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On the Record

Need for speed

On the Record with Sean Kingsbury

Sean Kingsbury was not allowed to ride a motorcycle growing up. Now Kingsbury is on the path to becoming a professional MotoAmerica motorcycle racer.

He will begin training as a professional in southern California at the end of October and will race for the first time as a professional in April 2018. At the end of this year’s Midwest season, Kingsbury placed first overall with 1,210 points. The second-place racer had 905 points.

Kingsbury kept his first motorcycle a secret from his parents for three years. After getting into a serious motorcycle accident, he tried to ride again on a closed track. Loving the safe environment and fast speeds, he decided to get his race license last year.

Kingsbury lived in Sycamore through the sixth grade. His family moved and he graduated high school in Georgia. He now lives in Chicago with his wife Josephine and their four children.

Kingsbury will return to Sycamore to participate in the Pumpkin Festival Parade on Sunday, Oct. 29. His float will feature his motorcycles and mini-motorcycles riding alongside.

Kinsbury spoke to MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton to discuss motorcycles, racing and becoming a professional.

Milton: What motorcycles do you have?

Kingsbury: I race three bikes total: a Yamaha R6 600cc and 100hp, Yamaha R1 1,000cc and 187hp and a Kawasaki Ninja 300 300cc and 39hp. The fastest speed my bikes can go is 190 mph. It’s most exciting when you turn corners, leaning over at 125 mph. It’s the closest thing you can get to being a fighter pilot without going to war. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Milton: Have you always raced motorcycles?

Kingsbury: No, I was never allowed to ride motorcycles growing up. I rode bicycles a lot, though. I kept my first motorcycle a secret from my parents for the first three years. My dad was very supportive of my racing, especially when I won. My mom is usually very nervous to watch me race.

Milton: Why did you decide to race motorcycles?

Kingsbury: I rode motorcycles on the street and had a serious accident. I was too afraid to ride again, until I rode on a track. I was not afraid. Racing on a track isn’t as dangerous as you’d think. I had a crash at 130 mph this year, and all I had was a bruised elbow. There’s an ambulance and a helicopter on site. I wear a helmet and a full leather suit to protect me. The suit has 30 measurements so it’s made to fit my body and all of my gear is required to be inspected for safety every time I ride.

Milton: How does racing on the track differ from riding on the street?

Kingsbury: On the track, there are no cops, speed limits, deer, light poles or sharp curves. The courses are engineered to be as safe as possible. You can go as fast as you want to and push your motorcycle to its limit.

Milton: Tell me more about the race format.

Kingsbury: Each race equals a certain amount of points. For example, first place gets 35 points and 24th place gets one point. A GT race lasts 25 minutes and sprint race 10 minutes, or the distance of eight laps. There are 146 Midwest racers. I race as number 312, the area code for Chicago.

Milton: Does your family also ride and race motorcycles?

Kingsbury: My wife Josephine and I race together. Husband and wife racers are very rare. She started racing after I became interested in it. The first time she rode a motorcycle was on a track, which is actually pretty unusual. I have four children, and all four ride, even my 4-year-old.

Milton: What do you do on Road Racing TV?

Kingsbury: For Road Racing TV, I interview racers, catch behind-the-scenes action, tell more about the lives of the racers and describe how motorcycles work.

Milton: Is there anyone you would like to thank?

Kingsbury: I would like to thank Nick Cronauer of Burns, Cronauer, & Brown LLP in Sycamore. They are a title sponsor. Without Nick, I could not have done any of this.

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