Sometimes the lines that define the term privateer can be blurred. Riders that fly in, work out of semis and get paid to race can still be considered privateers. But in my book a privateer is a guy paying for everything himself. Maybe his family helps out with some travel expenses and a local shop changes his tires for free, but the majority of the burden, financial and otherwise, is on him. Tony Sherman is one of those guys.
Racer X: Tell us a little bit about Tony Sherman.
Tony Sherman: I’m just a 21-year-old guy trying to make it riding motorcycles. I’ve got a great family behind me that supports me. I’ve been racing and going to school at the same time because you can never count on racing to work out for you.
I live in Elverta, California. It’s about fifteen minutes from Sacramento International Airport and about 35 minutes from Hangtown.
What did you do in 2007?
I did all of the outdoor nationals and also did a couple WORCS races. I’ll probably do some more of those this fall.
How were you getting around this summer?
Brad Kelley, another privateer that lives by me, hopped in my motorhome with me and we took off. I had my little brother wrenching for me and Brad’s girlfriend is Alisa Nix, so she came with and helped him. We pretty much split all the costs and did all twelve rounds together out of a brand new motorhome. We ended up putting 20,000 miles on it!
That’s a road trip right there.
Yeah, life on the road is interesting. We bent our trailer axle, saw a lot of the country and had ups and downs like that all summer.
What were the ups and downs like with the racing?
Hangtown had to be the highlight for me. I qualified in front of the hometown crowd and all my family and friends. I scored my first national points; I went 22-19 and scored two points. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Every time I shut off the throttle I could hear people cheering. The hardest part of the season was the mechanical side. I was riding a KTM and we had trouble getting parts. The guys in the semi were trying to help but they could only do so much.
What were your results like?
I was usually between 20th and 25th place. We had quite a few DNFs, which is unfortunate. Especially with the money that goes into some of these guys bikes.
How was the WORCS race you did?
I decided to go on Wednesday and we left on Thursday night. The race was in Idaho and all I had to ride was my 250F. I think I ended up 19th, which wasn’t bad considering I was the only 250F in the class. The course was so fast that I was getting killed down the fire roads and straights. It was fun though. Some of the roads were wide open for, like, five minutes.
What are your 2008 plans?
I’m privateering it again. I’m trying to do the west coast supercross series again if I can get some help. There’s a team called Riley Racing that helped Erick Vallejo last year. They offered to help out on Hondas but we haven’t finalized anything yet. If that doesn’t work I’ll probably ride KTMs again through NorCal Motorsports. They are a local shop here that has done everything they can to help out. They did a lot for me this year.
No, I wasn’t eligible last year. The points I earned at Hangtown made me eligible this year.
Where will you practice for supercross?
I’ll probably come down to Southern California to practice. Elsinore and Competitive Edge are the only two places I know of where you can ride. The Wonder Warthog guys get to ride at Comp Edge for free so I am going to see about riding for them. Jimmy Hazel is a buddy of mine and he rode for them last year. He would be a great rider for the Privateer Profile. He qualified for eleven of the twelve nationals in the 450 class this year doing it by himself. He was even traveling to the races by himself from Millville on. You should call him next week.
We’ll do that. In the meantime, tell us who you want to thank for helping you out this year.
Eric, Bucky and Tim and NorCal Motorsports, Big E and Lindsey at Answer and Pro Taper, Little D, Joel and the gang at FMF, Al Posey at Posey Racing, Troy, Rory and Chris at Bridgestone, Tyler at Impulse Clothing, Brier, Stew and Sabrina at 180 decals, Ryan and Eric at Works Connection, John Knowles at Scott USA, Joey and everyone on Norcalmotocross.com, Shawn Hybarger, Joyce and Kent Booth, Tyler Kimler, the Kelly family and Alisa Nix. All of those people helped me out so much. I want to also thank my mom, dad and brother; without them there’s no way I could do any of this.
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