Alex in Action – Excitement of speedway racing draws teen |

Alex in Action – Excitement of speedway racing draws teen

Alex Marcucci’s grip on the handlebars tightened.

He glanced over at his competition, first to his right, then to his left.

Marcucci, who had driven off with the 2003 United States Youth National Speedway motorcycle racing championship the year before, was just seconds away from the start of his first race against the big boys in the adult division that June night in Auburn.

“I was real nervous,” the Nevada Union junior said.

Butterflies fluttered, but gave way as battle-hardened instinct took over.

Marcucci, a top speedway racer for the better part of his eight years in the sport, opened the next chapter in his racing career with a the checkered flag in that four-person, four-lap heat race.

He topped that later in the night when he cruised to the first of his five main event wins over the span of the next eight races.

“Because of my dad, I’ve been going to the track since I’ve been really young,” said Marcucci, whose father Rich raced speedway for 18 years before retiring form the sport a year and half ago. “(I’ve just always) been interested in it.”

“I’d describe my style as pretty aggressive,” he added. “That means I try to find any line I can to pass someone, no matter if its on the inside or outside.”

Speedway racing, which blazed its way onto the scene in the early part of last century, pits four riders on souped-up, brakeless bikes against each other on a short dirt track.

A widely popular sport in Europe and Australia, speedway cycling has just about everything motor sports junkies crave:

u Action.

u Action.

u And more action.

“The great thing about this sport (for fans) is the speed,” Rich Marcucci said. (Not just from the motorcycles themselves), but the speed in which the races take place.

“A race only takes about a minute and a half to two minutes. And as soon as one race is over another is starting,” he added. “That’s a lot of action.”

Alex Marcucci couldn’t quite put into words why he enjoys the sensation of taking a 75-80 horsepower, 500cc hunk of screaming metal, leather and rubber from 0-60 mph in three seconds, but why should he?

He’s just trying to have a little bit of fun.

“I don’t really think about (why I love the sport) so much,” said Alex Marcucci, who hopes to race professionally in Europe after high school graduation. “I guess it’s just the feeling I get (when I’m on the bike).”

Still, its a motor sport that is potentially dangerous. That fact doesn’t escape Rich Marcucci.

“I’m definitely more nervous watching him out there than I ever was with myself,” he said. “But in speedway, most of the riders are there consistently and that way you get to know your competition, so the guys are pretty trusting of each other.

“Plus the bikes are very fragile, so the rules say you are not to have any contact.”

Alex Marcucci admits while unintentional bumping takes place from time to time, he feels safe when on the track.

“The danger in speedway’s not bad for a motorcycle sport,” he said. ” Like in motocross, there’s a lot of jumping. That’s a much bigger risk than in speedway.”

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