stuff during the week, like stuff that you learn when you’re a kid, that I didn’t work on for a lot of years. I think that helped a lot with staying loose and riding really smoothly last weekend.”

Kelley said the familiar dirt helped with his comfortability and the football stadium layout helped earn him his best finish as a pro this past weekend. He’s come a long way from the off-road racer that he was just four years ago and he’s proud at how far he’s come.  

“I always knew that I had potential to be good, I just had a lot of injuries growing up, Kelley said. “I’m happy with my progress, I’m always searching for more, but it’s just part of it. I feel like I’m doing the right things and things are just coming together and working out. I’m definitely stoked. I talk about it all the time with my family. If I end up making it to a factory ride or get on the podium or win a race one day it’ll be a pretty crazy story. Realistically I came from nothing even in amateurs and even four years ago I was racing offroad. It’s been quite the journey.”

Kelley knows that he has bigger goals to accomplish in this sport and he wants to do it sooner than later. 

“I’m still searching for that top five and I feel like if we have a weird main event then I feel like I can get on the podium pretty easily if I’m riding at the top of my game,” Kelley said.

Running the pace of the top factory riders in the 250SX West Region isn’t an issue for Kelley. He said that he just needs to learn how to run it consistently. He thinks that if he were to pull the holeshot that he wouldn’t be able to run away with the race and that it would take multiple weekends to do that repetitively to get to that level. He knows that’s what it will take to get on a factory team’s radar. 

“I just have to keep putting in the results,” Kelley said. “They know who I am, I’m not a secret anymore.”     

Main image: AEO KTM

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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