Frenship graduate wins AMA’s Top Rookie motorcycle award
Clint Shobert isn’t even supposed to be out of school yet. He just turned 18.
The 2008 graduate worked to graduate a year early to pursue a dream he had since he was an eighth-grader: becoming a professional motorcycle road racer.
“Pretty much, in the racing sport, the earlier you can get to the professional rankings and pursue it, the better,” said Shobert. “The top riders usually are from 20 to 24 years old.”
That’s a short window of time for someone who has no other career ambitions at this time.
Shobert said he is focused on his riding career now, and will think about other possible careers when and if racing comes to an end.
Shobert entered four amateur races in the 2008 season and won three of them. At the end of the season in September, he was named the American Motorcyclist Association’s Road Race Top Rookie.
During a break in racing action, which will begin again with the first race of the season on March 2, Shobert had shoulder surgery and has been in rehabilitation. Shobert said the injury was not race-related, but rather from boxing with his younger brother. Rehabilitation has consisted of “just the normal, generic shoulder exercises,” he said.
The surgery was eight weeks ago, Shobert said, so he will soon be leaving Wolfforth for Modesto, Calif., where most of the motorcycle racing action, he said.
“The weather right now is always perfect. You can pretty much ride form the second the sun comes up until it goes down,” he said.
Shobert said road racing, also known as super bike racing, is all about speed and corner speed.
“You’re on a closed course,” he said. “You figure out the fastest possible way to get around the track.”
In motorcross racing, Shobert said racers can crash at any time and get back on the track. But when a road racer crashes, his race is pretty much over, he said.
“With road racing, you have to have more focus,” he said.
Economic woes have touched motorcycle racing, Shobert said.
“Last year, we rode for Honda. This year, they’re still giving us bikes and everything,” said Shobert, but said he and other racers will not get a contract or salary due to the economic recession. “They backed out of everything.”
Money for racing will come out of what Shobert called contingencies, which he said will work out, making it more difficult to make a living. Riders will be paid only if they win, he said.
“If you get first place, you’ll get $2,000 from Honda,” he said, and $2,000 from each other sponsor.
His father, Bubba Shobert, made a living from motorcycle racing, he said, and retired at age 29.
“He made a living doing it, so it’s kind of my goal,” said Shobert. His father is now both a coach and a role model to him.
“Pretty much any time I go to a race, he’s right there,” said Shobert.
While in high school, Shobert said he took part in football and baseball during his freshman and sophomore years, and in track during his final year.
“It was the most fun thing I’ve ever done. It was probably the best thing about high school. It almost convinced me to come back and do track one more year,” he said.
His favorite high school teacher, Tracey Griffith, also taught his favorite class, marketing.
“She taught us a bunch of marketing skills, how to present yourself,” he said.
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