Rider Spotlight: Briar Bauman
NEWS March 29, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Where are you from?
BB: Salinas California. I’ve lived here my entire life. I was born here, started racing here, and have been doing it as far back as I can remember.
AMAP: How did you get into racing motorcycles?
BB: I was about eight years old and wanted a motorcycle. I got one for Christmas, and a few months later, the Ricky Graham memorial race came up. I raced the event and fell in love with flat track racing. Since then, it’s turned into what I want to do.
AMAP: Is flat track racing a family thing, or is it something that you got into?
BB: My dad never rode a motorcycle, nor was he into it in the beginning. I wanted a motorcycle for Christmas, and my brother wanted a go-kart. When I got my motorcycle, he then realized how much fun riding motorcycles was. He got one, and it turned into a family thing. We’re first generation motorcycle racers in the Bauman family. It’s hard for it to be a family deal now, because I’m pro, and my brother isn’t old enough to get into it yet. After 9 years of racing together, we’re starting to break up a little bit, but it’s still a family deal.
AMAP: How is it balancing school and professional motorcycle racing?
BB: You know, that was one of the dilemmas going into this season. I really wanted to focus on school, but wasn’t sure how I could do all the races and perform well in school. The way the schedule works though, it’s in my favor. When the season gets really going, I’ll be on summer break. I should be able to maintain good grades and go racing at the same time.
AMAP: Have you ever tried your hand at other forms of motorcycle racing (Motocross, Road Racing, etc.)?
BB: Yeah, I’ve done road racing, and like it a lot. I ride motocross on a regular basis for cross-training purposes. Anything I can do on a motorcycle, I will try it!
AMAP: Last season, you were in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles class… Tell us what it’s like riding in the Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Expert class.
BB: It was a lot different. After last year, I did pretty well in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles class. I felt I could do pretty well in the expert class, but I wasn’t expecting how well everyone rides. The competition is so tight, and I think it’s going to require a lot more work than I originally thought. I’m not taking anything away from the other riders, but I expect a lot out of myself, and going into it, it was really cool riding with these people that I’ve looked up to for such a long time and ride with on the same track. They want the same thing I do, so that’s really cool.
AMAP: Have you gotten the chance to throw your leg over a twins racebike yet?
BB: I have at Savannah, GA. I was getting my feet wet, but it’s a totally different animal. It’s something I’m really going to have to learn.
AMAP: The next AMA Pro Flat Track race is Springfield Mile and Springfield TT. Are you more of a short track, TT, half-mile or mile rider?
BB: I actually don’t have a particular style I like most. Whatever I get to ride, I’m happy with so I can make the most of it. I like TTs because I do well at them, and they’re different than riding in ovals.
AMAP: You rode the USC Kawasaki Racing KX-450F at Daytona Flat Track. What would you say is your favorite bike to ride?
BB: I haven’t had that much time on the Kawasaki, and I’ve ridden pretty much all Hondas before that. Last season’s CRF450R that I rode for Ronnie Brown was unbelievable. The little time I’ve had on the USC Kawasaki Racing KX-450F tells me that I’m going to have a lot of fun on them this year. I had a great time at Daytona Flat Track, and I know there are going to be some tracks I’ll excel at.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
BB: For me, it’s everything. Not only on the track, but off the track as well. We’re all friends. When you get on track, you can go from being best friends to complete enemies, and come back off the track and be buddies again. I like the close racing and bar-to-bar banging, and everything else.
AMAP: What are you expectations for the rest of the season after a great performance at Daytona.
BB: I ask a lot of myself, but I really want a top-ten overall finish in the class and the Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Award. I can’t tell what’s going to happen on the twins, but top-ten overall and Rookie of the Year.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
BB: Doug Chandler for sure. I always looked up to him… In the past couple years, I’ve gotten to meet him, and we’ve become really good friends. I’m actually hanging out with him right now. He’s a good buddy, good person to look up to, and he’s one of my best friends.