He earns bronze medal in flat track motorcycle racing.
Kole King had the time of his life at the X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last weekend, and he has a couple badges of honor to show for it.
King, a Burlington native, earned a bronze medal in the Harley-Davidson Hooligan Racing, a flat-track motorcycle race on a track which turned black slick. And King took third despite taking a hard spill in his qualifying race which gave his shoulder a jar, he thought for a while he had broken or dislocated something.
For King, it was the experience of a lifetime and one he hopes to build upon as his motorcycle racing career continues its upward trend.
"It feels pretty good," King said Saturday morning after getting home from a trip to South Dakota for a Buffalo Chip TT presented by Indian Motorcycle, where he finished fourth. "The track was really slick. I felt like I was battling myself the whole day."
King qualified second, but it wasn't easy. In his qualifier, he took a hard spill and had to rebound to make it to the feature race, which was televised live on ESPN last Sunday.
"I had a great start in the qualifier, but I had a crappy experience," King said. "A guy cut down in front of me and I had nowhere to go. I hit the ground pretty hard. That was the first time I had put the bike down in quite a while. I tore my shoulder up pretty good in the spill. I've broken a lot of bones in my lifetime and I thought maybe I had broken something. I think 2011 is the last major wreck. My shoulder is still pretty sore."
King managed to get back up and earn a third-row starting spot for his heat race. He worked his way through the field to take second and advance to the semifinals.
King qualified for the final and had his chances, but with a dry, slick track, King wasn't taking any unnecessary risks.
"The track got really dry and slick. You play the cards you are dealt," King said. "You couldn't ride over your head and drive too hard or you would wipe out. It was a mental game at that point. The race really came down to just staying on your bike."
King originally planned to head to Cambridge, Minnesota, prior to the X Games to practice on a track at a friend's house, but decided instead to stay close to home and put in extra time in the gym. It paid off in a physically-demanding race.
"I decided to stay around home and put in more time in the gym and focus on my diet, trying to stay healthy," King said. "I rode around home on my motocross bike and didn't do any flat-track racing at all."
From there, King loaded up his gear in his van and headed west to Sturgis, which proved to be an adventure in and of itself.
"The van broke down on the way to South Dakota and we had to spend the night and get it fixed," King said. "I got it fixed and we made it home late (Friday) night."
King now is contemplating his next move. He may race in the Bob Walker Memorial Aug. 16 in Galesburg, Illinois, or he may load up the van and head to Salt Lake City, Utah, for a Super Hooligan event on the Roland Sands Indian Motorcycle Series, the Nitro World Games.
"If I go to Salt Lake City, I think I will finish out the series for Sands," King said. "Next year I plan to do the whole Sands Series. They have a good contingency payout. They give out a brand new bike for the winner and a good cash payout."
In the meantime, King is going to enjoy a little well-deserved rest and relaxation and let his shoulder mend.
"I'm ready to relax a little bit. Everything has been go, go, go the last couple weeks," King said. "I really want to thank Heartland Harley-Davidson for getting me signed up for the X Games. It was a great experience."