Building the Off Road Community Episode 3: Speedway Racing

Building the Off Road Community Episode 3: Speedway Racing

June, 26th, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Some people must find their legacy, but others are born into it. Ryan Brant was six days old when his parents (who met at a speedway track) took him to his first race. As they say, the rest is history. The speedway and off road community has always felt like home to Ryan. It only makes sense that he spends every day working with the sports that he loves. Currently, he is working for Runnit Racing and Runnit CNC as a jack of all trades. He has worked on the sponsorship deck and social media marketing campaign as well as on the trophy truck itself. From his young days, Ryan has always had this sort of diverse contribution to the off road community.

Even though he started so young, speedway racing has been a life-long passion of Ryan’s. His first bike was a Yamaha PW 50. Eventually, as he worked his way through the speedway circuit, he started riding sponsor’s bikes. Speedway bikes must be specially built; one unique requirement is that they do not have brakes. As result, the only way to slow down is to pitch the bike sideways when flying through a turn. Ryan obviously has a lot of practice with this technique; he won the 2008 3rd Division National Championship after five years of not competing. When he is not competing, he is contributing to the off road community by working as a sponsor, track mechanic, supporter, and fan.

The Speedway and Off Road Community

Similar to the dirt biking community described by Jon Turner, the speedway community is an incredibly tight knit group. Specifically in speedway, “you have to trust the person next to you because you are going so fast, with no brakes, inches away from each other”. Any mistakes on the track can lead to messy pile-ups, but even in the heat of competition a fellow racer will check on a fallen comrade.

Speedway and the off road community share many significant aspects. Primarily, the approach to the sport is the same. Both are totally absorbing; instead of participating in sports or extracurricular activities after school, racers go home and work on their bikes. This dedication creates the sense of community that both sports share. Logistically, these two sports have some differences. Off road races (such as dirt biking) occur every month or so; the parts are much more expensive; and there is a professional league in the USA. In contrast, speedway is more popular in Europe, less expensive, and has races a few times a week all summer long.

The Legacy

A race at a speedway track is “a party interrupted every five minutes by a race”. For Ryan, the track was a meeting place for the friends and family that he grew up with. Ryan’s uncle and father are both previous US National Champions. Ryan’s brother races. On his mother’s side, his grandfather is Walker Evans, and his uncle is Evan Evans. Even beyond that, Ryan’s grandfather holds the world record for Salt Flat Land Speed and flat track racing. This sort of epic legacy within the off road community is common. For example, current Baja champion Colton Udall’s mom and stepdad are the promoters of Costa Mesa Speedway. Former world champion Bruce Penhall’s sons Connor and Ryan were both Baja champions. Jim and Jimmy Fishback both are active in the speedway and off road community.

The takeaway? Ryan says that “when it all comes down to it, we are all the same. We want to go fast, have fun, and play in the dirt”. If this sounds like your life, then Ryan suggests that you support the off road community by visiting your local race track. In fact, Ryan himself is making that easier for you with the development of his app RaceMapps (read more about it here).

The off road community offers a home to all of its participants, regardless of sport. It is this sense of community that draws its racers and its fans. When you walk into the arena, you are home.

 

 

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