After about a dozen years of ups and downs in the professional flat-track racing scene, Willow Street resident Cory Texter believes he has finally made it.
“I always knew I could get to this point,” Texter said. “But it’s a lot easier said than done.”
Texter spoke earlier this month, shortly after wrapping up the most successful riding year of his career, highlighted by being named the 2019 American Flat-Track Production Twins champion.
To get there was a journey.
Texter and his sister, Shayna, were figuring out how to support their racing careers after the death of their father just a few years ago. At one point, he gave up racing so she could race, with the pair sharing the home previously owned by their dad.
Shayna Texter has since moved back to Montgomery County and her career has continued to blossom. She finished seventh in the AFT singles points standings in 2019.
However, fortunes hadn’t been so kind for her brother.
“Last year, I started off in the singles class, broke my ankle, broke my wrist. It didn’t go well for me at all,” Cory Texter said. “Toward the end of the year, I jumped up and rode in the twins class again. The last two years have been tough, honestly, just bouncing around different teams. I didn’t have a solid opportunity.”
In flat-track racing, riders compete much the same way NASCAR works in terms of racing around an oval track — except the riders are on motorcycles and the track is made of dirt. Events are often held on weekends from April through September. And, until this year, AFT consisted of two classes: single-cylinder and twin-cylinder.
“Singles is self-explanatory,” Texter said. “It’s a 450cc dirtbike/motorcycle converted to race flat-track. Any 450 you’d buy in a showroom, but lowered with wheels set up for flat-track. Twins is open to anything and everything. Twins are basically Indian or Harley-Davidson motorcycles but with custom-made, multi-million dollar engine designs set up to race flat-track. They have engines you won’t find in a showroom.”
For the first time this season, AFT introduced a Production Twins class.
“Production Twins class was made to even the playing field a little bit,” Texter said. “Every engine in that class is based off a streetbike engine. ... The Production Twins class makes it more affordable for teams and racers to contend.”
Last offseason, Texter, 32, got a call from G&G Racing, a father-and-son operation based out of California. They were in need of a rider to compete in the AFT Production Twins class for the 2019 season.
“Nobody wanted to ride their bikes,” Texter said. “And nobody wanted to hire me after a couple bad years.”
G&G Racing showed up with the Yamaha MT-07 motorcycles at races, where Texter met them.
“This is the first time in my career where I rode for a team,” Texter said. “I could just go to a track and race. It was awesome.”
Texter lived in Florida last winter to train for the 2019 season. The work paid off in the form of three straight first-place finishes to begin the year. He finished in the top 10 in the final eight races of the season, including a second-, third- and three fourth-place finishes.
“I had a couple bad races in the middle of the year there,” he said. “That was me not riding loose. Toward the end of the year there I started to loosen up a bit.”
Texter is now back in Willow Street with his wife and 2-year-old son, working part-time as a personal trainer at the Lampeter-Strasburg YMCA.
“It’s humbling in that I’ll win a race and then it’ll be on NBC Sports on a TV at the gym while I’m doing laundry in the back. ... I don’t think people know the extent of who is training them. I like making people healthy. But they don’t know I race motorcycles.”
Texter said he gets similar vibes from those in flat-track, too, in the sense that he feels he still has to prove himself.
“Even though I won the championship there are guys out there who don’t think I’m that good,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me. As long as I have a bike I can win races on and support my family I’m happy.”
Pequea Valley High School alum Jared Mees also added to his highly successful flat-track career by finishing second in the standings in the AFT Twins class this season. He finished behind Briar Bauman, who has been dating Shayna Texter for several years.
“(Mees) is just relentless,” Cory Texter said. “He has a lot of talent, he works hard, he’s got a great team around him. He’s the total package in being successful in flat-track.”