While most other six-year-old boys are worrying about missing their favourite cartoon, Brantford’s Preston Masciangelo is worrying about falling behind his competition on the arenacross circuit.
“I love winning,” Preston said. “It makes me feel great.”
Comfortable on a motorcycle since he was three years old, Masciangelo used his competitive nature to qualify for the American Motorcylclist Association’s Amateur National Arenacross Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“He is super competitive,” Preston’s father Justin Masciangelo said. “Ever since we got him racing, he does not like to lose. Because of that, he makes a hell of an effort to not be in the position to lose.”
Whenever trailing in a race, Preston said he always tries to “speed up and catch all the guys before the end.”
Justin, a racer himself, bought Preston his first miniature dirt bike for his third birthday. After six months on training wheels, Preston was racing at Chesterman’s MX indoor course outside of Tillsonburg as a three-year-old.
“He didn’t win or anything, but finishing in the middle of the pack as a three-year-old was enough for us to stick with it,” Justin said.
Preston continued to ride on his 50cc KTM 50 SX bike and would occasionally have strong showings in races at Chesterman’s or on the Canadian Motosport Racing Club circuit.
“Then something clicked last year,” Justin said. “By the middle of the (2012) season he had doubled his speed and qualified for the amateur nationals in Canada.”
Preston continued to get better and collect more trophies – winning the circuit at Chesterman’s in the seven to eight-year-old division, even though he doesn’t turn seven until Friday.
“In the latter part of last year he won nearly everything he entered,” Justin said. “We just kept moving him to higher clubs, better races and better venues and he just kept winning.”
To keep Preston racing against strong competition, the Masciangelos travel to the U.S. a couple of times a year to go up against regional racers on the AMA tour.
Preston didn’t have a very strong showing at a regional qualifier in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this past January, but it was good enough to qualify him for the national championships.
“It was a bit of a surprise when they called, but he did enough to qualify,” Justin said. “We weren’t planning this trip, but we aren’t going to let this chance slip away.”
Because of the unexpected nature of the trip to Las Vegas, the Masciangelos would welcome any local businesses that sought a sponsorship opportunity.
“We have bike spots for advertising, trailer spots, jersey spots, website spots and you get on the announcements at the arenacross,” Justin said. “It doesn’t have to be huge – anything helps. This is a $2,500 to $3,000 trip that wasn’t in the budget.”
Justin said several professional supercross racers at the top level in the U.S. got their start the same way Preston has in southwestern Ontario.
“It’s a diamond in the rough type of sport,” Justin said. “A lot of kids don’t make it successfully past the 50cc bikes. We are trying to avoid the mistakes we’ve seen others make.
“But keeping him at the competitions that are going to push him competitively is important.”
The AMA amateur nationals in Las Vegas take place May 5. Preston will be racing against competition up to two years his senior in the seven to eight-year-old 50cc division.
His parents, Justin and Stacey, have high hopes for Preston at the event. But, more than anything, they just want him to have fun.
That should be no problem for Preston.
“I’m really excited for the bigger track,” Preston said. “Jumps are my favourite. When I’ve never done a jump before and I clear it, it feels so nice.”