Monday, February 22, 2016

On the Bubble...Todd Bannister.

Heater. It's a word we use in the sport to describe a fast lap. Throwing down a heater in timed qualifying is your chance at a good gate pick in the heat races or even just making the show.

As riders from around the world battle for a lap time that puts them in the top 40, there are riders who know they are on the bubble. Qualifying sessions are normally split in to A,B and C groups. The A group is reserved mostly for factory supported riders. The B and C groups are where you'll find the majority of your privateers. The crowded track of riders with the same goal in mind makes it hard to get a clear track and throw down that heater. You end up with privateers waiting on their times to see if it's race the night show or better luck next week. 

A rider who has seen both sides of that bubble this season is Colorado's Todd Bannister. The number 120 has made 3 of the 6 night shows he's attempted. Bannister unfortunately sat out the San Diego 2 round with bike issues. Qualifying times have seeded him from 37th-46th so far this season.

Photo: Jenny Ludowese of J L Photography
 The 22 year old is taking it all in though and getting more and more comfortable on the bike. As the series heads to the east coast, he looks forward to being on the good side of that bubble more often. East coast means a stop at his favorite round in St. Louis, where he made his first ever night show. When your feeling good, good things happen. 

Bannister's more impressive results have come from outdoor nationals, where he is a top 20 threat, but he admits "SX has grown on me so much, I think right now it has to be my favorite." He's been working hard to better himself in rhythm sections and knows that with a little fine tuning he will move up to being a main event threat.  He's confined in Steve Thompson at Fast Lap Fitness to help get his training on point.

In true privateer fashion, Todd pits out of his van. Prepping his own goggles and filling his own gas. He will however gain a copilot in Cody Church as they both contest the east rounds. "We all want to be under a semi but regardless, we show up to the races doing what we can to compete."

While he's on the road chasing a dream, Todd remains grateful for a family who has supported him. "I just love everything about racing." Bannister also has a great list of sponsors behind him: Advance Concrete, VMX, Fox Racing, Spy Optic, Fast Lap Fitness, Novik Gloves, BG Oils, Seat Concepts, FAF Printing, Scidmore Farms, Pirelli Tires, Rekluse Clutches, Flo Motosports, Lucky Devil Tatoo, Ninja Tech and Yoshimura.

Emotional. It's a side of the sport that Bannister says the fans should see. From the week in and week out grind of getting to the races and making sure your program is on track, all the way down to that moment of wondering what side of the bubble your on after qualifying. There is a lot on the mind of all racers, maybe a little more on guys like Todd Bannister. When your in the pits say hi to a privateer and give them some words of encouragement. These are the guys who really love what they are doing.

Follow Todd Bannister on Instagram @TB120

#cheerprivateer

-Kyle Pesci

5 comments:

  1. One of the coolest cats in town!!! Love this guy... Represent, vmx in the house!!!

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  2. I always look for Todd and bubby I love racing I did it for 6 years till I got heart I love watching the privateers we have your back Todd always

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  3. One of the true good guys in the sport. Always helping out the kids at the local C. Springs track. Just a good dude.

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  4. One of the true good guys in the sport. Always helping out the kids at the local C. Springs track. Just a good dude.

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  5. TODDY B!!! We love ya bro, good luck!

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