Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Grant Akers: Junior ATV Racer
This wasn't a story I was looking for. It found me in a big, loud way I couldn't ignore.
Earlier this year I jumped at the chance to be a judge for the freestyle portion of the Monster Truck show at the Roanoke Civic Center. As I sat down I met my co-judges, one of whom was Tequita Akers. Tequita knew more about the goings-on behind the scenes than anyone I had ever met, and I asked her why she was so in-the-know.
Turns out her husband Larry was doing some of the heavy equipment work in the arena that night, and her son, Grant was a junior ATV racer -- who would be racing between the truck events that very night.
As the night wore on, she started filling me on on Grant's success.
Undefeated. Sponsored. Has his own track in the Glenvar area of Roanoke County.
Obviously I was intrigued, and we made an appointment to visit and shoot a story for the Fox 10 O'clock news.
I was amazed at the amount of stuff the family has dedicated to Grant's pursuit of ATV excellence.
In addition to his custom, $18,000 "bike," there is a custom enclosed trailer with his name, and number on the side. There are more trophies and outgrown helmets than some people might possess through an entire career. Yet he is only 13.
His parents are both proud, as you'd expect. His mother supports the effort 100-percent "Though I get nervous at every race," she said.
We watched Grant go through the paces on that custom track that Dad built for him, using his own tractor, and top soil that was trucked in. His grandparents came to watch with us.
Safety was evident everywhere. Lots of instruction from Dad. the track had been groomed for our arrival, but Grant was careful not to go "too fast" till he had made several laps to "groove it in."
All in all, it was an interesting and enlightening day.
If Grant want's to go pro, and race as an adult -- I guess this is where and how you start. I haven't had much time to research what pro ATV racers do, where they do it or how -- but I've been assured it's a lucrative career, if you can make the grade.
Let's wish Grant a happy and safe pursuit of success at the next level.
His dad has uploaded videos to You Tube of Grant racing. Click away to watch more.
John Carlin's Virginia Airs on the Fox 21/27 10 O'clock news on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Please subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on the interesting people places and events he visits here in the beautiful State of Virginia.