PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — If you like motorcycle racing, this is the weekend for you in Peoria.
The 75th Peoria TT races are Saturday at Peoria Motorcycle Club featuring some of the top flat track motorcycle racers in the nation. Reigning champ JD Beach and 14-time champion Henry Wiles are in the field for the Mission Super Twins Main Event at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.
“They love this track,” said race director Shawn Potts. “I should say, they love and hate it because there is no other track like this one. It’s not just an oval. They love the race but it’s also a very demanding track.”
The Peoria Motor Cycle Club features a jump the racers don’t see at other race tracks. Gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday, opening ceremonies at set for 1:30 p.m. with races beginning a half hour later.
Friday night many of the top local riders will take past in the Joe Baggott Memorial at Peoria Speedway. The race is named after longtime Peoria motorcycle racer Joe Baggot, who died last December.
“In the motorcycle world, there wasn’t anybody who races motorcycles that didn’t know Joe Baggott,” said race promoted Curt Mottaz. “Not only was he a racer, he was a chaplain on the touring circuit, he was everywhere. He traveled everywhere. He was a good guy and he didn’t know a stranger.”
Baggott’s family now lives in Florida but has returned to Peoria for the race.
“I’m hoping he is super proud,” said daughter Jesse Baggott. “He loved this track, we were very successful here. We had several podium (finishes), I think he won a couple times. He would be super ecstatic that it’s here. We’re kind of itching to come back.”
Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday at Peoria Speedway with the 11-race card starting at 7 p.m.