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Motorcycle Hall of Famer's son eager for the challenge of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

June 19, 2017 Updated: June 19, 2017 at 6:35 pm
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photo - Brandon Ward poses for a portrait at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb tech inspection Monday, June 19, 2017, in the Broadmoor World Arena parking lot. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette
Brandon Ward poses for a portrait at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb tech inspection Monday, June 19, 2017, in the Broadmoor World Arena parking lot. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette 

A lifetime of motorcycle racing has Brandon Ward feeling well prepared for The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this Sunday.

It's also no surprise that the 25-year-old Army specialist is confident. The Newport Beach, Calif. native, currently stationed at Fort Carson, is the son of Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Ward.

The 55-year-old won the AMA Motocross Championship five times, the AMA Supercross Championship twice and the Motocross des Nations seven times.

He later turned to auto racing, finishing third at the 1997 Indianapolis 500 and second in 1999. The 1999 Motorcycle Hall of Fame and 2006 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee now competes in rallycross racing and will miss his son's race to compete.

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FILE - Driver Jeff Ward talks to his son while signing autographs at Pikes Peak International Raceway following the qualifying races. (Gazette file photo) 

"He won quite a few championships and was into supermoto, which is what got me into racing," Brandon Ward said while awaiting his turn at Monday's technical inspection at The Broadmoor World Arena. "I have been riding since I was very young and I am not too old but I have quite a few years under my belt."

He is one of the many motorcyclists anxious to test the asphalt highway in practice this week leading up to Sunday's 95th running of the world-renowned race. It is his first entry in the race after moving to the area less than two years ago.

"Just coming from motocross, asphalt hasn't been my strong suit but I always excelled in the dirt in supermoto," he said. "(Asphalt racing) is something I would like to learn and get better at. I thought this would help me."

The siren's song of Pikes Peak also drew Ward, who will compete in the lightweight motorcycle class. He wants to test himself against the clock and a 12.42-mile race course that rises 4,715 feet in elevation.

"I have always done things that I fear a little bit," he said. "I like chasing that feeling. You know, it's exciting and it's different. I cannot imagine how other guys do it on faster bikes. Definitely have to give them credit for doing what they're doing."

The international flavor of the event, which draws attention from media worldwide, is part of the allure as well.

"Being able to race against people from around the world is something you don't get to do too often," he said. 

A little bit of luck also played a role in Ward's PPIHC debut. He is in between deployments.

"I haven't done anything like this before so it being in my backyard here, I thought I'd give it a shot," he said. "I'll be back (from deployment) right before next year's (hill climb). If it goes good, next year maybe I'll give it a shot again."

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