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Veteran motorcycle racer Flynn adds traveling buddy this season
By Steve Clark - Monday, April 3, 2017 8:35 AM
Originally published March 30, 2017.
Pat Flynn has been traveling around the United States for cross country motorcycle races for more than 30 years.
This year, however, he has some company.
For the first time ever, Flynn’s grandson, Logan White, is on the road with him.
And after years of teaching White about cross country motorcycle racing, the teenager is now out competing in the same national races as his grandfather.
Flynn, 55, and White, 15, both of Huntington, are participating in the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series. The competition, which got underway in early March and runs through October, consists of 13 races in eight different states. Flynn rides a 250 KTM XC motorcycle in the Silver Masters A class, while White competes on a 150 KTM XCW motorcycle in the 200 C Schoolboy class.
White, the son of Anson and Mandy White, got that motorcycle last year. It was a gift from his grandfather.
“We got a new bike this year,” says Flynn of his grandson. “He went from the mini class and went to a different class since he turned 15. That kind of decided, hey, you got a big bike, we’re going to do the big stuff.”
White has been preparing to tackle “the big stuff” since he was a toddler. He rode his first dirt bike – affixed with training wheels – when he was 2-1/2 years old.
“I learned how to ride a dirt bike before I did a bicycle,” he shares.
At 4, White participated in his first race. He’s since gone from riding a 50cc bike to a 70, an 85 and now his 150.
While White’s bikes have changed over the years, the person instructing him how to ride them hasn’t.
“He’s been pretty much my trainer for the whole time that we’ve been doing this,” says White, nodding toward his grandfather.
Flynn has been riding motorcycles for over 40 years. As a cross country motorcycle racer, he’s won multiple state and national championships, as well as competed internationally.
As White gets his first taste of national competition, he’s learning a variety of lessons from both his grandfather and the series itself.
One of those lessons has simply been how to approach riding the bike, particularly over the harsh terrain that makes up the courses.
“Standing up’s a big part,” says White, who observes that legs are like another pair of shock absorbers.
“It probably is way better for your body,” he continues. “It doesn’t wear and tear as much on you. It makes you probably be able to go longer.”
As White gets more comfortable on his bike, he’s also getting more accustomed to the types of terrain he’ll be challenged by on the series.
“I’ve been learning about how to ride whoops and sand a lot better than I used to be able to,” he says. “The race we had this previous weekend was really tough; it was a mud hole. Some tough spots in that race. Been learning how to control the bike better in that kind of situation and how to get it out of stuff, like certain spots. You get stuck and you have to get it out.”
And he is also learning that, at times, his fellow riders can be the biggest obstacles of all.
“Traffic sometimes is terrible,” says White. “I’m learning how to make my own lines and stuff instead of waiting. That’s a huge advantage for you because, pass all those dudes, that’s a whole bunch of spots right there.”
While White was unable to participate in the series’ opening race – his obligations as an eighth-grade student at Riverview Middle School took precedence – he was with his grandfather for the second one, held in Palatka, FL, in mid-March. School also prevented him from participating in the third race, but he fully intends on competing in the fourth, set for April 8 to 9 in Morganton, NC.
The missed races might not mean much by the end of the season, says Flynn, as a competitor’s top 10 performances during the 13-race season are the only ones that will count in the final standings. Having what amounts to three throwaway races means that White can afford to miss one more event before experiencing any adverse effects in the standings from his absences.
Flynn has competed in all three races to date and currently occupies fourth place out of 25 racers with 49 points.
In addition to the national series, White and Flynn are participating in an Indiana-based one, the Indiana Cross Country Racing Series. Taking place entirely in the Hoosier State, that series has been much easier for both White and Flynn to compete in.
Whether it’s to a race in Indiana or one in Florida, White and Flynn agree that discussing the races on the long car rides is one of the best parts of the whole experience.
“After the race, you talk about it all the way home,” says Flynn.
“We talk about it a lot,” adds White. “We usually talk about stuff that we did good and stuff that we did bad and we need to work on. We usually come back here and practice and get better at it, so next race we can see how well we’ve trained here.”
Flynn may be well-acquainted with winning and losing after so many years of racing, but seeing racing from his grandson’s perspective this year has enabled him to experience something more: feeling young all over again.
“It does,” he muses. “It sure does. And then other times I’m going down a trail and I’m so worn out I’m thinking, ‘What am I doing here?’
“But then as I catch my breath and I start to have fun again, ‘Man, this is a blast! I couldn’t ask for a better life!’”