MotoAmerica Rising Stars Spotlight: Kevin Horney

A recurring theme among young road racers is the exposure to racing at an early age. For Kevin Horney, this holds true as well.

Getting his start on the dirt and consistently searching for learning experiences, and adrenaline, led Kevin Horney to road racing and, ultimately, MotoAmerica. But unlike many other young riders, Horney jumped in with two feet and accelerated the learning curve by skipping the younger developmental classes. We sat down with Kevin at Road America in early June to learn more about the promising Supersport rider.

When did you start riding motorcycles?

I started riding dirt bikes at 2 years old and raced locally till around 14 years old. I owned a CBR600 for a month in 2019, then bought my S1000RR in 2022. I did my first track day in 2022 and started racing about 3 months later!

What was the first bike you learn to ride on?

Yamaha PW50

What was the bike you first raced on?

2018 BMW S1000RR

Where was your first race held?

2022 CCS Race of Champions at Daytona!

What was it about racing that appealed to you/got you hooked?

Racing/driving/riding anything has always been my favourite thing in my life, and something I am naturally able to continue to learn, push myself, and improve. My favourite part of racing is there is no end to the learning, there’s always some way to go faster, there’s always going to be someone faster, there is no end to finding new limits for yourself and these amazing bikes.

The raw addiction to the adrenaline, speed, and every single feeling I have on the bike cannot be felt any other place in my life and I love and appreciate every second of riding!

What series did you race in prior to MotoAmerica?

One CCS race weekend (my first at Daytona and only race in 2022)

WERA 2023/24

List your accomplishments in those series (podium, winner, etc.)

My first race weekend I won the Amateur National Championship and got my expert bump in October of 2022 at Daytona! I’ve done a good amount of WERA racing on my 1000, but most on my R6 or the Apex Triumph, here’s my results from 2023 and 24.

WERA 2023 18 total races with 9 podiums

WERA 2024 12 total – 11 podiums

How do you feel your season has gone so far?

The 2024 season has been absolutely amazing so far! Racing the ApexMFG Triumph 765, an awesome platform that ApexMFG has been developing, has been great so far!

Road Atlanta was great, it was my first time ever riding the track, I qualified and gridded 29th, finishing race 1 in 20th, and race 2 in 24th (my 2nd pro race in the rain)

Barber was a whole world better than last year, which was my debut in MotoAmerica (broke my collar bone during the race) I ran a new PB, and gridded 30th, finishing race 1 in 22nd and race 2 in 21st!

Road America was also a blast! It was essentially a new track to me as I had only done 3 wet laps shortly after my clavicle surgery in 2023, and I absolutely loved it! I had a ton of family come up, and I also got to meet a lot of great motorsport enthusiasts and great people like Tim who support what we all love!

I gridded 27th, race 1 I worked my way up to 16th in the rain, got a little overconfident and excited and had my first high side ending my race with about a lap and a half left. Still very happy with how I did, I almost got my first MotoAmerica point!

Race 2 was interesting to say the least with all the red flags and the delay, but I finished 20th!

My season so far has been stellar, with constant improvements, learning, new experiences, and meeting so many great people. I am proud of myself for how I’m doing, with a new bike and all these new tracks it has been difficult, but I have so many great people in my corner helping me figure it all out step by step!

Any areas you feel you want/need to improve upon?

The biggest struggle for me at this time would be my communication about what my feelings on the bike are, what type of changes I want to make, and what exactly the bike is doing at specific times to my team. This is a whole new aspect of riding to me, I used to just hop on any bike and figure out how to go fast on it regardless of the setup.

Being so new to racing, the team and I have found that I can go out on any setup, get to my fastest pace within a few laps, then plateau. When I am communicating during our debriefs it takes a while for me to explain it in a way that everyone can understand, and help me learn what exactly is happening and where to go from there, it’s hard for me to know what I want from the bike when I don’t know what the possibilities of specific changes can bring but we are learning every time I get on the bike! You don’t Know what you don’t know!

Favourite track to race on so far?

Road Atlanta

Hardest part of racing in MotoAmerica Supersport?

The current grid is filled with so much talent which makes it hard, but I see it as an opportunity to learn from the best in the country.

My largest personal struggle would be the Investment associated with my current situation in racing. Being so new to road racing, and not as mechanically inclined as others, I rely on my team and pit crew a ton, which comes with an investment, but I am extremely thankful and blessed for them all and their expertise and drive helping me reach my goals.

The tires, travel, and every other part of racing all add up, quickly going from me funding it personally my first season, to a family effort at this point, we are all working hard to make this dream a reality for all of us, looking for sponsors or ways to cut costs. I am so blessed to have such a supportive family and the sponsors I do have, and we sure are making it work!

Ultimate goals in the sport? MotoGP, WSBK?

My dream would be working my way to MotoGP, winning championships here, and at the world stage someday. It’s a longshot, but then again so was getting my MotoAmerica license in my first ever Road Racing season. I truly believe that with the right mindset, hard work, dedication, and love for something that anything is possible for anyone.

Any racing heroes growing up?

Travis Pastrana and Ricky Carmichael, adding Nicky Hayden and Josh Hayes once I learned of Road Racing.

Biggest influence on your career to date?

There are 2.

Owen Johnson (Northern SportbikeTracktime Director) Owen saw me posting videos doing wheelies on a S1000RR on the street and decided to invite me to the track, which I had no clue was even possible. He took me through my first few months of track riding, showing me everything I needed to do to get my race license and even came to Daytona and supported my first club racing weekend!

Richard Harris (Owner of ApexMFG/SportbikeTracktime)

There are so many people who led me to meeting Richard I wish I could thank in this, but he took me from crashing all the time, and having no idea about why I am able to go fast to where I am now, understanding so much more about Road Racing, how much my mindset affects my riding, and so many more things he’s taught me this far, that have completely changed my future in this industry for the better and I cannot thank him enough. Between him and AJ Gustafson, my pit crew chief, they have put so much time and effort into helping me safely reach my goals and continue improving. They have given me the opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot express my gratitude enough!

Any advice to other young riders wanting to get into racing?

Stick with it and trust yourself! I had a few people pushing me away from the goals I had set and if I would have taken their advice and not gone down the path I chose for myself, I probably wouldn’t even be racing.

Never ever dwell on the negatives, use them as learning experiences and move forward with an open mind.

Featured image – Brian J Nelson