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Welcome to Drewster!
Drewster, a knickname given to Drew Sivetsen by his peers in his younger years that just "stuck", is all about recording a young boys dream of becoming a motorcycle road racing warrior.
Drew became interested in motorcycles of all types at an early age. The Discovery Channel with its debut of American Choppers was watched closely by the young lad weekly. Drew started collecting die cast and plastic models of choppers, baggers and sportbikes.
When Drew was 6, he was taken to Brainered International Raceway in Brainered,MN to the AMA Superbike races. Sitting in turn 1 and watching the bikes go by at speeds near 200mph, and the smell of race gas rich in the air, Drew was in love. Meeting and getting a photo op with Miguel Duhammel after the races made Drew feel like a king.
With his Uncle Shannon doing local trackdays at that time, Drew would watch intently every bike lean into the corners and would listen to the engines roll on in the exits.
Drew spent many days in the summer (and winters!) doing "laps" around our house on his PW 50 and later his TT90. We still cannot get grass to grow in one of his "corners".
Just a few months before Drew's 14th birthday, I purchased a new '09 Kawasaki Ninja 250r with plans of getting Drew some trackdays in the summer of 2011. With some hand-me-down leathers and boots from Uncle Shannon, the hemet from his years of kart racing locally and a new pair of Alpinestars gauntlet gloves we went in search of some track schools.
Living in South Dakota we don't have any road racing tracks, which meant we had to travel. I found a small school in MN, big bonus for us due to the fact my wifes sister lives in the Twin Cities. We load up the old enclosed go kart trailer with the bike and some gear and off we went. The school was on a small closed course at Dakota County Technical College(DCTC) with Steve Bauman, an ex AMA racer. Steve did an awesome job with all the students, who's ages spanned from 12 to 60+. Drew ended up putting on 75 miles on the track through the course of the day.....and walked away with the biggest smile you could put on his face.
We planned for another trip to Steve's course the following month. The track was wet in the early sessions from a late rain the night before, but the track dried out quickly. Drew's 3rd session out that day was the 1st time he touched a knee puck in the corner. I was shooting some photos in the same corner and when it happened, I think I was more excited than Drew was! After the school had ended, Steve came by the trailer and told my wife Robin and I that we need to get Drew as much track time as we can, he saw something "special" in Drew's riding and thought he could go far with it.
With school and activities taking alot of time, we couldn't get to the track again last year.
Over the winter months I kept an eye out for a wrecked N250 to prep for racing in 2012. After finding one in MN, I snuck it home and out to the shop and started ordering parts. It was decided by us that this would be Drew's Christmas present. Over Christmas break Drew and I worked on the bike, changing forks, shock, carb work, safety wire.....the list is endless.
In February of 2012, we made the decision to start the process of getting into racing. I had petitioned the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) to see if they would allow Drew to race. Many emails and phone calls later, it was decided to have Drew attend more trackdays with more instruction, and be re-evaluated later in the year.
Enter Jessica Zalusky and Zalusky Advanced Riding (ZARS). I got in touch with ZARS to get Drew into her trackdays, (Jessica was an up and coming AMA racer till medical problems ended her career) and because of his age of 14 at the time, alot of "hoops" had to be jumped through. He had to first ride at DCTC for the advanced riding school to be evaluated before being given the ok to run at BIR at a trackday. That was April 29th. The first trackday at BIR was on June 9th. Drew was in the novice group on the N250, and at a big disadvantage against the 600 and bigger bikes. They would leave him in the dust on the straights, but hold Drew up in the technical, tighter parts of the course. He was frustrated with other novice riders on bigger bikes braking way earlier than he had to. In the novice class there is no passing in the corners, and Drew did'nt have to power to pass. He took the trackschool I course, and learned body position and braking technics. At the end of the day, Drew was a bonafide track junkie.
July 2012....a 2 day ZARS event at BIR. I had talked with Jessica about getting Drew into Trackschool II, and it was decided that Drew would benefit more if he did the Rider Academy. The Rider Academy is a one day school that teaches trackday riders more about the racing side of the track if they are interested in racing. Drew would do RA on saturday of the event in the novice group, then, on sunday would do the Rider Challenge on sunday( rider challenge is a race series for the trackday riders. It is a 5 lap sprint). Also on sunday Drew would be bumped to intermediate(passing allowed in corners on the outside and also a faster group of riders), and also would attend the School of R.O.C.C. (rider objectives and confidence in cornering) This is where Drew meets two of the best instructors in the upper midwest, Gabe Blevins and Kris Skellenger. Gabe and Kris were able to take Drew's learning curve to the max and his riding advanced more and more every session.
The first rider challenge Drew was gridded up against 2 other lightweight bikes. The green flag drops and Drew dumps the clutch.....nice wheelstand for a 250! As the race progressed, Drew was in 2nd place. He was turning some impressive lap times....till the 4th lap. Drew went ito turn 3, braked a little earlier than other laps and was off his usual line a bit. To get back on his line, Drew leaned the bike over more, dragging his toe(was dragging a toe all weekend) but this time his footpeg drug a little too hard. Weight was transfered off the rear, getting it loose(loss of traction) causing the rear to step out, turning into a low side crash. Tore the bike up pretty bad, rendering it un-ridable for the rest of the day. However, because he had completed 50% of the sprint, he was still awarded 3rd place points for the race.
August was a long month off. We attended the CRA August race weekend, to meet and visit with other racers to get some ideas and advice. Was a good weekend with lots of good races. Drew was taken around by the Racer Liason, Cole Naymark via pitbike to get introduced to as many racers as possible.
September...FINALLY!! We are off to BIR again with a new bike in tow. It was time to move Drew up to a bigger bike so we purchased an '05 Suzuki SV 650. Race prepped and proven podium contender. Busy day with track time, School of R.O.C.C. and the 2nd rider challenge. ROCC was incredible with Drew having big advances in his technic. Rider challenge was big with lots of bikes on the grid. Drew had a bad launch, didn't want to launch the SV too hard for a reverse endo. First lap Drew got into 3rd, second lap Drew made a clean pass in turn 2 for 2nd place. By the fourth lap Drew was bearing down on the leader when the red flag came out for a rider that went down in turn 9. With 4 of the 5 laps completed, the race was called with Drew finishing 2nd.
Two weeks later finds us at Mid America Motorplex in Pacific Junction,IA for the ZARS finale. Drew is fighting headaches and a sore thumb and cold temps for late Sept. ROCC and rider challenge on the agenda for the day. ROCC includes a suspension Q&A with Jim Wiles. Rider challenge was at noon. Gridded up and ready for the green flag to drop, Drew has a great start and leads the way. Laps 1-3 and Drew is running strong, holding off 2nd place Alex Nelson. Lap 4 and Drew goes to short shift into 3rd gear for engine braking to help scrub speed going into turn 3.....tranny wont downshift.......too much speed and Drew runs high and off into the soybeans. He fights with the trans to get it into 1st gear, by the time he does the race is over. Luckily he still ends up being awarded 3rd place and finished the season in 3rd overall, missing 2nd in points by just one point.
Bikes put up for the season. Plans to get trans in SV fixed over the winter and refresh suspension. Waiting for April to show up with high hopes of being accepted into the CRA for the 2013 season! Will be attending the International Motorcycle show in January for a mid winter 2 wheel fix.