appeal to most, but it is a way of life for 18-year-old Ryan Phillips.
The recent Rockdale High School graduate has been racing quads, better known as fourwheelers in these parts, for the last two years.
His parents, mom Debbie and step dad Glen Morton, took Ryan to the indoor races and he was quickly drawn to the excitement of it all.
“Racing has always been a big part of my life. I have always loved to ride four-wheelers,” Phillips said. “During 2008 my step dad did research and found a race series. I joined the series and have done extremely well in racing.”
That series was the Texhoma Quad Racing Association (TQRA). The multi-state series was founded in 1993 and has become one of the largest ATV racing series in the Midwest.
There are 23 classes of racing in TQRA, including races for youth, moms, dads, peewee, over 40, expert, pro-am and pro.
one. Arrivals begin on
Friday night and practice
rounds are an all-day thing on Saturday. The racing begins on Sundays with two heats.
Awards are given in each race class to the top three qualifiers. The end of the season championship race and participation in the nationals are also some of the highlights of a quad racing season.
Yamaha Pro factory rider Thomas Brown started out in TQRA and continues to come race with the group and share his Pro strategies.
The Moore brothers (Caleb and Colten) also started their career with the TQRA and participated in this years X Winter Games series in the freestyle snowmobiling event.
“I am going to pursue my career in quad racing. My goal is to become nationally pro and to be a factory Yamaha rider,” Phillips said. “I have many sponsors that are great and are helping me achieve those goals.”
Quad racing, like most motorized racing events, are much more than just driving around a track to see who is the fastest. It takes perseverance and life skills.
“Strategy is very big in quad racing,” Phillips said. “It also takes a lot of money (thank goodness for sponsors), a lot of time, fitness training and dedication.” He also said that the work ethic and having to work with many other people that racing has taught him are irreplaceable life skills.
If you get a chance to check out a quad race in the TQRA series you’ll easily be able to pick out Phillips’ four-wheeler. His bike number is “512,” the teenager’s area code. Phillips is the only area quad racer so it was an easy pick for his number.
“There is no one else around this area that competes at my skill level,” he said. “There are only a few quad racers in Texas. I am one of the few.”
The series stretches yearround and Phillips raced in Sherman over the weekend at the North Forty Cycle Park. He finished second in his class and is sitting third overall in the B class. That adds to the many trophies and plaques he has already earned this racing season.
“I have been having many bike problems which has been causing me to lose my first place podium,” Phillips said. “As of this year I have made podium all year. That win will be coming soon.”
He will head to Cooperland in Stillwater, Okla. on July 17-18 for the next TQRA series race.
Since Phillips does his own training he wasn’t involved in extra-curricular activities while at RHS. He does however, hopes to earn certificates in nursing, fire fighting, personal training and motor building in his future education.
Phillips has been working with some companies in designing of parts and giving feed back of how they help or hinder in races.
Love of the race
It is obvious that Phillips loves the sport he has dedicated so much time to, but it is such a dangerous venture. Just this weekend, Phillips had an axle break and a tire rim bent, and that was just during a practice run. The race weekend before that the bike he was riding got a bent frame.
Phillips main racing bike is in pretty bad shape too. It is currently in Cleburne getting a new motor put in it. Quad racing is a rough and dirty sport.
That isn’t what drives Phillips in what he hopes to be his life career.
“I love the rush it gives you,” he said. “Racing is all about your support and you. You have to work together to be something.”
His mom Debbie is part of that support Ryan gets. She sees the racing from a different aspect.
After serving as an EMT on ambulances for almost 20 years she’s seen some pretty bad things. Because of that, the thought of Ryan getting hurt does not bother her so much.
“Life is dangerous. I have to have peace with that,” she said. “If anything was to happen I know he was doing something that he loves to do. It is in his blood.”
Getting the training time he really needs is tough for Phillips. He does get a day of practice runs prior to race day, but not much in between.
The closest track that allows quads to practice is in Fort Worth, and that is only on Tuesday nights, Phillips’ mom said. He makes the trip when he can.
Phillips homes to move up to racing nationally next year and drive in either A class or Pro- Am next year.
“Racing will soon be my career, that is what I am shooting for.”
RYAN PHILLIPS FILE
Age—18 Dimensions—5-foot-6, 140 pounds
High School—2010 graduate of
Rockdale High School
Racing affiliation—Texhoma Quad
Division—Open B class
Current standings—Sitting third
overall in the TQRA’s B class.
Parents—Debbie and Glen Morton,
Grandparents—Susie and L.W.
Plans for the future—Hopes are
to earn certificates in fire fighting,
personal training, motor building