Two-times Australian champion Hugo Holmes is the toast of the Gunnedah Motorcycle Club after outstanding performances in the American Motorcyclist Association flat track grand championships in the US.
The son of Dale and Chloe Holmes, the 10-year-old took it all in his stride as he picked up the No 1 plate in the AMA Flat Track Grand Nationals Championship.
Selected by Team AUS in his 65cc class, Hugo had to get used to riding without a front brake – something that isn’t done here in Australia.
After flying into Los Angeles and then on to Indianapolis, and Owensboro, Kentucky, the team made base to practise riding, mainly on the short track.
“Hugo was very fortunate to have been able to train and ride with Estenson Racing team members, Tom Drane, Dallas Daniels and JD Beach, who compete professionally in the American Flat Track series,” Dale Holmes said.
“During this time Hugo also raced in the Nicky Hayden Memorial short track in Philpot, Kentucky, for some extra practice, where he won the 65cc class.”
After leaving Kentucky, they travelled to Du Quoin, Illinois, to compete in the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championships, which ran over seven days, with four rounds conducted on a TT, short track and half-mile.
Hugo competed in the 65cc Production Class and the 65cc Modified Class riding a KTM 65.
“The Production Class is a standard bike, where riders in the Modified Class are allowed to have certain performance work done to the bikes,” Dale said.
“Hugo’s bike was standard which allowed him to ride in both classes.”
The first race of the championship was the TT track where Hugo competed for the first time on such a track, which has two jumps within, being different from the flat tracks raced in Australia.
“This was also the only time competitors could race with a front brake on the bike, but it had to be removed for the remainder of the competition,” Dale said.
“In the finals on the TT track, Hugo won the 65cc Production Class and placed third in the Modified Class.”
The second event was the indoor short track, where Hugo again qualified on the front grid for the final.
In the 65cc Production Class, the gutsy youngster led the race from start to finish claiming another win, backing up with third place in the Modified Class after qualifying on the front grid in the final.
The following day Hugo competed on the half-mile track where he again secured a front row grid position for the 65cc Production final, placing second.
In the Modified Class, he qualified on the second row for the final where he fought back securing another third place.
The last event was another indoor short track, where Hugo came second in the final of the 65cc Production Class, giving him an overall lead of 22 points and the AMA Flat Track Grand Nationals Championship title – the coveted Number 1 plate.
In the 65cc Modified Class, Hugo came second which secured him third place overall for the championships.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do this trip without the amazing support of the Gunnedah and broader community,” Dale Holmes said.
“This was shown during the raffle of a Yamaha PeeWee 50 and Milwaukee Packout gear we ran prior to leaving, as well as the amazing Gunnedah Motorcycle Club members who supported us greatly during their annual golf day – thank you to the local businesses and families who sponsored the event. We would like to thank the John Longmuir Foundation and everyone for the support to make the trip possible.”
Hugo was only five years old when he first climbed on a motorbike and his love for the sport shone through as he climbed higher and higher on the championship ladder, with Australian titles the highest event for junior competitors.