(MAIN and LEFT)
Bradley Morris is
already earning the
respect of the fans
with a fast – and often
spectacular – entry
into the Pro Lite class.
Other rookies putting
and center in 2012
include Doug Mittag
(BELOW LEFT) and
Kyle Lucas (BELOW).
Morris. Headed for a top-five finish in his
first race, he got turned off a tabletop
jump at Firebird and sent into a nasty roll.
That same weekend, Doug Mittag had a
little better luck, finishing second in his first
race in a Pro Lite. Stepping out of the SR1
UTV class, where he was second in points
last year to Corry Weller, his father bartered
a ride in one of Matt Cook’s Supercross.com
trucks with some work converting the
truck from a four-cylinder to a crate V8
engine. It was a one-weekend deal, but
thanks to that finish, he still has the ride.
“We’re actually pretty surprised. Our
first race out and we got second with barely
any practice at all,” Mittag says. “The car is
just so different. In the UTV you could go
as fast as you want and throw it into the
corner. These are really tippy; you can’t go
too fast into a corner and just pitch it. It’s
a lot of learning to do, but I think we’ll be a
big threat later in the year.”
The way Mittag got his ride is indicative
of a big reason behind the growth of the
class. Sealed V8 crate engines were
allowed in the class last year, offering an
alternative to the race-prepped, highly-
strung and sometimes fragile four-cylinder
engines that had powered the Pro Lites.
The V8 crate engines produce similar
power, but are cheaper to buy and need to
be rebuilt much less often. The V8s have
made the class more affordable, and most
of the field is now running them.
“In Pro Lite, everyone’s a little more
competitive. They’ll do whatever
they can to intimidate you”
Karts. So far, Morris has found the
rookie experience in Pro Lite vs. Limited
Buggy... a little different.
“My first race in a buggy I got third, and
everybody was nice and congratulating
me,” Morris says. “But in Pro Lite,
everyone’s a little more competitive
because there’s more money involved.
When you come out and you’re younger
than everyone else and qualify first, they’ll
do whatever they can to intimidate you.”
The first weekend was a little rough on
the Pro Lite, he says he thought, “Sure,
what’s it going to hurt?”
He soon discovered that his racing
experience didn’t fully prepare him. The
truck just wasn’t working for him that first
weekend at Firebird. The Thursday before
the Lake Elsinore doubleheader, Geer
started making some big changes. Some
help came from King Shocks, he says, but
he found the class veterans helpful as well.