ATHLETE FEATURE: Milan Jablan

ATHLETE FEATURE: Milan Jablan

© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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Age 12 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Milan Jablan lives deep in the heart of Central Canada, but for the past year, he’s been a regular on the race tracks of Nevada and California. His father, Goran, a former motorcycle road racer, did a little math and figured out that the sunny climate of the U.S. Southwest was just as close as a lot of the Canadian tracks. And if you’re going to be driving that far, he figured, you may as well go someplace where the weather’s more likely to be nice and the track surface in better shape. So in 2011, Milan Jablan got his first taste of WERA West racing, and liked it so much that he and his family have done nearly the entire 2012 season. Milan, Goran and crew have been loading up a Honda RS125 and a Honda RS85 and driving 2,000 miles – each way – to chase their championship dreams. It’s a long way, geographically and metaphorically, from Jablan’s first taste of two-wheelers. Like many kids, he started out on a Yamaha PW50, provided by dad, who is a former racer. A year later, at four years of age, he started racing in the dirt, notching a pee-wee title. Four years after that, Jablan traded in knobbies for street tires and went road racing. “I think I was eight, on a KTM Junior. It was in Calgary, or maybe Saskatoon, it was on a mini track, that’s for sure,” Jablan says. “I finished the first race in first, and then in the second race, my bike broke down, so I had to ride an NSR50 which I didn’t know how to ride, so I finished fourth.” In 2010, Jablan competed in the Honda CBR125R Challenge series in Canada, completing the season in 7th place overall with a pair of podium finishes. In 2011, Jablan competed on his RS85 and a Honda NSR50 in Canadian racing, taking the Championship in the Spec Supersport class on the NSR and the title in the Formula GP on the RS. When it came time to step up to the bigger bikes, Goran said WERA’s class structure, efficiency and schedule made the trip to the States worthwhile. “Here in Canada … once they move to faster bikes and bigger tracks, he’d be racing at the same time as 600s,” Goran Jablan says. “And some of those races are the same distance from us as Vegas and California are. The chances for good weather are good, and he gets to ride with other kids of the same age on similar bikes. The biggest thing is that Milan gets to ride with kids his own age. It’s better for his riding, it’s better for his safety, it is the way it should be.” Milan Jablan says he likes the U.S. tracks better as well. “When I was racing the CBR125s, I didn’t like the tracks that much. They weren’t as well maintained, and they weren’t that technical. I like Auto Club Speedway, the infield is very different from other tracks,” he says. And he says that as he gets on better bikes, his riding is improving – and he’s still enjoying his racing. “I’ve noticed that I’ve improved my corner speed a lot once I started riding the 125,” Jablan says. “Racing? I like all of it. There’s not really anything I don’t like.”

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