Monday Feb 07 2011
Racing career in high gear
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
Foresthill natice returning to England after bouncing back from bad break
Seven busted helmets, one for each of his concussions, line Kenny Ingalls’ dresser. He keeps them as souvenirs of the injuries he has triumphed over in his speedway motorcycle career. Racing at 70-80 mph, on a flat-track motorcycle with no brakes, has taken Ingalls, 22, all over the world. The Fast Fridays golden boy and Foresthill native, earned a contract last year as a professional racer with a British Speedway Team, the Workington Comets. Ingalls’ season in Birminham, England last year came to an abrupt end when he broke his right tibia and fibula. Following that, he returned home and had a titanium rod placed in his leg. After several months of physical therapy and working out, Ingalls is returning to England later this month to continue his career with the Comets. “I’ve been getting injured all my life,” Ingalls said. “And each time I come back stronger and faster.” Though he didn’t start speedway racing until he was 17, Ingalls has been dirt biking since he was 4. At 16 he went semi-pro, but found his niche in speedway. “In speedway I have really progressed so well and my goal is to be in grand prix within 5 years. I kind of just took to it,” Ingalls said. Last year his talent was evident. Ingalls placed third at the U.S. Nationals in Costa Mesa and secured the No. 1 spot on the USA Dream Team Tour UK. Part of that talent may be in his genes. Ingalls’ dad and manager Kevin Ingalls, was ranked No. 2 in the district for cross-country dirt biking before Kenny was born Kevin Ingalls’ racing career was cut short after he sustained an injury. So he took his expertise and channeled it into riding recreationally with his son. “My dad has always been my main influence,” Kenny Ingalls said. Today, Kevin Ingalls is his son’s manager and has accompanied him to his major races the world over. They have been to several European countries together, including Italy, Poland and Latvia. “Italy was the coolest,” Kenny Ingalls said. “It had the nicest weather and the track was even the nicest.” As for England, Kenny Ingalls said he couldn’t ask for more, aside from better weather. Although, speedway is a much more popular sport , so he said he enjoys the increased fan-base. Speedway racer Chris Kerr of Auburn has raced with Ingalls at Fast Fridays and on the Comets last year. He said Kenny did well in his first season there, despite getting injured. “He’s naturally talented on a bike,” Kerr said. “He’s done really well for himself and progressively gets better every year.” Kerr also said that racing in England has several advantages. “Over here it’s just a hobby, but over there it is your professional caeer,” Kerr said. “If you are racing there you don’t do other work. You are constantly racing, watching races or working on your bike.” To prepare for that exposure this season Ingalls has amped up his practice schedule. “He’s dedicated himself to racing. He is on the bike all the time,” Kevin Ingalls said. “We have a track at the house and he has been working out to stay in good shape.” Moving forward Kevin Ingalls believes his son has enough talent and passion for speedway to join ranks with the world’s top competitors. “I see him getting into world championship GP races,” Kevin said.