WINDSOR: West Bay Road native Avery Hart started the Atlantic Road Racing League in fine fashion as he took first place in the season opener at the Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie. As a result of the May 19 race, Hart leads standings with four rounds to go.
“I had a wicked first race,” he told The Reporter last week.
“I didn’t get many good hot laps on in the qualifying. There was a lot of traffic that kept slowing me down, but I took fourth [in time trials]. I always get good starts, and I wait to see how the race proceeds. Halfway into the race, I really turn it up.”
After taking fourth in time trials, he started Saturday’s Race #1 in the second row but some quick speed off the line put him out front and in a pitched battle with Scott Alexander and Keegan Gaudet.
Hart countered a number of challenges and, in an exciting race, rode aggressively to take first place in the season opener for the Light Weight Super Sport Division (LWSS).
Hart also took to the track on Sunday, May 20.
Heavy rain and wet track conditions slowed the pace and left many riders struggling to keep their bikes in the upright position. Hart finished behind Alexander and veteran Mark Goodwin.
Hart’s good start isn’t a big surprise for anyone acquainted with the Atlantic Road Racing League. In 2017, a late-season comeback left Hart in second place in the standings, a mere five points behind the season winner, Scott Alexander.
This season ought to be a competitive one, and Hart has the hardware to cause some trouble for Alexander and the other riders. He’s riding a 2010 Kawasaki 250 R.
“It’s a little Ninja, twin-cylinder motorcycle with 31 horsepower and weighs 320 lbs,” he said. “That’s a little heavier than the other bikes in my class, but it’s equal power. I can hit around 170 kilometer per hour on the back stretch.
“We’re cooking at a pretty good rate.”
When asked how it feels to be driving that fast, Hart said it’s the sort of thing you can only fully appreciate once the race is over. Responding to all the nuances of racing keeps him occupied in the heat of the moment.
“All you can think of is what the guy in front of you is doing and what the guy behind you is doing,” he said. “You’re concentrating on the corners, where you can put the move on the guy in front of you, and defend your lines from the guy behind you.”
Often times, the difference between first place and third is a fraction of a second, so there’s very little room for error.
Hart is currently living in Windsor, working at Freedom Cycle in Halifax, and encouraging anyone interested in racing to head to Shubenacadie to see the bikes make their way around the track. He’s hoping to have a good year and, just maybe, finish the season the way he started it: in first place.
“I’m looking to be competitive and I’m looking to win, and we’ll see how it goes,” he said, adding that the other riders in his division have the same mindset.
While it is always good to take first place, Hart said that there’s a huge amount of comradery between he and his fellow riders, so finishing first isn’t the only top priority.
“When you get off the track, everybody’s giving each other high fives and hugs,” he said. “We’re all after the same thing: a thrill.”