Christian Crosslin can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t racing bikes.
And now the senior at Millbrook High is going elbow-to-elbow with some of the best motorcycle racers around.
Crosslin is one of two Raleigh competitors who will be racing this weekend in the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM Mid-Atlantic Roadracing Championship at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., outside Danville.
Shane Hobgood, 30, who says he has known “C.J.” (Crosslin) for years, is the racer, mechanic, team manager and financier of his own race team.
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Both will be competing in the Superstock 600 class, which will run this weekend along with Superbike, Superstock 1000 and Supersport categories.
“My dad got his first motorcycle when he was 12 and he used to road-race in the early ’90s,” said Croslin, Calvin and Lisa’s son, who began racing dirt bikes when he was five. “He still loved it after he quit racing and started taking me to races when I was real young.
“He’s the main reason why I race, and I’ve loved it ever since I can remember.”
Hobgood, an electronic systems technician for Technical Innovation, has been racing for seven years.
“I bought my first street bike when I was 18,” said Oxford native and long-time Raleigh resident Hobgood, whose most important fan is wife Jackie. “But Scott Carpenter, who was a professional racer and still coaches with me, got me hooked on the track. I learned how to race at Corner Speed, the official race school at VIR, sold my street bike and bought one that was already race-ready.”
Gates open for spectators at 8 a.m. today through Sunday at VIR, named one of the top six courses in North America by Car & Driver magazine.
In the 600 Superstock class, practice is today at 9 a.m. with qualifying at 1 p.m. Qualifying continues Saturday at 9:10 a.m. with their first race at 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s practice is at 9:30 a.m. with the race at 2:40 p.m.
Hobgood was second in the WERA race last season at VIR and finished seventh in points in the B Superstock Expert division. He was third in the VIR team challenge race and fourth in the CMP team challenge race in Kershaw, S.C, both sanctioned by CCS/WERA. In 2013 he was second in the point standings in the WERA Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region in both B and C Superbike divisions.
“I’m expecting 40-45 bikes in our races this weekend,” Hobgood said. “You just don’t think about the speed, you just keep your head down. Going as fast as I can on a bike if my relaxation. It’s kind of my zen.
“Guys race elbow-to-elbow through corners. You’re pretty much laying on the guy next to you. And I try to keep my crashes to once a year.”
Crosslin, who was in two professional races last season, said he wants to make a career of it.
“I crashed in my first race (in Alabama) last year and finished about 22nd in my next one,” said Crosslin, who plans to attend Wake Tech for business courses in the fall and continue to work at The Car Place. “The sport is so mental - you have to train your brain.
“People should come out and see what it’s all about. We’re a really big family. We race, then we hang out and have a good time.”