How a holiday to the USA became a flat-out thrill
Friday, 2nd June, 2017
By Tyler Hannigan
Local motorbike rider Cec Fraser recently had the experience of a lifetime, racing in the USA with some of the country’s best riders.
The trip came about after discussions between Fraser and father Chris but the chance to ride came a little later.
“Dad and I have always wanted to watch an American flat track race and the Sacremento Mile was coming up,” Fraser said.
“So I said to dad “Why don’t we go?”.
“He agreed so we booked the trip and he said that we should try to get me a ride.”
Chris, a former Australian sidecars champion, emailed the race organiser, Randy Kremlacek, who then put the call out for a bike that Fraser could ride.
That call was eventually answered by one of the world’s best flat track riders, Brad ‘The Bullet’ Baker, who was competing in the event. Baker is a former world champion and a factory rider for Indian Motorcycles.
“Randy was over the moon that a young Australian wanted to come race at his meeting,” Fraser said.
“So he put the word out on the California Flat Track Association page on Facebook and pushed it pretty hard.
“Eventually Brad heard about it and said that he was more than happy to lend me a bike.”
Baker travelled 12 hours for the event with an extra bike for Fraser to ride. He rode on the Saturday night in the pro event before sticking around to help with Fraser’s ride on the Sunday.
“Sunday morning we were back on track,” he said.
“Brad supplied the tent and the tools along with the bike and then sat in the pits with me after each race to tell me what to do.”
Racing on the track, just outside Sacremento, was a brand new experience for Fraser who has been racing bikes since he was a kid.
“That was my first time racing on a mile track and it was completely new to me because we don’t have them in Australia,” Fraser said.
“The track is big circle, slightly bigger than the Memorial Oval. We were doing about 180km down the straight and into the corners.”
Despite his inexperience, Fraser did well in the event by finishing fourth in his heat and qualifying for the final. He was placed in the higher level of the amateur competitors.
“I was obviously pretty happy with that (finishing fourth) as were dad and Brad,” Fraser said.
“Randy (Kremlacek) put me in the Expert Singles who are the guys that are just below the pro riders. I wasn’t expecting that but thought I’d try my best and ended up eighth fastest for the final.”
Fraser didn’t get much luck in the final but battled on to finish 10th.
“I was in the second row but missed the start,” he said.
“And in any type of racing if you don’t get a good start you’re not going to do very well.
“So I got to the corner in 15th spot but over the four laps worked my way back up to 10th which I was really happy about. To be able to get top ten was amazing.”
Fraser said he plans to go again and has the support of Baker who is willing to supply the bike wherever he wants to go. He said that the Springfield Mile is next on the list.
“It’s definitely on the cards to go back and have another crack at it,” Fraser said.
While over in the USA, Fraser took the chance to propose to girlfriend Rebeca Wall.
“We stayed at the Hilton in San Francisco,” Fraser said.
“It had a rooftop bar looking over the Golden Gate Bridge and the whole city so I did it up there.
“I think I smashed down seven beers in about half an hour just to calm the nerves,” Fraser joked.
“Thankfully, she said yes.”