We got a surprise letter from 2002 125 West Region SX champ, Travis Preston: He is racing Hangtown! After calling it quits in 2009, Preston started training riders, and claims to actually be getting faster himself! Check out what he had to say below:
Why I'm Racing Hangtown
By Travis Preston
Since my retirement in 2009, I have been coaching and training riders on the proper form and technique of riding a dirt bike. When I first started teaching, I had no idea what I was doing. I had raced a dirt bike professionally for many years, but I was really not focused on what I was doing. Most things I did just came naturally. I didn't really understand why I did certain things on the bike.
For me as a teacher, I needed to break down the whole process of riding a dirt bike. I wanted to be certain that what I was teaching was accurate. I had a 2009 YZ450 and nothing but time. I spent hours riding by myself, trying to understand why I ride the way that I do. I started with a simple technique like braking. I would try braking in different ways and in different conditions, to find the techniques that work the best. I would then watch videos of top professional riders to see what techniques they were using. By studying myself and other riders, I began to understand there is a formula to riding a dirt bike.
I started riding with this formula every lap. I now had a plan for how I was going to use the brakes. I had a plan for how I was going to set up the turn. After repeating this planned process every lap, my lap times started to fall. I couldn't wait to get to the next lap to try and fix the mistakes I had made on the previous lap. I started to chase the perfect lap. I have been riding this way since 2010, and I'm getting faster as I get older.
I started testing for Yamaha last summer, which gave me another excuse to ride. We would test at local tracks in Southern California where pros racing the nationals would be practicing. My speed felt good, and I was only riding once or twice a week. I felt with more time to ride, I could go even faster. So with the help of JGR and Yamaha, I have decided to race Hangtown. This is not a comeback or anything. My racing days are over. My future is training and teaching riders the proper way to ride a dirt bike. I'm only doing this to show that I can compete at a professional level. If I can compete at a professional level at the old age of 35 (God willing,) how fast could a young rider be if he listened to me and applied what I know?
I like to say, "To go fast on a motorcycle, you should learn from someone who has gone fast on a motorcycle."
To check out more, and follow his journey, head over to www.travisprestonmx.com