LEXINGTON — Ian Fraley’s ATV racing career was short-lived, but his motorcycle racing career is revving up this summer.
The 10-year-old Fraley will compete in the MotoAmerica Mini Cup Series, which begins in June at Road America in Wisconsin.
The series, which includes stops at The Ridge in Washington, Pittsburgh International Raceway and Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, is one piece of a busy racing summer for Fraley, a student in the Lexington school district.
“Starting April 9 we’ll be at a track every weekend through the end of October,” said his father, Matt, over the roar of motorcycle engines during a recent training session in Dublin, Georgia. “We’ll be traveling the country.”
Ian’s introduction to motorsports racing was inauspicious. A couple of early spills nearly ended his career before it began
“I used to do a little bit of the track stuff on the bike, but he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to try four-wheeler racing,” Matt Fraley said. “He had a couple of bad wrecks on the four-wheeler at 4 and 5 years old.
“He was probably about 6 when I talked him into trying (a motorcycle) at a track down in Circleville. He made five or six laps and and came in and flipped his visor up and asked, ‘Dad can we sell my four-wheeler and get one of these?’ ”
The rest is history.
Ian began motorcycle racing when he was 7 and has been moving up the ladder ever since. He graduated to Ohvale 110s when he was 9 and will jump up in class again this year.
“Last year he won the North Central Regional championship at WERA,” his father said. “He got invited to the Grand National Finals in Barber, Alabama, and he got two firsts and a fourth down there.”
In addition to his busy racing schedule, Ian travels to Georgia to train with professional racers Josh Herrin, Carl Soltisz and Trevor Standish at Herrin’s training complex in Dublin. He also works out with Mansfield personal trainer Cody Stevens twice a week.
All the training has paid off.
“This year we’ve been fortunate enough to get picked up by (sponsors) Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Wiseco Powersports,” Matt Fraley said. “He’s also got some local sponsors. It’s all starting to come together.”
Several of the racers the younger Fraley competes against have the advantage of riding year-round. Winters in Ohio haven't slowed down Ian.
“There are some kids who have a little bit of an advantage, but you get that in anything. It’s not unfair, it’s just the way it works,” Matt said. “We’re in Ohio. We have to figure out ways to ride. We can’t ride in January and February in Ohio. That’s where this Georgia deal came in.
“He definitely belongs. Every race he races in WERA it’s against adults. He’s races against people four times his age.”
While Ian would like to pursue racing as a career, he still finds time to be a kid.
“There are some other kids who are at just about every (event). They get to play on their peddle bikes and hang around at night,” Matt said. “He gets closer friendships earlier. They are competitors on the track but they’re friends off the track. On the track, there are no friends. Off the track, they try to help each other. It’s neat to see them talk it out themselves.”
The friendships extend beyond the competitors. Matt and his wife, Lisa, have found a place in the motorcycle racing community.
“You have the family you are born into and then you have your motorcycle family,” Matt said. “You couldn’t do this without your motorcycle family.”
The Fraleys plan to race for years to come. Matt and Lisa have a 3-year-old daughter, Leeah.
“She already says she’s going to beat her brother,” Matt said. “She can’t wait to get started.”