As a word, it’s both a badge of honor
and an insult. On the one hand, it signifies
a bold new venture, the next step on the
journey. On the other, it says, “I may not
know what the heck I’m doing, so
probably best avoid me...”
Sometimes, though, that’s just not
possible. Take the season-opening rounds
of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at
Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, for
example. There was no avoiding Pro Lite
rookie Brad DeBerti, who left the weekend
with a pair of victories in his maiden outing
in the national series and took the Pro
Lite points lead ahead of veterans such
as 2012 title-winner RJ Anderson,
defending champ Sheldon Creed, Jerrett
Brooks, Casey Currie and Ryan Beat.
Make no mistake, DeBerti has some of
the best equipment in the form of Brian
Deegan’s championship-winning truck,
coaching from the multi-time champ
himself, and a lot of testing under his belt
– but he still had to drive the thing under
pressure, get it out front and keep it
there, with many of those veterans trying
every trick to keep that from happening.
DeBerti is one of several rookies in Pro
Lite, which is the norm for the class.
Some of the others include Trophy Kart
graduates Cole Mamer and Brock Heger,
Quad racer Dustin Nelson, drifter Sarah
WORDS & IMAGES Richard S. James
Burgess and UTV veteran Mark Patridge.
But DeBerti and another rookie have
stood out so far, for the fact that both are
relatively new to the sport, and also for
some other, different reasons.
Taylor Atchison is tough to miss in a
crowd. In fact, finding a Pro Lite that would
fit his tall frame was a matter of chance.
But it’s the big Tonka branding on his truck
that makes him stand out – that and the
fact that as soon as he gets it off the track,
he jumps into his similarly liveried Pro
Buggy for another go. He’s not the first to
do it, but right now Atchison is the only
LOORRS racer doing both Pro Buggy and
Pro Lite. While many others double up,
doing those two particular classes always
presents a challenge because Pro Buggy
immediately follows Pro Lite on an event
schedule, making it an especially tough
way of going the dual route (see sidebar).
These two rookies came from different
routes, but both share a passion for a sport
they’ve only recently become involved in,
and both are determined to make a mark.
DeBerti says it was only a year ago he
and his father decided to go to Chandler,
Ariz., from their Pismo Beach, Calif., home
and watch a LOORRS event at Wild Horse
Pass Motorsports Park after catching the
series on TV. What began as a lark soon
became an obsession.
“The first things out were the Trophy
A pair of Pro Lite rookies have taken different paths
to the class and are undergoing different experiences,
but both are having a lot of fun doing it.
Karts,” he explains. “My dad and I were
looking at each other with eyes wide
open. Then we watched the big trucks,
and said, ‘Holy cow! We have to do this.’”
By chance he met Brad Person, who had
a Pro Lite for sale. The DeBertis bought it
and Brad DeBerti started racing the Lucas
Oil Regional Racing Series in Southern
California, taking a podium on his debut.
After doing well for several races in the
regionals, he sought better equipment
and bought Deegan’s truck. “It was tough
selling it,” says Deegan, who is replacing
his Pro Lite program with Pro 4 in 2015.
“But they’re a good family and I really