Drag racing is a sport that makes a connection with people… a lifelong connection. The link to that adrenaline rush is deeply ingrained at a young age. I am certain that each of you have your own unique story about how your introduction to drag racing began and for most… I would guess it included your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles to some respect.
So chances are if your reading this, then that means that the thrill you experienced as a youngster still sends chills up your spine when you make that perfect pass! It’s also the same sport that likely helped you stay motivated and out of trouble as a kid.
Personally, I can’t think of a better way to show our kids how to be responsible and stay motivated! Your children may not share the same passion for motorcycle drag racing, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t share the same passion for racing… perhaps for them it’s a different genre (dirt, circuit, flat-track, etc.).
There hasn’t been an event, whether it was a test-n-tune, grudge fest, local or national event, that kids (of all ages) weren’t in attendance. Young people are just as much a part of racing as their parents or relatives are, after all, the youth is our future legends! You know who they are or were, you may have been the kid that begged your mom and dad to buy that racing die-cast (maybe a Karen Stoffer one) just so you could daydream a little more vividly.
Sometimes the kid in the room down the hall, is very likely to become the next super-star on the strip; as if handpicked by some unknown racing god. There are natural born racers at every track and how far they can go really depends on their parents involvement.
More and more kids are making their debut at their local tracks; such as the following young achievers: Joey Gladstone, Gaige Herrera, Katie Sullivan, and LE Tonglet (2010 NHRA Rookie of the Year and PSM Champion). These are examples of people who are in the teen to early twenty age range; each of them started somewhere just like this next young rider, 10 year old, Darrien Garland.
I have had the pleasure over the years to watch him learn the ropes from his dad, Darryl Meadows (to-date Darryl has run 6.92 ET and 199.8 MPH and Darrien has run 72 MPH)! Darryl & wife, Shawnie happen to be out at a swap meet and ran across a guy who had built the mini-dragbike (pictured) and decided because Darrien wanted to learn the “in’s and out’s” of motorcycle drag racing, first hand, this was the perfect tool to do so. Darrien has the utmost respect for racing; learning all he can from his parents!
And just like anyone of us, he is anxious each time he gets to the track and can’t wait to make the next pass. I am excited to see what the next few years will bring for Darrien!
As astounding as it is to see what young people can accomplish, ultimately it is a great motivator to keep our youth on track and out of trouble at school, at home and socially. That involvement starts with the basics, education about the sport (safety, equipment, techniques, etc.) and wrapping it up with support (moral, mental, emotional and of course financial) and love from everyone around him/her!
Teach your kids how to be safe, have fun and be a true sportsman/woman. Racing is a dangerous sport and not without risk; fortunately the benefits can be very rewarding. This is an amazing family friendly sport so next time you head to the track… ask the kids if they want to go, you might just be surprised by their response!
Till next time… Keep both wheels on the ground, at least for a little while!
Category: Hot Off The Press