Faster than a speeding bullet
Just a couple of years ago, Jamison Dilkey thought his racing career was over.
Now he’s getting ready for the opportunity of a lifetime.
Dilkey, a junior at Colfax High and lifelong resident of Auburn, is set to ride and represent the United States in the 2013 FIM Team Speedway Under 21 World Championships in Germany on April 28.
“It was a huge honor,” Dilkey said of being asked to participate in the event. “I couldn’t believe what was happening (when I was invited) because honestly I was never expecting to ever be asked to go to that. After breaking my leg I didn’t think I was that good at riding anymore. But I won an L.A. race and (Victorville promoter) Steve Evans asked me to go. I was completely surprised.”
Dilkey also will be traveling across the pond next month to ride with the USA Dream Team at four different tracks in England.
It’s believed that the 2.5 weeks Dilkey will spend riding in the European circuits will give him experience that is equivalent to a whole year’s worth that he’d gain racing in Northern California.
Promoters have told Dilkey, who will be the youngest competing in the world championships, that he is going to gain valuable knowledge racing against the best of the best.
He’s not expecting to win, but rather use the occasion as a springboard to future success.
Dilkey might not get to see any of the major sights while traveling through Germany, France and England, but he’s looking forward to seeing the lifestyle of Europeans.
His father, Mike, said the family’s heritage and roots are in Germany. If the chance arrives, Mike’s going to search for some long-lost family members.
“Maybe the rich ones,” he joked. “Maybe we own a castle out there.”
Dilkey, who comes from a racing family, was riding a two-wheel bike without training wheels at 2.5 years old. By the time he was 5, he was already racing dirt bikes.
When Dilkey isn’t busy racing his speedway bike, he can often be found sitting on his dirt bike and supercross — or in front of a TV playing Xbox.
Mike Dilkey, who first brought his son out to Fast Fridays at the age of 5, raced on a flat track in Southern California in the 1970s. And before that, Mike’s father raced in Santa Barbara.
Dilkey’s mother, Nancy, however, might not be the sport’s biggest fan. She tends to cover her eyes when her son races because he goes too fast, Mike said.
Said Dilkey: “I like the feeling of going fast — it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done.”
Dilkey averages a speed of 40 to 60 miles per hour. He always rides with a helmet, as he’s involved in a dangerous sport.
Dilkey had an unfortunate turn of events on Oct. 2, 2009 when he suffered a major injury at Fast Fridays. A spill left Dilkey with a compound fracture in his left tibia. He didn’t think he’d ever walk again, let alone ride.
The accident put him in bed for three months and off the track for five more before he started making his comeback.
“I was really nervous and cautious at first,” Dilkey said. “But I slowly overcame my fear of falling and hurting myself. Right after I broke my leg I came back and won seven races in a row.”
That same year he placed fourth in the USA Youth Nationals, and in 2011 he captured the Youth Track Championship at Fast Fridays.
Dilkey said the thought of falling is “always in the back of my mind.”
When the Fast Fridays season gets under way on May 10, Dilkey’s hoping the experience he gains in Europe will help him beat his racing idols, including Billy Janniro of Auburn, Kenny Ingalls of Foresthill and coach Doug Geist. He said he might need a handicap to beat Janniro, though.
Dilkey is currently trying to raise funds to help pay for his trip overseas. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/27mikg.