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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Chance call leads to racing dream

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rural Brazil resident Eric Jensen is currently preparing for the final race of the Ohio Trike Crew Series, which takes place Oct. 30, at Malvern Raceway in Waynesburg, Ohio. Jensen has placed first in five of seven races this year. Jason Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
After more than 10 years away, Eric Jensen is riding his way to success on a 3-wheeler.

"I had been riding 3-wheelers since I was 5-years-old," Jensen said. "Then in 1999, I went to 4-wheelers, in part because I wanted to race Motocross and no one was racing 3-wheelers anymore."

Jensen told The Brazil Times he maintained an interest in racing 3-wheelers and began posting photos online of "crazy stuff and tricks" he did on them.

Then last year, an out-of-the-blue phone call from New York gave him an opportunity to compete.

"Bill Casey, who is the owner of TPC Trikes (in Vestel, N.Y.), contacted me saying he had seen my pictures and that he was building a new style of 3-wheelers," he said.

The new vehicle being created was a combination of Honda motorcycles and 4-wheelers, and despite being offered a chance to race in the Ohio Trike Crew Series (OTC), Jensen was hesitant to jump on board.

"I wasn't going to agree initially because of the cost to travel, but Bill said all the initial expenses would be covered," he said. "I raced 4-wheelers in 2001 and had cut back on competing until this opportunity came along."

Additional apprehension entered a little as the first race of the season neared.

"Before February, I hadn't even ridden a 3-wheeler in 10 years, so there were definitely some nerves," the rural Brazil resident said. "On top of that, the day of the race was the first time I had seen or tested the 3-wheeler I was supposed to compete with."

However, Jensen's natural instincts and feel for the vehicle kicked in quickly as he finished second in the race, and added five first-place finishes and a second in the following six races, all of which take place in northeast Ohio.

"It's definitely a thrill to be back riding 3-wheelers and to be successful in the 8-race season," he said. "There really wasn't much I needed to do to readapt."

Jensen added the races on the series take place on "outlaw" tracks, which are not sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

"The AMA won't allow 3-wheeler racing on their tracks, and because of insurance purposes, all the races are exhibitions only, so no actual point standings are in place," Jensen said.

Racing in Class A of the OTC Series, Jensen has seen the attraction to the races grow throughout this year, even without having official standings.

"In the first couple races, we had trouble even forming a Class B, but now we race between eight and 18 competitors in each class," he said. "We have had racers from all over, including Lafayette, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and there is even a girl from Oregon, who is currently living in New York."

The "outlaw" mentality fits the entire series as Jenson told The Brazil Times it is the only place in the country that is competitively racing 3-wheelers.

"It might possibly be the only place in the world racing them as well," he said. "But we still seem to draw bigger crowds than the other motocross races that take place the same say we have ours."

Jensen attributes the bigger crowd size to the expectation of seeing 3-wheelers crash.

"Fans seem to expect us to wreck, and they get a little disappointed when we never do," Jensen said. "But they also seem to enjoy the races as the crowds have been growing as the season has gone on."

With one race left on the schedule (Oct. 30, Malvern Raceway in Waynesburg, Ohio), Jensen is hoping to finish ahead of the pack again as he is considering retirement from racing.

"I do practice some 'extreme freestyle' tricks behind Rissler's Extreme ATV from time to time, but I am thinking about retiring from off-roading," he said. "But there is the possibility that I may be in a couple races next year."

Rural Brazil resident Eric Jensen practices some "extreme freestyle" moves on his 3-wheeler at Rissler's Extreme ATV, 2985 W. U.S. 40, Brazil. Courtesy Photo.
After spending most of his life on some variation of all-terrain vehicle, Jensen emphasized the importance of taking safety precautions, especially those who want to become racers.

"It is a must to have your helmet and all your gear on correctly," he said. "No racer ever plans on crashing, but you have to be prepared to protect your body as best you can should it happen."

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Way to go Eric. We're praying for your safety!

-- Posted by Dagnabbitt on Sat, Oct 9, 2010, at 4:04 AM

HAAAAAAA! Awesome.

-- Posted by wtfizdat on Sun, Oct 10, 2010, at 9:39 AM

I'm a three wheeler fan (grew up riding)...I hope the thrill of riding them is coming back. Good Luck Eric!

-- Posted by ACC01 on Sun, Oct 10, 2010, at 10:36 AM

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