Riding in the fast lane

Passing them in the hall, you wouldn’t guess that Brian and Kevin Pinkstaff crush straightaways at 150-plus mph. In classes they seem like just another two Portland State students.

Passing them in the hall, you wouldn’t guess that Brian and Kevin Pinkstaff crush straightaways at 150-plus mph. In classes they seem like just another two Portland State students.

But that’s not why they do it. When you’re taking turns going 100 mph, the last thing on your mind is who’s watching.

“On the 750 cc bike I’m racing this year, [I’m racing] about 170 mph,” Brian Pinkstaff said of his motorcycle racing passion. “Over the 1.9-mile course at PIR [Portland International Racetrack], I average right around 100 mph.”

Brian and Kevin have been practically riding since they were able to walk. Having an uncle who was a top national motorcycle rider and a father who also rode competitively kept them around the track and motorcycles from an early age.

“Growing up, my uncle Keith was a pretty successful road racer regionally and nationally, but he also was an avid dirt bike rider,” Kevin Pinkstaff, the older of the two brothers, explained. “My dad and grandpa also rode and raced, so it’s really something I was immersed in growing up. I thought motorcycles were really cool, and started riding dirt bikes from age 5.”

Kevin led the way and Brian followed shortly after, riding his first motorcycle at the young age of 6. With their uncle serving as their tutor and coach, they quickly transitioned into competitively riding motorcycles.

Now, the Pinkstaff brothers are all grown up and enrolled at Portland State, but that hasn’t taken them away from their biggest passion. They race mostly at Portland International Raceway on the same track used by the Indy cars. Both have also started competing heavily on the national stage, although at different levels.

Brian recently placed second in his racing class—600 Super Sport—right behind his older brother, who brought home the first-place trophy. Brian will take his skills and motorcycle to a pair of national races in California that are sponsored by the American Motorcycle Association.

“The Professional AMA redesigned their class structure and added a 16-to-21-year-old class,” Brian Pinskstaff said. “They want to give kids a chance to do well on a national circuit.”

And big brother Kevin will join Brian in California, but only to assist him, because he has since moved to the 750-cubic-centimeter class, one of the highest levels on the fastest bikes.

“I have enough of a challenge at the local level, since I moved into the 750 cc class where there is some really, really good competition,” Kevin Pinkstaff explained. “The bike I am riding is much more powerful than the bikes I’ve ridden so far, so it’s been fun and challenging learning how to ride a more demanding bike.”

Kevin eventually hopes to work his way to the top of that division as well, a spot that will likely ensure him a national ranking, a spot on the AMA Pro Racing Tour and a paycheck for racing.

When asked if he would be following his brother to the national races in California this year, Kevin said, “The upcoming season for me unfortunately doesn’t include any nationals, other than being there to assist Brian in the nationals he’s contesting.”

Both brothers compete in the Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association, which sponsors races throughout the summer on PIR. The track there has nine turns and Brian Pinkstaff was quick to point out that although the sport is called road racing, they don’t race on public streets.

The next time you see them on campus, you may want to take the opportunity to give them a friendly wave. Because when they are speeding past you on the racetrack, you might as well forget about it. They probably wouldn’t see you anyways.