Monday, March 9, 2015

Playing it smart...Michael Akaydin.

"We race because we love it, but it comes with hard work." This line from my interview with 450 class racer Michael Akaydin really sums up almost every privateer and something that Akaydin has known from a young age. 

Photo: Ronnie Ray

Just like most kids, throwing his leg over a PW50 was all it took for the Kentucky kid to set his eyes on the goal of one day racing pro. The program was easy for the Akaydin family. Get good grades and get to go racing. Wanting to go racing earned Michael an academic scholarship to the University of Louisville.

Now 27 years old, 10 years in to his professional career and traveling the country with his wife Maggie by his side, Michael is making a living doing what he loves and "so long as I'm doing well and helping pay the bills!" We can expect to see the 918 on the line. 

Injuries plagued the early years of his career but he started to find his groove in 2009. Michael has accomplished top 15 finishes in the 250 class, as well making the main gate at outdoor nationals in both the 250 and premier 450 classes. Admitting, "I need to work on SX mains!" He has consistently made the night shows in 2015, but is still looking for that first 450 class main event. "I have to really work hard on race day to change my personality to become an MMA fighter or The Hulk."

"I would consider myself a true privateer." Racers like Michael fund nearly 75 percent of their program out of pocket. Things like license and entry fees, fuel, hotels and speeding tickets are just a part of the expenses of racing. The help of his dad, wife, Michael Matthis, Phil Penn, Bryan McDonald and Sean Nichols is something in which Michael is grateful.

Sponsors are also a key part to the program and Michael is backed by Buddy Brooks Racing, Storm Lake Honda, FLY Racing, TiLube, Tom Zont Racing, Works Connection, Yoshimura, PRL, 139 Designs, Shoei Helmets, Spider Energy, Sunstar, Dragon Goggles, FCA MX, Engine Ice, One29, No Toil, MadCow, Occumedix, Oak Hill Marina and Team Gus. 

Photo: Team Gus

So what comes after racing? Michael has a few things in his back pocket, like a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. Not bad, but for now he feels blessed to be racing and sharing his love for the sport through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes MX Camps.

Follow Michael on Instagram @akaydin918

- Kyle Pesci 

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