Photo courtesy of Gavin Harlien ’17 – Gavin Harlien ’17 races his custom truck in off-road short course races.
By Sam Romero ’17
Gavin Harlien ’17 spends his weekends in California training in his custom off-road truck for the X Games short course racing.
Harlien said short course is similar to what people think to be regular racing, but it is a term specifically for off-road racing.
Harlien said his passion for racing started with riding dirt bikes and has escalated to him at the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as the X Games.
“After meeting some of the right people that believed in me they gave me sponsorships in little carts,” Harlien said in a text message interview.
Short course racing has become a fulltime job and not just a hobby for Harlien.
Trenton Van Norman ’17 said he hopes Harlien will keep taking his racing to a whole new level since he has already been given “insane” chances.
According to Van Norman, Harlien is a part of Red Bull, Global Rally Car, Super Stadium Trucks and Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
“I have worked my way up to be a professional in the Prolite class,” Harlien said. “Prolites are 2 Wheel Drive, 500 horsepower, full-size race trucks built on a standardized chassis.”
Harlien said the adrenaline keeps him loving this sport and keeps it interesting.
Van Norman described the races as a big party with the noise of the crowd and lights flashing everywhere.
“I believe that the challenges he faces behind the wheel are at a higher degree than the challenges presented by average high school sports,” Van Norman said in a text message.
Van Norman said Harlien approaches a hairpin turn at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour, and one wrong move can end up in the hospital.
“The only downside to my type of racing is how hard the trucks can be on racers’ bodies. I have racked up quite a few injuries over the last few years, including broken bones and punctured lungs,” Harlien said.
Harlien’s next race is in Chandler on March 19 and 20 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.