As I stated in an earlier post, while my intent is for this site to provide nationwide coverage whenever possible, my west coast coverage is going to consist mostly of whatever I can pull together from relentless trolling of the various forums and racers’ facebook posts, at least until I can enroll some west coast help. Luckily for me, as I build content on this new site, the very successful demonstration event held in Kenmore, WA. last weekend on the Sammamish Slough got picked up in the local newspaper numerous times and on the local news, providing enough content to represent the event nicely even as I sit over here on the opposite coast. Besides the local news links, the majority of coverage came courtesy of Kyle Bahl’s facebook postings. After the weekend I reached out to Kyle, first as a courtesy to let him know why “this guy” (Me) might appear to be stalking him on facebook and second; to ask his comments on the event. I also introduced the site to him and asked if he would participate in a more general driver interview to which he graciously accepted.
In My Opinion Kyle’s comments represent the core of of what we all love about Stock Outboard Racing.
- Almost ahead of racing, competition or “winning” he speaks of family and friendships developed through racing.
- When he does discuss the competition it’s in terms of setting goals and then attaining them.
- You can just sense that he loves racing, he seems like the type that would be willing to jump in any boat any day for any type of race.
- He seems like the guy you both love and hate to see coming up your inside to the first turn. Just my gut says he’s probably a race you clean, but race you hard type of driver.
- He seems like a good guy to sit down with and have a beer with after the race.
- Look out Region 10, Bahl has set his goals high again this year and he’s the type of guy that reaches his goals.
Q. How old are you?
Kyle: 29 years old
Q. What do you do for work?
Kyle: I supervise a security team for the University of Washington Medical Center
Q. Kids? Family? Pets?
Kyle: I’m getting Married in July (week before nationals, ha) to my fiance Meghan Upton. We have a dog, YAMATO!, and a cat, Muffler.
Kyle: Snohomish, Washington (Snow-ho-mish)
Q. What Regions do you race in most often?
Kyle: Region 10 with the yearly nationals trip where ever that may be. This year I won’t leave the region with Divisionals in Oregon and of course Nationals at Moses Lake, which I’m race director for. Put me down for a region 11/12 trip once in awhile too.
Q. What Local Club are you a member with?
Kyle: Seattle Outboard Assoc.
Q. Hold / Held any Positions with the club?
Q. Runabout or Hydro?
Q. Exclusively? or Just your preference?
Kyle: Exclusively both. For as long as I can remember I’ve always run both. Either JH/JR ASH/ASR and now CSH/CSR. Preference would be runabout because I’ve won a nationals before (CSR 2010 and 2011).
Kyle: I think if an outboard driver knows how to drive a runabout correctly then they can literally drive any boat. The way you really have to continually move your body around the cockpit the entire race to make a runabout go, is something that will really translate elsewhere. I’ve raced SO/MOD/PRO outboard hydros, SO/MOD/PRO outboard runabouts, inboard hydros, and tunnel boats. Learning to drive and be good at a runabout really helped me be able to drive well in other forms of boat racing.
Kyle: Currently CSH and CSR are my main classes. I also will drive 20ssh and 25ssr.
Q. How Long Have you Raced?
Kyle: 2014 will be my 19th season
Q. How did you start?
Kyle: Through Patrick Gleason. He is my stepdad and his love of the sport really turned me on to it at a young age.
Q. Any other family or close friends racing?
Kyle: Just Pat, but the relationships I’ve built in my 19 years of racing have really been lifelong. SOA are all my close friends. Then include Team Red, my Wisconsin buddies! Also my Best Man in my July wedding is Pro driver Zach Malhiot. And I was his in 2011.
Q. Do you have a “Team” that you’re a part of?
Kyle: Gleason Racing. Currently The team includes Pat, myself, and our new driver Will Smoot. He’s new to racing last season. Pat and I are helping him get started by racing our equipment. When he gets his own boat/motor I think he’ll continue to stick with us. He’s been a huge part of the team. Then I can’t forget the rest of the fam/crew: Meghan, Lauri, Christine, Libby, Rachael.
