Area man wins 2002 CRA championship

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 27, 2002

Racing along at speeds in excess of 120 mph, making quick turns and even quicker accelerations, and the only thing between you and the road is two tires, a small motor and a fiberglass motorcycle body.

This is a regular routine in Alden resident Paul Jensen’s life.

Jensen, 36, has been interested in motorcycles since he was 5.

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&uot;I’ve been a motocross enthusiast since my father put me on a bike at 5 years old,&uot; said Jensen. &uot;I’ve been racing ever since.&uot;

At the beginning of this year, Jensen began a new type of racing, road racing, which is motorcycle racing on a paved track approximately three miles in length and consisting of 10 turns. After 20 races, Jensen placed first and second six times each, making Jensen champion of the Sportsman Ultra Light Class with the Central Racing Association for 2002.

The racing season sanctioned by the CRA is made up of six race weekends taking place from April through September. Jensen rides a Suzuki GS500 and competed at Brainerd International Raceway in and the Mid-America Motorplex in Pacific Junction, Iowa during the season.

Jensen will be riding in the Expert Class during the 2003 season due to his success this year.

Jensen gained an interest in this type of racing from racing schools he was enrolled in, and after being out on a track. There was also a learning experience at the beginning of the year.

&uot;I was on a straightaway going about 120, 130 mph,&uot; said Jensen. &uot;I was going into the first turn and thought I could lean into the turn. I leaned in too far and ended up skidding about 50 feet.&uot;

Jensen said a crash wasn’t all bad.

&uot;It teaches you how far you can push it,&uot; he explained. &uot;If you don’t crash once, you aren’t pushing the limit at all.&uot;

When Jensen isn’t out racing in competition, he’s in Manchester at his business, Jensales. Along with that, there is also a side business owned by Jensen called Jenspeed with specializes in racing gear. Jenspeed is also a sponsor for racing team that Jensen is on.

Recently, the Jenspeed team was in a race called an endurance race, which lasts five hours. At any time a driver will go into the pit, fill up on gas and change drivers. They placed sixth out of 45 teams.

Another place Jensen may also be is at his 10-acre home just outside of Alden. At his home he has a small half-mile paved track with two turns, and a quarter-mile motocross track to race around trying to get the right feel for a bike or just to work on reflexes.

Though motorcycle racing has crashes and high speeds, Jensen believes it to be less dangerous than just driving around.

&uot;It’s actually safer to race than to be out on the roads,&uot; said Jensen. &uot;On the track you have an idea of what’s going to happen before it does. On the road, you never know.&uot;