MOTORCYCLE RACING: Grass Valley’s Anson Maloney earns gold at ISDE
Dirt bike racing has taken Anson Maloney all over the world.
From France to Japan to Portugal, his prowess in the sport has resulted in an abundance of opportunities and accolades.
His key to success along the way — have fun with it.
“A lot of it is keeping it fun,” said Maloney, a Grass Valley native who has been racing professionally since he was 16. “It can get grueling if you’re not having fun.”
Maloney, now 25, recently had some fun in Portimao, Portugal as he put his skills up against some of the best off-road racers in the world at the 2019 International Six Day Enduro race, in November.
“It was cool. Totally different,” said Maloney of the racing terrain. “We were in some rural areas, which I really liked. The terrain was a little deserty.”
The ISDE is the world’s largest annual off-road motorcycle competition. Since 1913, countries have sent their best off-road racers to different locations around the world to be tested on multiple landscapes.
“It’s difficult, it’s fun, it gets you that adrenaline rush,” said Maloney, who competed in the club division and earned a gold medal at this year’s event. “Just being over there and being able to represent your country is cool. Being a part of (Team USA) was really cool. And, getting to race my dirt bike in another country, I love it.”
The ISDE asks its racers to compete for 8-10 hours each day with just 15 minutes at the end of each ride for bike repairs. That goes on for six-straight days.
“The biggest thing is bike work,” he said. “You ride for 200 miles, then you have 15 minutes at the end of the day to work on the bike. At the end of the day, you’re changing tires, oil, air filters. I was going so fast that I was melting brakes, so I was having to change those at the end of the day.”
Maloney was both racer and mechanic in Portugal as the ISDE has strict rules stating only the rider is allowed to touch their bike for the entirety of the event.
“We had it down like it was a science,” said Maloney, who trained tirelessly both mentally and physically for the race. “I was on a pretty gnarly training schedule. Seven days a week for almost two months straight. I was riding 200 miles a day, 6 days a week. It was tough, but it was all worth it. I felt great when I was over there.”
For Maloney, it was his second ISDE. He also competed in the 2017 ISDE in Brive la Gaillarde, France and earned a silver medal.
“It’s been really cool to look back at where dirt bikes have taken me,” Maloney said. “From just getting on it because it’s fun, to now being able to travel the world and be part of Team USA.”
Maloney didn’t compete in the 2018 ISDE as he was racing in Japan and suffered a broken leg.
“The goal is not to get hurt, but it happens,” said Maloney, who is currently recovering from surgery to repair a broken collarbone.
Broken bones are just part of the gig for Maloney, who has suffered a myriad of injuries over the years. But, as long as he’s having fun, he’s going to keep competing.
“It’s difficult, it’s fun, it gets you that adrenaline rush,” said Maloney. “And, I really like the family aspect of it. Within racing, it’s a big family and it’s cool to be a part of it.”
The talented and charismatic Maloney also runs his own riding academy for up and comers, the Maloney Training Academy in Grass Valley.
“The sport has given me a ton,” he said. “I’m just trying to give back to it.”
Maloney expressed gratitude for his parents, girlfriend and his sponsors, for helping achieve what he has in racing.
He plans to race in the American Motorcycle Association’s District 36 racing series this year, as soon as he’s fully recovered from his collarbone injury. He won the District 36 Cross Country title in 2018.
Maloney said competing in the 2020 ISDE is something he’s considering, but it all depends on where his educational path takes him. He recently obtained a degree in fire technology from Sierra College and has applied to several paramedic schools.
“I’ve been riding since I was four. It’s what I know,” said Maloney. “It’s probably something I’ll do forever, whether it’s training, teaching or helping improve safety within the sport. I just want to be a part of racing. It’s got a hook in me.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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