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Eugenio on Supercross fast track

April 19, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

From the time he was 7 years old Steven Eugenio has had a dream. Thirteen years later he is living that dream.

Eugenio, a 20-year-old El Centro resident, is competing in his second season on the West Coast Supercross circuit.

He is living the life he loves.

"I've wanted to do this all my life," he said. "When I was 7 I got my first little motorcycle, but then my dad's brother broke his neck riding a bike and I had to sell my bike. I quit riding until I was 17. But I'd always liked motorcycle riding. I just never got the chance to do it until I bought my own bike."

While he had to put his dreams on hold for 11 years, Eugenio was quick to get back on the proverbial horse as soon as he had the chance.

"I bought my first bike when I was 17," he said. "Me and a couple of friends were just riding in the desert. Then they had a race at the fairgrounds and I wanted to try it out. When I did I fell in love with it."

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From his humble beginnings of riding in the desert Eugenio has quickly made his way onto the Supercross tour. He spent last year, his first on the tour, learning the ropes. This year he is geared up to try to get some wins.

"Last year was a learning experience," he said. "It started off bad and got better as the races went on."

This season began in January and runs through May. He has competed in six races, his best finish being in Houston where he made it to the night's main event.

He got a new bike this season and thinks the more time he spends on it, the better he gets.

"I didn't have that much time on the new bike," he said. "As I get used to it I'm getting a lot more confident on it."

For the casual observer Supercross might seem little more than a quick couple minutes of work, but that's not the case.

To get to the Supercross main event Eugenio had to go through a day of qualifying and a night show from which riders are eliminated. Only after an entire day of racing do a lucky few make it to the main event.

"It's really challenging," he said. "It's physically challenging. You have to be in great shape and you have to be in great mental shape. The competition is tough."

One thing particularly challenging is finding ways to pay for competing. Eugenio is sponsored locally by Imperial Valley Cycle Center, Driscoll's Sports, Mad Graphics, Lee Tire Co., Stan's Auto Body, Timco Hay, Ryan Jones, Deuce Clothing, Clayton's Inc., Drysdale Hay and Tim Clayton. He is also sponsored by Race Tech, 100 Percent Racing, Dragon, No Fear and George Harris.

Even with the sponsors, Eugenio must find ways to pay for his travel and for his injuries, of which there are many.

Eugenio has suffered two broken wrists, a broken collar bone, three broken ribs, a cracked back and "more stitches than I can count."

Another challenge facing Eugenio is finding a place to practice. He says there is a track in Bombay Beach where he rides sometimes, but he is forced to spend most of his time in Riverside or Victorville where he has plenty of places to practice.

While all these obstacles might keep a lesser man down, Eugenio thinks it is well worth it.

"I'm looking to go to the top," he said. "I want to be a Supercross champion. I'd like to get a factory ride and be on a team. I'd like to win the Supercross."

Eugenio, ranked 30th in the West Coast Supercross point standings, is embarking on a three-week trek to compete in Supercross events in Dallas, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. He thinks the trip could go especially well.

"I feel pretty good right now," he said. "I'm pretty confident. I've been riding a lot. I feel strong."

Eugenio believes he can make a career of riding a motorcycle.

"If I can get picked up on a ride I'd like to do this until I can't do it anymore," he said. "I'd love to do this all of my life until I can't do it anymore. It's my passion."

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