Sophomore Wins National Championship in Motorcycle Racing


Tina Keese

Trenton Keese racing for the National Champion Cup Series at the Daytona Speedway on Oct. 15.

Madelyn Sorgenfrei, Entertainment Editor

As sophomore Trenton Keesee finishes his final race for the day, he realizes he has joined the ranks of his father and brother. He placed first in all three of his races on Oct. 15 and earned the ranking of a National Champion in the Championship Cup Series of motorcycle racing at the Daytona International Speedway. Keesee achieved this status before being licensed to drive a car.

“When I came across that line it was incredible, it was a feeling of being truly proud of myself,” Keesee said. “I knew my dad was watching, and I knew he was proud. I put my head down, pushed as hard as I could, and ended up first. It was just amazing, it was insane to see how quick I made it, now I’m a National Champion.”

Since winning the Championship Cup Series, Keesee has earned his expert license. He plans to race in his first MotoAmerica race in April. MotoAmerica is an organization that promotes the American Motorcycle Association, featuring six classes of racing.

“Last year was my first year racing in the amateur series and I will be moving up to expert this year,” Keesee said. “It was a lot of practice and quite frankly a lot of work. I’m racing in MotoAmerica this year, which is a much bigger race, the races are out of state and it’s a much bigger organization.”

Motorcycles run in the Keesee family. Keesee’s maternal grandfather raced motorcycles and his paternal grandfather was interested motorcycles. The family owns Brevard Superbike.

“This was just a natural progression for him,” Tina Keesee, Keesee’s mother said. “Some dads teach their kids to golf or play football, his dad taught him to ride a motorcycle and race. Motorcycles are just a way of life in our family. He started riding his own bike, a Suzuki JR50, with training wheels at 2 and a half. He started racing flat track at 10 and went on to race mini moto. This year, he moved to the big bike.”

Although racing runs in the family, Keesee’s father is aware of the risks that come with it.

“My father didn’t race but was an avid racing fan and took me to the Daytona 200 motorcycle race for the first time in 1976, I was 10 years old, and I caught the bug,” Todd Keesee, Keesee’s father said. “From then on I just loved riding and especially racing motorcycles. I never pushed [my sons] to race, it’s a very dangerous sport. I never really thought about the danger until they started doing it.”

Keesee participated in a PanAmerican SuperBike race at the Homestead Miami track on Feb. 4. He placed first in the 400 SuperSport and 400 SuperBike, both six laps around the Speedway track.

“I was supposed to go out in one of the Grand Corsa races but it was raining and I didn’t want to ride in the rain,” Keesee said. “You can ride in the rain, but that weekend was just for practice and to get out on the bike. Riding in the rain just wasn’t worth it, if I went down, broke something on the bike, or got hurt.”

Motorcycle races can be classified by the type of bike the rider has, age, weight, and coach endorsement. Keesee has raced among friends and older men. On Feb. 4, he raced among friends.

“This time, my friends from MiniGP and I coordinated our race, but sometimes I’m racing against grown men. Racing is racing, I still love it, but I like racing with my friends more. It’s the same thing as always, whether I’m racing against people that are older than me or my friends that I usually race with. I’ve met some of my friends through racing and a good handful of them live near Rockledge.”

Keesee has support from his mother and father when it comes to races.

“My mom handles all the technical business, she’s basically my manager,” Keesee said. “Just recently, I started street racing on a closed track. I can’t say it was a quick transition. When I was three, I started racing dirt bikes and never really liked it. A couple years ago I started racing mini motos on scaled down road courses. My dad is my biggest supporter, he gives me a lot of pointers.”

Although motorcycle racing can put riders in danger, it can be a polarizing sport for participants and spectators alike.

“Daytona is the biggest race in America,” Todd Keesee said. “It has a mystique in that it’s the only motorcycle race in the world that takes place on a super-speedway. When you see the race and the track for the first time it’s amazing.”