Local Rider Gets World Supersport Shot

Cycle News Staff | May 26, 2009

When the Supersport World Championship lines up on the grid at Miller Motorsports Park this Sunday, May 31, for its first appearance in North America since 1999, a local rider from Salt Lake City is planning to be among the world’s best 600cc motorcycle racers.The support series to the HANNspree Superbike World Championship customarily invites selected local racers to participate in its events wherever it appears around the world. At Miller Motorsports Park, one of those riders will be Oleg Pianykh.Pianykh, a 23-year-old Russian immigrant from Moscow, is one of the lucky few whose application was accepted for the race. Now he’s hustling to raise the funds to be able to race.His case is not dissimilar to that of the dog who caught the car.He has lived in Salt Lake City since 1996, when his family moved here to provide a better home for his brother, who is afflicted with cerebral palsy. Oleg was always a self-admitted “speed junkie,” but never rode motorcycles until he bought his first street bike, a 1999 Honda F4, at age 18.”I instantly fell in love with riding motorcycles,” he says. “I started riding up the canyons in the Salt Lake Valley on a daily basis, but the high speeds got me in trouble, both with hitting the ground as well as the law.”Oleg quickly realized that he would need to take it off the street and onto the track if he was to really appreciate the capabilities of sport bikes. One day he entered a raffle to win a free track day, and happened to win. His first lap on a racetrack changed his life.”I was stoked,” he says, “and addicted.”He quickly made his way into amateur racing and has been pursuing his dream ever since. He is a regular competitor and class champion in Miller Motorsports Park’s Plaza Cycle Masters of the Mountains series, and makes an occasional appearance in semi-pro WERA Motorcycle Roadracing events.A recent graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in engineering, he works designing prosthetic components, but races on a shoestring budget.”My program is self-funded,” he says. “I try to race as much as possible, but it’s hard on a very limited budget. My primary sponsors for the World Supersport race are Apex Trackdays, Fastline Race Tire and Beehive Bailbonds. But, with the cost of the weekend being around $7,000, we still need to come up with some money.”A wise man once said that nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, and Oleg Pianykh is living testament to that. If he can raise the funds necessary to compete, he will realize a goal that most young motorcycle racers only dream of: racing in a World Championship event among the best riders and teams on the planet.The HANNspree Superbike World Championship Utah USA Round gets underway Friday, May 29. Support series will include the Supersport World Championship and the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge. Friday will include practice sessions, with additional practice and qualifying on Saturday as well as a race for the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge GTU class. Races for the Superbike World Championship, Supersport World Championship and the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge GTO class are scheduled for Sunday.Tickets for the World Superbike weekend are priced as follows: General Admission tickets are $27 Friday, $37 Saturday and $47 Sunday, or $77 for the weekend. Grandstand tickets are $42 Friday, $52 Saturday and $62 Sunday, or $122 for the weekend. Paddock Passes are $10 per day, or $25 for the weekend.For ticket information, visit www.MMPTix.com.For information regarding Miller Motorsports Park, call 435-277-RACE (7223) or visit the track’s website at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com.