ATHLETE FEATURE: Hayden Giarratano

ATHLETE FEATURE: Hayden Giarratano

© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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Age 8, Katy, Texas It’s easy to say that it seemed inevitable that a particular person would eventually try motorcycle road racing. But for Hayden Giarratano, 8, of Katy, Texas, it seemed really inevitable. Giarratano has grown up watching his big sister Tarah and his big brother Shaine and his father Scott ripping around the racetrack. A close family friend road races and has, as Giarratano says, “about six billion trophies.” He goes to the track with the family when they race. I mean, talk about inevitable… So in September, when Giarratano turned eight, he became eligible to race with the Texas Mini Grand Prix association. The family had a little 70cc Chinese “piece of junk” dirt bike that was wired up, tired up and ready to race, says his dad, Scott. Giarratano’s recollection of his first race at the kart track in Katy? “My motorcycle was acting stupid!” he says. By “stupid,” Giarratano meant that when the flag dropped, the bike died. He struggled with it and finally got it started after the rest of the field had completed half a lap. He got going and finished fourth. Since then, Giarratano has raced four more times. His worst finish is second. His best is first–twice. Racing is obviously a family affair for the Giarratano clan. Shaine and Tarah have competed with Texas Mini Grand Prix and with CMRA, and dad throws a leg over the bikes now and again. They’re not doing it with factory-level funding–the bikes are Chinese knockoffs of Japanese dirt bikes, although Scott Giarratano says that at least he is getting better quality Chinese knockoffs nowadays! With three kids, the family didn’t want to invest lots of money unless the little ones showed a real desire to race. So they’ve started modestly, and are moving up. Hayden Giarratano is racing a Piranha 90 ZTX with a 108cc piston kit. His dad says it works quite well in mini road races, and that all three kids are racing Piranhas. Giarratano says he’s looking forward to racing the Piranha in 2013 again–“I’ll be racing the same bike until I break it,” he says. Occasionally, he gets to battle his brother and sister on the track at the same time. Who wins? “Me,” he says. “Except that first race. But that didn’t count!” Most importantly, hanging out at the track with his family and having all of them suiting up and racing is something he enjoys. “It’s all fun,” he says.

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