Gene Romero’s nationally acclaimed professional championship motorcycle races will take place at Antioch Speedway for the first time on Saturday night. Both fans and drivers are anticipating a wild night of racing on the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval.
The series, which last raced in Las Vegas, has West Coast Series champion Tony Meiring, of Tracy, preparing to race at a track he never visited – even though it is in his own “back yard.”
“I’ve been calling friends who race cars at the track to get a hint of what to expect,” Meiring said. “I’ve been racing motorcycles since I was four years old – that’s 26 years now, and I’ve never been to Antioch Speedway.”
Meiring, who races in the top “Open Pro” division, tried racing cars, but it didn’t work out.
“I’m not a car guy,” he laughed. “I’m way too brave when I have a roll cage around me.”
Driving at 90 miles an hour side by side in a pack of 16 motorcycles that are inches apart may seem extreme to most racers.
“Fitness is a big part of motorcycle racing,” Meiring added. “You’re controlling a speeding bike with your whole body.”
A personal trainer by trade, Meiring now manages a large fitness center in Tracy. His workout routine equals what is necessary for many professional sports.
“You have to be 100 per cent mentally and physically,” he explained. “A lot of daily cardio – it is necessary to get oxygen to the muscles, and to eliminate stress for mental strength.”
He follows up with weight training so he could control his Honda 450 racing bike. He also tried to keep excess weight off of his body.
“The lighter you are, the more horsepower you have,” he reasoned.
Drivers, who are coming to California from many states West of the Mississippi, are not familiar with racing on a high-banked oval like Antioch Speedway. Most tracks they race on are flat.
“There will be a whole different set-up and strategy,” Meiring explains.
“The G-forces will be intense. The speeds will be faster.”
Meiring knows no fear. He’s survived many spills during his career, the worst leaving him with a steel plate screwed to the bones in his arm.
Antioch Speedway to Open Early
The Gene Romero West Coast Pro Championship Motorcycle Races at Antioch Speedway will begin with time trials at 5:15 p.m. The first race will be ay 7 p.m. There will be four divisions of motorcycles racing. A total of 80 motorcycles is expected. Heat races and features will take place for each division.
Practice for the drivers will take place at 4:30 p.m. The grandstand will be open at 4 p.m. for fans wishing to arrive early.
Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for children 6-12, and $8 for senior citizens. Children under six years old are admitted free. A family four pack of tickets is $40.