Racing in his backyard, 17-year-old Hollister resident Mateo Oliveira placed second at the Lazy Bumb Hare Scramble on March 8.
The two-day off-road race in Paicines began March 7 with competitions for various classes including youth, seniors and women, with about 1,000 riders taking to the terrain. Other features included a mini bike track for kids, bike demos and about 25 vendors.
Oliveira was one of 175 racers who competed in the pro class of the fourth round of the American Motorcyclist Association District 36 Cross Country Racing Series. The class race was a two-hour spectacle in which Oliveira completed six laps, averaging about 24 minutes, 15 seconds per lap. His best lap was the fifth, where he crossed the line at 23 minutes, 53 seconds.
Oliveira was second throughout the race as he couldn’t quite catch up to winner Taylor Robert of Arizona, who gained a 57-second lead over Oliveira in the first lap and ended with a lead of 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
“The mileage was perfect I thought,” Oliveira said. “It was a little slick, but you just had to be smooth. My RPM KG 350 ran perfectly the whole two hours.”
The seven-mile course included climbs, sharp turns and short straightaways. With some overnight rain, Oliveira said it helped keep the dust to a minimum and made the race more enjoyable.
“All the aggressive, tight downhills were super fun. They were super choppy,” Oliveira said, adding that racing in San Benito County made it more special because he was able to perform in front of family members.
Off-road racing runs in Oliveira’s family. His older brother Dante competes in A Series races, the top class and one level higher than Mateo. However, Dante was unable to participate in the Lazy Bump Hare Scramble following an injury sustained in recent weeks.
Oliveira’s father George said the family’s off-road racing journey began with Santa Claus bringing two motorcycles home one year. Since then, his sons’ love for the sport has continued to grow.
“You’d never thought it would come to this,” George said. “I never grew up riding motorcycles so it wasn’t even a thought.”
George said Mateo began racing at three-and-a-half years old. Dante also showed interest in motorcycles at an early age with an electric motorcycle.
“To get to this point with both of them doing what they love to do is huge,” George said.
Lazy Bumb Hare Scramble promoter and organizer Brian Garrahan, who hosted the event for the second year at the Bumb family ranch, said he was happy with the races.
“I grew up riding motorcycles in San Benito County,” Garrahan said, “and this county seems to me like a motorsport county so it really has a great fit and I’m glad I’m able to contribute.”