Jody Greening first started riding a dirt bike when he was just nine years old. As a young kid growing up in Clarenville, Greening spent countless hours riding in the woods. Trynor’s Pit and Taveners Pit in Shoal Harbour were two of his favourite places to ride.
“The pits and abandoned railway made for excellent off-road riding in the Clarenville and Shoal Harbour areas,” says Greening.
He’s since taken bike riding to a whole new level.
For the last 10 years he has been living and working in Burlington, Ontario where bike racing is big.
When he first started racing in Ontario, he used 709 as his race number. He says a few people made the NL area code connection. However, recently he’s switched to just 79.
“Three wide numbers was getting harder and harder to place on shrinking bike number plates,” he says.
Recently he was crowned National Amateur Superbike Champion.
“I always loved bikes. I got a Fast riding school certificate for Christmas once and loved it,” says Greening.
The Fast Riding School holds three levels of courses. Phase one allows the rider to purchase a race license if they wish to pursue a career or hobby in the sport. That’s exactly what Greening hoped to do.
“I did a season of track days (not organized racing, just a group of riders going out on a track.”
The first year of track days was used to get into the sport of track riding, after that Greening says there is no better training then racing itself.
“Not much else can offer the challenges that you will experience in the sport of motorcycle racing,” he says.
He says the toughest part of racing is the mental preparation.
“It takes a great deal of focus and the ability to get into the correct head space to race bikes. It’s not the same for everyone, but it is without a doubt the toughest part of racing.
“Physicality is certainly part of the equation as well as once you tire physically during a race it is much harder to maintain the level of focus required.”
In 2008 he started racing the Suzuki SV Cup series. He continued that type of racing regionally and nationally until 2010.
That’s when he decided to get into 600cc racing and most recently 1000cc Superbike racing.
This past summer Greening took part in the amateur Superbike series where racers accumulate points over several race weekends.
The final races were held Aug. 21 at the Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario. That’s when Greening was crowned national amateur superbike champion.
Greening had two bikes on hand for the final series.
“It can take some time and investment to set a goal at the championship and make the right decisions that lead to that goal,” he says. “It’s not an easy thing to be consistent, be prepared and be ready for all the challenges that motorcycle racing with throw your way.
“I made a decision to have two bikes to make it easier. You can jump from one bike to the other which helps with tire management, mechanical wear and tear and the possibility of completely wrecking a bike.”
Having a second bike could mean the difference of being a competitor or a spectator, he noted.
One of the biggest challenges Greening faced in his bid for a national title was the physical training.
“I hate the gym. I have a fulltime sitting job and two young children. So mostly I got fit as I rode the bike and the year progressed.
Safety is a major factor in motorsports racing especially when racers can reach speeds upwards of 295 kilometres or more on a 1000cc superbike. For Greening he puts his trust in the race organizers.
“For me the biggest element of safety is that you have professional folks running the shows and everyone has the same goals – safe, fun, exciting racing that everyone strives to walk away from on Sunday evening.
“There are many folks involved in rider’s safety, the organizers, marshals, paramedics, but the biggest factor is the racers themselves,” he says. “In most experts eyes it is much safer than riding a motorcycle on the street, especially in larger urban areas.”
Greening says to date he’s only had a couple of minor crashes.
“The goal is to roll the bike into the trailer Sunday in the same condition it was when I arrived at the race track.”
His amateur national title means next season he will compete in the pro classes.
“I have no choice now. The winner and top three seasonal point holders in the amateur classes are automatically forced to race pro the following year,” he says.
“Racing takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I would really like to thank my family for the tremendous support during my racing effort, without their help this never could have happened."