Rider Spotlight: Eric Stump
NEWS November 10, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Eric Stump is one of AMA Pro’s young guns doing double-duty as both an AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track rider. In 2010, when Stump was a 16-year-old AMA Pro Road Racing rookie, he turned in a best finish of third in the fierce AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East division, and also showed his strength by wrestling a Harley-Davidson XR1200 to a third place finish in an AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race. As if his early successes in road racing weren’t enough, Stump began trying his hand in AMA Pro Flat Track’s Pro Singles division, entering the No. 77A Kawasaki KX450F in three rounds.
AMAPro: What’s the deal with your leg?
ES: I had ACL surgery, and some scar tissue scraped on my meniscus, so right now I’m trying to heal as quickly as possible by resting and going to physical therapy to be 100% for next season.
AMAPro: How'd that happen?
ES: To be honest, I had knee surgery three years ago. I’ve hurt my knee multiple times since then and recently it finally began to add up. I was riding supermoto when the big 'pop' came about. It hurt very badly.
AMAPro: Where are you from?
ES: I go back and forth between Levittown, Pa. and Berlin, N.J.
AMAPro: How do you like being in the cold?
ES: I love the cold. I make extra money shoveling driveways and then hit the mountains to go snowboarding all winter long.
AMAPro: What's your favorite food?
ES: Easy answer: I love spaghetti.
AMAPro: What was your first motorcycle?
ES: PW50. Believe it or not, PJ Jacobsen and I grew up racing PW50s together, and then I had to quit. I didn’t start racing again until I was thirteen.
AMAPro: Do you ride on the street?
ES: No… I’m so used to going fast, I feel that if I had my streetbike license, I’d lose my license. I do ride my Zuma a bunch from place to place though.
AMAPro: Out of all the motorcycles you've ridden, what's your favorite?
ES: I love my R6. My Markbuilt R6 is such an upgrade over my previous bike. I started getting top 10s when I first started out racing, and did even better when I got a stock R6. Markbuilt made it even better, and I’ve really been enjoying riding it.
AMAPro: What’s your favorite track?
ES: Ah… I love VIR. It’s such a fun track. But of course, I love New Jersey too. They’re pretty much a tie.
AMAPro: Compare riding in AMA Pro Road Racing to riding with AMA Pro Flat Track?
ES: Honestly, AMA Pro Flat Track is way more competitive. There’s nothing more intense than going into a turn on a mile track four or five wide and just inches off of the guard rail. I feel that Flat Track has more competitiveness to it, while Road Racing is more free-flowing and fast. Each track has its own way to be ridden.
AMAPro: Are there different skill-sets? Anything you do different?
ES: It’s nothing really, I just do what comes natural. Going into a Flat Track weekend, it’s less stressful and I have more fun, whereas with Road Racing I have to be more serious.
AMAPro: How’d you get into racing?
ES: My dad raced, and he was a national champion a couple of times, so he had me on a PW50 on training wheels when I was two and half years old. I wasn’t very into it when I was on the PW, but then I got a KTM super-mini and I fell in love with it and started winning.
AMAPro: What draws you to the sport of motorcycle racing?
ES: It would most definitely be the speed. The competition is always good no matter where you go. There’s always someone at a track that is the dominant competitor, and I strive to get where they are. I feel like it’s the competitiveness more than anything, I always want to win.
AMAPro: What’s a typical day like when you’re not sliding a foot or dragging knee?
ES: If I wasn’t hurt, I’d be trying to get in as much riding as possible. I ride motocross and trail riding until the snow starts to fall and then once ice forms I hit the ice every weekend, as much as possible. I also try to go snowboarding and sport fishing too. I’m going deep sea fishing soon, and am pretty excited for it.
AMAPro: When you look to next year, what expectations are you setting for yourself?
ES: Right now, I feel that I’m maturing as a racer on a professional level, and hope my season goes well next year. Last year I came in with the expectation of winning the championship, but I feel like I kind of jinxed myself. It was more of a learning curve than anything else. I’m going to take what I learned and apply it to succeeding next year. I’m shooting for ending up within the top five in championship points.
AMAPro: Who’s your racing hero?
ES: Joe Kopp on the Flat Track side, he gave me so many pointers growing up. I’d email him and talk about things I’d be experiencing as I grew as a flat tracker. Larry Pegram on the Road Racing side, he’s what really got me started out riding on the asphalt. He’s a great guy and has so much knowledge to provide.
What's your take?