Friday, April 15, 2016

Prospect...Gannon Audette.

A dream of being a factory rider starts at a young age in the sport of motocross. A sport in which talent is looked upon early and results may set you up for a professional career.

Families travel the country, fathers turn mechanic and moms turn school teachers. Winning local races leads to chasing amateur nationals and taking the road to Loretta Lynn's, the biggest amateur race of them all. Families move themselves to areas that allow longer riding seasons and kids take to training facilities to fine tune their skills in hopes of gaining the attention of somebody...anybody. That person or company that may give them the opportunity to prove themselves under a factory rig at the sports highest level.

Just a boy from Minnesota, Gannon Audette began chasing his dreams at a young age. His first trip to Loretta Lynn's was in 2000 where he'd compete in the 51cc 4-6 class. Over his amateur career Gannon would make 10 trips to The Ranch in 18 classes. His most memorable performances coming in his final two trips. In 2009 he'd win the 450B Modified class and back it up with a win in the premier class of amateur racing in 2010 when he'd win all 3 motos of 450A Pro Sport.

Photo: Spencer Owens
Moving in to his professional career Gannon would change his entire program and join the DNA Shred Sticks Yamaha team where he'd show flashes of speed on his number 533. "For me it was a pretty big change." Then a short run on a JAB Motorsports ride. His career would then be sidelined with a run of injuries. Through mutual friends he'd eventually find himself on a Kawasaki with support from Legends and Heroes. A group that celebrates the sports past. With their support Gannon has put on a privateer effort that has earned him a top 100 national number. 

Injuries continued to haunt his dreams but a never give up attitude is something the now 23 year old prides himself on. In November of 2015 while preparing for the upcoming supercross season a crash would leave Gannon in a hospital bed with a laundry list of injuries that included a lacerated liver and bruised lung. His Instagram read "I will be back." 

The number 61 was ready to go as the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross 250 East Championship started in Atlanta. He'd take the last heat race transfer to the main and has since qualified for every main event of the season. As his results improved every week that feeling of proving yourself had to be turning to a feeling of belonging. Gannon found himself inside the top ten at both Toronto and Detroit. 

Detroit...It became a race that would change a team. The unfortunate truth of this sport is one mans misfortunes can open the doors for another riders career. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Arnaud Tonus would hit the dirt and reports soon listed him as out for the season. Gannon Audette would ride to a career best 6th place in the main event. 

A break opens the door. The series would pause for families to be together during Easter and resume for one round of west coast action. Tonus' injuries would indeed take him out of action for the remainder of the season and open a spot under the factory supported rig. Audette would get the call to secure the spot left vacant. 

Pressure comes with a factory ride. If your racing out of a rig, your expected to perform at all costs or be criticized heavily come Monday morning. Audette would seize the moment by not only qualifying well but transferring directly to the main from his heat. When the gate dropped for the main event it'd be the 61 machine out front. Gannon pulled the holeshot and lead early. Fighting for position and gaining experience of running up front his composure and style took over. At the checkers he'd finish with a career best 3rd place. A podium finish for a guy just a week ago was pushing his own bike back to his trailer. 

Gannon is a guy who really enjoys riding his motorcycle. Very humble and a close group that surrounds him. Training time is spent with Justin Barcia and at GPF (Georgia Practice Facility). He is grateful for his season with help from Kissimmee Motorsports, Legends and Heroes, Bel-Ray, Fly, Rekluse, Asterisk, Scott, Pro Circuit, TLR and Dunlop. Now looking to make the most of his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki ride with the help of their team sponsors. 

Now living in Tallahassee, Florida Gannon is just trying to have fun. "I'm just going to enjoy racing at a professional level while I can." A guy who is fast through the whoops and says it's his starts along with first few laps that need work. If he keeps getting starts like he did in Indy I think he will become a weekly podium threat. 

Photo: Jenny Ludowese
It all began as a prospect for Gannon Audette. A factory supported amateur and being in the eyes of the teams at the next level. "I feel you're on that team for a reason and people notice that." It took a long and painful road but when you get that call all the hard work seems to pay off. 

We #cheerprivateer for moments like these. 
Congrats Gannon. Keep up the good work.

-Kyle Pesci

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