Story By: KRISTEN LESTOCK / NHMS – LOUDON, NH – Comradery, self-reliability, excitement, dedication, desire, competition and focus. These words describe not only the Loudon Road Race Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but also the riders who are former military members. This weekend was round two of the 2019 season, and Armed Forces Day being on Saturday made the weekend extra special for four LRRS riders, who say racing motorcycles reminds them of their time in the military.
“The best comradery you’ll find outside of any military branch is among these guys and girls,” said former Marine, Jason Sauvageau, who scored his first amateur win of the season in Saturday’s Ultralight Superbike. “Just like the military, this is what it’s all about. As much as you’re self-reliant on your own motorcycle, it’s a group effort to always get everybody ready. It’s being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”
Sharing Sauvageau’s sentiment of the family-like atmosphere of the Loudon Road Race Series, is expert rider, Tim Hogan. Hogan, who served as an infantry ranger battalion for four years, spending about a month in Afghanistan and nearly eight months in Iraq before he was shot six times, added the craving for excitement that motorcycle racing satisfies.
“I get the little butterflies when I’m waiting to take off from the start line at the beginning of a race that I did going out of the gate for missions,” said Hogan, who finished second in Sunday’s Combined SuperTwins. “Plus, everyone I race with is up here – it’s like a family – and prepping the gear, making sure everything’s ready, is similar to being in the military.”
For Roger Ealy Sr., whose son also races in LRRS, his more than 21 years serving in both the Navy and Marines and his nearly 10 years racing motorcycles are all about the same things.
“In the military, the job is all about dedication, desire and wanting to do your best,” said Ealy. “It’s the same thing in motorcycle racing. It’s a competitive sport. The military is a competitive sport, so that kind of feeds itself.”
To be the best, a rider must have focus, which is something novice rider, Josh Ziemski, who served four years in the Marines, thanks the military for.
“I got out of high school, went to college for a year and it just wasn’t me, said Ziemski. “I started to get in to a little bit of trouble and I knew I needed change. Serving in the Marines helped me learn how to focus at the task at hand, whatever I needed to do. Racing and riding competitively, I’ve got to have that mental focus and be on my A-game when I’m on the track or practicing.”
One race where riders really benefit from strong mental focus is the Dash for Cash, which is run as two Middleweight Grands Prix – one for the expert class, which awards the top eight with cash prizes ranging from $25 – $500, and one for the amateur class, which awards $100 to the winner.
LRRS veterans, Scott Greenwood, Alex Guilbeault and Rick Doucette claimed the top three spots in Saturday’s Expert Dash for Cash Middleweight Grand Prix and held on from green flag to checkered flag.
Lincoln Gottier took the win for the amateurs while Nick Leighton and Matthew Farrell rounded out the top three.
Round three of the Loudon Road Race Series returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway June 15-16, highlighted by the 96th annual Loudon Classic on Sunday, which will wrap up Motorcycle Week at NHMS.