GOSHEN — Almost before his body stopped rolling against the concrete wall, Steven Duffy was worried about his bike.
Duffy, a 20-year-old Bristol resident, took a nasty fall during a heat race for the Elkhart County 4-H Fair motorcycle race on Saturday, July 26.
But it didn’t stop him from getting back on the bike later in the day and battling to a sixth-place finish in a field of 15.
“I came out of the fourth turn at 90 mph in a good battle with another rider,” Duffy said. “When we started to go into turn one, he came up into my lane and his back wheel hit my front and it just took me down in a hurry.”
Duffy tumbled several times before stopping up near the wall, — about 50 feet from where his bike stopped. Paramedics checked him out, but all he had was a sore wrist and an itch to get back to the pits to work on his bike.
“There was never a doubt that I was going to try and keep racing, as long as we could fix the bike,” Duffy said. “We had to put on a new set of handlebars and make sure the throttle was working, but we were able to get it done in time for the finals.”
Because of the crash, Duffy had to start in the back row in the field of 15, making it tough to reach the front of the field before the checkered flag fell in the 451-600 chain race.
Duffy has been racing since he was nine and claimed a state title in 2008, before turning pro for two years.
“I enjoyed racing at the professional level, but it’s tough and life got in the way somewhat, so I’m racing more for fun again,” Duffy said. “But racing at Goshen is great since it’s so close to home and I know a lot of people here.’’
For 56-year-old Jack Mayer of Midland, Mi., the trip to Goshen was familiar, but also very different.
Mayer has raced in Goshen since the 1980s, but Saturday’s trip was his first since getting an artificial hip in 2009. So how did Mayer and his new hip do? How about wins in the Senior 40-plus, the Senior 50-plus and the Vintage 401-Up.
"Heck, I’m ready to go get another new hip after today,” Mayer said later while holding a beer and picking-up his prize money. “After racing bikes for over 40 years, there was a real toll on my hip and I needed a new one. Now, that one feels so great, I’m ready to get the other one done too!”
Mayer spends as many weekends as he can racing throughout the midwest, but his trip to Goshen on Saturday was special.
“They always put on a great show here and the competition is good too,” Mayer said. “I was able to get those wins today because I have a fast bike, but the experience of all these years of racing is pretty important too. The flat track is tough for a lot of younger guys and you learn to take advantage of any little bobble they make.”
One of the fastest growing classes is the four-wheel quads, which has grown from two entries just a few years ago, to eight on Saturday.
Local riders Jody Timmons (four-stroke) and Josh Tinsley (two-stroke) claimed wins in the races.
"I think it’s a matter of more people realizing that there are quad races,” Timmons said. “Usually, you only see the quads on hill races, but when you can go 71-miles-per-hour on a flat track, it’s really a blast.”
Timmons led the entire way in the four-stroke race, but fellow Elkhart resident Carl Porter nearly caught him at the finish line.
"Ahh, I knew where he was,” Timmons said with a smile. “I took a look on the backstretch and saw what kind of lead I had, so I figured I could beat him if I made the last two turns okay, which I was able to do. But yes, I heard him coming.”
Timmons and also beaten Porter for the title in last year’s event.
Trytin Brown, just six-years-old of New Paris won two trophies, claiming the title in the 50 PW class and the 50 Shifter class. Meanwhile, Elkhart’s Jacob Walter won in the 251-450 and the 451-600 classes.
Meanwhile, Charlie Gerencer of Elkhart (Vintage 0-400), Braedon Helms of Elkhart (0-65 cc), Koleman Gerencer of Elkhart (0-85 cc), Matt Magee of Middlebury (86-125) and Dan Weicht of North Webster (Speedway) were also winners from The Elkhart Truth’s area.