Kyle: APBA Stock Hall of Champions: 2011, 2 summer nationals (CSR: 2010, 2011), 2 Winter nationals (ASH: 2000 CSH: 2013),5 APBA high point championships, 8 APBA/world records in FAH, CSR, & 25ssr, Multiple West divisional championships (MOD/STOCK), 2 time Babcock award winner (most outstanding driver in region 10), and SOA 1996 rookie of the year.
Q. What is your biggest accomplishment in racing?
Kyle: I’d have to say the APBA HOC. That was a dream of mine and I came very close in 2010, so in 2011 Pat and I really set our minds on that and made it happen. Very cool year.
Q. What makes that the most important?
Kyle: My first induction into the HOC.
Q. Why? – Tell us more?
Kyle: Again in 2010 I was very close to the HOC. Won nationals and high point in CSR. Then lost on a tie breaker in HOC points to Andrew Tate. He was very deserving as well that year. But after that Pat and I really sat down and set our mindset to getting in the 2011 HOC. Winning nationals that year in Wakefield was very cool. Tim Ross and I had an outstanding battle in the finals. Then I went out and set my first CSR record at yelm (1 1/4 course). That was just a cap to my current overall best year in racing.
Q. What is your current Goal in racing?
Kyle: My current goal in racing is still the HOC. 2014 our efforts are going still into CSR, but CSH is another priority in 2014. I got faster last year than in 2012, including a 2nd in my elims and qualified into the finals at the NY Nationals, then ended up 2nd in CSH high points for the year. That’s the highest I’ve ever finished in CSH high points. I just finished building my first boat (carbon fiber CSH) this winter and really looking forward to the challenge of trying to win a major title in CSH.
Q. How about life? Any big goals or interesting stuff going on?
Kyle: Of course getting married to my fiance in July.. Meghan is definitely a special girl because she understands my racing life and embraces it. She’s always at the beach with me. That’s got to be love! Besides that, just living life. Working at hospital daily does give me some interesting stories, but they’re mostly the uglier side of society unfortunately. My soon to be father in law, Jim Upton, is running for Snohomish County Sheriff. Which is a pretty big deal, considering my county is the 3rd largest in WA state.
Kyle: Yelm! Love that record water. Fastest in the world!
Q. What’s your racing number?
Q. Do you name your boat(s)?
Kyle: My CSR is Captain Bahl’s (my father, Todd, is a captain in the Navy, he’s a big supporter of my racing too). My previous CSH was named the Seattle Wave for my sponsor’s youth baseball club. My new boat doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m sponsored this year by Seattle Wave again, Machine Components, and SRP. So I’ll have to find a true name for it since it can’t be all of those sponsors.
Kyle: The people. We are all really like a family. Sure racing politics can get overboard, but in the end I know for the most part we can crack a beer after the race and laugh about it later. In Seattle we are all very close in proximity so having off season social gatherings is easy, including a huge Super Bowl Party for the Seahawks at Ron Magnuson’s house. He also has a hydro bar!
Q. What’s the worst or the biggest concern / issue?
Kyle: Our alarming decline (in membership). I’m a SORC commissioner and we are all concerned. I think the way to fix that is just promoting and really selling the grassroots of the sport. Many people don’t know outboard racing is even a thing. Getting our brand name, etc out there is needed. Internet, boat shows, unlimited races, where our big exposure is, & driver schools. I know all our racers have a passion for this sport and it’s not necessarily everyone’s day job, but I think if we put in the work we can see results soon.
Q. One thing you friends in racing don’t know about you?
Kyle: I am an Eagle scout!
Q. Where’s your next race?
Kyle: Inboard Lawrence Lake in Yelm, WA. 1 2/3 record course. Got to defend my CSR record against Kyle Lewis!
Q. Anything Else?
Kyle: I was pretty long winded above…..lol.