LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bo LeMastus has never been to Hungary, nor has he ever seen the race course he’s about to compete on this weekend.
LeMastus just knows he’s headed off for another adventure, come what may.
What’s coming is the Pannonia-Ring road course in Ostffyasszonyfa, Hungary, about two hours outside of Vienna, Austria. To throw in even more variables, LeMastus has never seen the KTM X-Bow racing machine he’ll be competing in this weekend, nor has he met his crew chief and race engineer.
“You have a crew chief-technician assigned to you … that becomes an important relationship,” said LeMastus. “I have to be able to communicate with him, and that has to happen quickly. I have no idea which KTM car I’ll be racing. We don’t get to choose. You’ll have 20-plus, one-hundred percent equally-prepared machines competing against one another. Being that all the cars are the same, it puts the sole focus on the driver. It helps you be a better racer.”
LeMastus also thinks racing in the KTM X-Bow Rookies Challenge helps him in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, in which he races full-time for the DGR-CROSLEY team he co-owns with NASCAR veteran David Gilliland.
“The biggest comparison between the two series is the three-day weekends. On the KTM side, we’ll practice for a day, and then we’ll qualify and compete … race for two solid days,” noted LeMastus. “You do 30-35 lap races on long road courses. It’s hardcore racing. No pit stops … no excuses. Whether you’re in the Truck or the KTM car, racing is racing, and both are at a very high level.”
LeMastus will be in good company, meeting up with his friend and AMA Motocross Hall of Famer Jeff Ward, who will also be competing at the Pannonia-Ring.
Ward has an impressive resume with five AMA Motocross titles, two AMA Supercross championships and seven Motocross des Nations titles. The Scottish-born racer also finished second in the Indianapolis 500 in 1999 and won an IndyCar race at Texas in 2002.
“What an honor (it is) to be competing with my friend Jeff Ward. That brings serious credibility to the X-Bow KTM tour,” said LeMastus. “That, and he’s just a first-class guy. What an honor.”
After competing on the Pannonia-Ring road course Thursday, Friday and Saturday, LeMastus and his American team will be off on another European adventure.
“After the racing on Saturday, on Sunday we’re going to travel back to Graz (Austria) with my team … stay there for a week for technical training on the KTM cars … learn as much as we can,” LeMastus explained. “Down the road, we’d like to have a series in the U.S., similar to what they’re doing in Europe. We’ll be back in Europe next month. We go from here in Hungary to Italy.”
No sooner than LeMastus gets back to Louisville, he’ll be off to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to compete in the Camping World Truck Series on Sept. 14. Future Truck Series events at Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, ISM Raceway (Phoenix) and Homestead-Miami are also on LeMastus’s end-of-season calendar.
Somewhere in there, the Louisville, Ky. businessman is going to squeeze in a trip to Italy in September to again compete in the KTM X-Bow Rookies Challenge as well.