NORTHFIELD — When Ben Gloddy was four years old, his mom and stepdad got him a four-wheeler so he could keep up with them on their adventures. “Where’s my dirt bike?” was the thanks he gave them.
Gloddy was unrelenting, so his mother, Christina Day, traded the four-wheeler in for a two-wheeler. Then a friend suggested he join a juniors race, held on a dirt track in Winchendon, Massachusetts.
“Over my dead body will he ever race motorcycles,” Day replied. “I’ve been eating my words ever since.”
Gloddy won that first race, and many in the decade since. He now races on road courses, such as the one at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Last year, he was named the Loudon Road Race Series Rookie of the Year, collecting 46 podium appearances, 24 of which were for first place finishes.
And on Friday, Gloddy will turn 14. He’s only going to get one gift: a license to race professionally. This weekend, he will join the Quarterley Racing On Track Development Team, run by Dale Quarterley and Bob Robbins, when the MotoAmerica Liqui Moly Junior Cup comes to the Utah Motorsports Campus.
Gloddy hopes it will be the beginning of a long professional career which, he hopes, includes racing as part of the MotoGP series, grand prix races held around the world.
“I want to do this until I can’t ride anymore,” he said.
He’s not just a kid with a dream, Gloddy has been putting in the hours to build his reality. And so have his parents. There’s race days, travel to races, bike maintenance and cleaning, practices and reports to sponsors. Day said that, during the season, it’s like an extra full-time job for her, her husband Keith Day, and for Gloddy.
Gloddy said it’s all worth it come race day. These days, he competes on a Kawasaki Ninja 400, which makes about 50 horsepower and, depending on the track, can hit 120 miles per hour.
“It’s a lot of fun, you forget about everything else that’s happening, you just focus on what’s in front of you,” he said.
By the time he enters his freshman year at Winnisquam High School, he hopes to have some professional wins under his belt. His first race will be on a flat, 2.2-mile course located outside of Toole, Utah. “I feel pretty good going into it,” he said. He hopes to finish in the top five.
“Winning races boosts my confidence,” he said.
What’s it like to be the mother of a motorcycle racer? “Stressful,” said Christina Day. “But I would never hold him back from it. As long as he’s not scared, I’ll let him keep doing what he’s doing to follow his dream.”