CJ LaRoche has proven to be a quick learner.
LaRoche, a Bellaire resident and native, was honored Saturday night for his prowess on the motorcycle track at Moto Series' season-ending banquet at The Oaks Lakeside in Chippewa Lake, near Akron.
''I'm the 2013 600 Superbike Novice champion and the 2013 750 GT champion,'' LaRoche, 27, explained.
Photo Courtesy/Marty Matuszak / Photos by Marty LLC
BELLAIRE native C.J. LaRoche (#3) races in the 600 Superbike class at Round 6 in September at the Nelson Ledges Road Course. Also pictured are Soren Nordstrom (#7) and Ryan Neu (#53). LaRoche went on to win the race.
Not bad for a guy who's only been competing in the sport for a little more than a year.
''I'm very honored to win both championships and I'm really excited to move to the expert class for the 2014 season.''
LaRoche's racing career stretches back to 2007 after he and his friends went to Mid-Ohio to watch AMA Pro Road Racing.
''I actually started riding sportbikes in 2007 on the street and participated in a few track days,'' said LaRoche, who rides a 2007 Suzuki GSXR 600.
''In the spring of 2008, I hit a deer while riding my sportbike on Ohio 9 outside of St. Clairsville.''
He stopped riding until 2012.
''Then, in the fall of 2012, I began doing track days and began racing with Moto Series at the end of the 2012 season.''
Moto Series is a family-oriented, motorcycle rider education and championship road racing club. It offers organized track days for street riders, track riders and road racers.
''They encourage anyone from spectators to street riders to come out and share the experience, on or off the track,'' LaRoche said.
He added it's a great organization to work with.
''The staff and riders of Moto Series are a great group of people that make every experience at the racetrack fun and safe,'' he said.
That's good news for his friends and family.
''My family is much happier that I'm riding my motorcycle in a controlled environment where I'm far from oncoming traffic,wildlife and other road hazards,'' said LaRoche, who graduated from California (Pa.) in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business.
''My fiancee, Stacy, has been instrumental in my success this season. Racing is a team effort and without her support and that of my friends and family, none of this would have been possible.
''I'm very fortunate to have these people in my life.''
While LaRoche has stayed away from injuries at the track, there have been some close calls.
''I'm very proud to say I only had one crash this season, which came at Putnam Park (Mount Meridian, Ind.) in the rain,'' he said.
''I touched one of the red and white painted curbs and found myself sliding down the track. Thanks to my friends in the pits, because of their help, we were able to get the bike repaired and win the next two races.''
Of the 18 Superbike Novice races LaRoche competed in he was on the podium 15 times, winning eight times. That class featured 35 rides, while the 750 GT class had 39.
Championships are based on points similar to those in other series, such as MotoGP or Formula 1.
''My sponsors include Dunlop Tires, EBC Brakes and Silkolene Oil,'' LaRoche said. ''Whenever I finish on the podium I get credit towards products from each company, which really helps.''