Editor’s Note: I’m always looking for ways to share more motorcycles with you, and the best way to do that is to have more people contributing. So with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Mazlow Petosa! You may have already noticed his name on a few posts over the last couple of weeks, such as:
Hopefully you’ve been enjoying what he’s been sharing, and you’ll continue to do so with his future finds! I asked Mazlow to introduce himself so you could learn more about him – come say hi!
Hello riders and readers!
It’s nice to meet you! I am writing to you all sitting comfortably in the 12-month riding weather that Los Angeles provides. I have been living here for four and a half years now, and have had a lovely time commuting on two wheels for three and a half of those years. Like many riders, my journey began in the back seat of my parents car, looking out the window wide eyed at a dirt bike for sale on the side of the road. Also like many unlucky souls, I was not allowed to ride early on.
However, I was very fortunate to have several other motorsports opportunities available, and participated in as many as I could. I began doing pit crew in high school for a local NASA driver. I don’t even think I could drive yet when I started, taking care of all trackside assistance and vehicle adjustments necessary. It was a great introduction to racing, having all the thrills of a professional race on a scale that still allowed me underneath (and sometimes the passenger seat) of the car. I learned about tires, dampers, aero, and how to use data acquisition. Eventually, my driver progressed from a Porsche 944 to a 911 race car, and I learned even more about what goes into making a race day, as well as car, successful.
Expanding on my pit crew experience and still fully convinced I wanted to be a race engineer, I joined the Formula Buckeyes at the Ohio State University as an engine builder. The heart of our race car was taken from a Honda CBR 600F4i, powering an open wheel go kart sized rocket ship with 1” of ground clearance. I was became very familiar with DOHC inline fours, and every minute I spent scrubbing carbon deposits I was thinking about that dirt bike on the side of the road. I was 17 at the time, and quit high school sports so I could hang out at the Center for Automotive Research every day with the college kids. I look back on that decision as one of the best I ever made, and a turning point in my life.
Failing calculus my freshman year of college dealt a serious blow to my parent’s ego’s and my engineering career. I stepped down from the Formula Buckeyes for the rest of the year to focus on school. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I had spent five years watching other people drive the cars I was building. It was driving me crazy. In my mind I wasn’t a racing fan, watching races for fun. I was there as a driver who was taking notes. At that point, I knew two things: racing was expensive, and I needed a change of pace…something to reignite my passion for fuel and air mixtures.
Sophomore year (2011), my best friend joined new club called the Buckeye Electric Motorcycle Team, using an MV Agusta frame to design and build an electric race bike destined for the Isle of Man TT. Being an engine builder myself, I was skeptical of electric motorcycles. But this friend of mine took the same MSF course I did, and here he was talking about 200hp machines while my motorcycle license continued to sit unused. I had changed my major from engineering to business, and saw a new opportunity to go fast…finally on two wheels. I took up my new role on the marketing team for what is now Buckeye Current Racing. After a land speed record (142mph) on the MV Agusta frame, renewed confidence from the university and engineering department landed us a prominent new paddock at the Center for Automotive Research, right across the Formula Buckeyes.
I spent the summer of 2012 in Los Angeles, falling in love with the city and derailing my career path once again. I returned to OSU that fall with renewed vigor. I was ready to ride, I was ready for the track, and I had a plan that would make both a reality. With some help from the AMA and the OSU-Honda partnership, Buckeye Current Racing acquired a Honda CBR1000RR frame and enough money to build a new bike. We skipped class, sacrificed finals, and ruined relationships, but Buckeye Current Racing’s RW2 was ready to race. Instead of looking across the race paddock at the University of Michigan, we saw Mugen and Motoczysz. At the 2013 and 2014 Isle of Man TTs, we brought home 3rd place in class. It was my job to raise money for the bike, which proved difficult when sponsors had never even heard of the race. After I graduated the decision was made to race at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, where the team still competes today.
I hounded the Buckeye Motorcycle Club, and got my motorcycle license my freshman year as soon as the sun came out in the Spring. However, I was the last of my friends to turn 21, and had to find alternate activities to fill my evenings. Car shows and meets ups were the obvious choice. Through these, I was very lucky to find a group who wanted to ride, and wanted to do so without parking a bike in our families’ garages. This led me to my first bike: a 1977 Suzuki GS450, built into a café racer with a bullet fairing and clip-ons. One of the guys kept the Suzuki in storage, and three of us rode it whenever possible. It was the perfect beginner bike, with 6 gears allowing for highway speeds, but no more. I never rode less than 100 miles in a day the few times a year I would FINALLY get throw a leg over, and would start planning out my next ride as soon as the kickstand dropped. I knew one day I would be in Los Angeles riding the roads I watched YouTube videos of, but for now, the Suzuki and spending my afternoons on Craigslist were the best I had.
My family knew I had my license, and I would get into a bi-annual debate with my mother about a specific bike I would find on Craigslist that was a “great deal” or “smart investment.” My mother would cry as she had flashbacks of me watching Travis Pastrana do backflips at 10 years old, assuming I was taking my sportbike straight to high side city. I told her if she had let me ride at 10, I would be a much better rider at 20. It made perfect sense to me, but the logic was flawed in my mother’s eyes. She did eventually see the Suzuki, as I stopped at home one day to change into more appropriate footwear. Another sound decision in my eyes that was seen as a personal attack by my mother.
Eventually, my early graduation had arrived. Everything was going according to plan, having finished a semester early with the specific goal of moving to Los Angeles ASAP. I left the following month, and was again one step closer to the sport bike of my dreams. After about 8 months in LA, I got a four digit check from modeling, and knew my time had finally come. I went straight to Craigslist and eBay to search for the kind of freedom only two wheels can deliver. And this time, I wasn’t just procrastinating schoolwork. I found an excellent condition 2001 Suzuki GSX-R 750 with 20,000 miles, and rode home with tears in my eyes knowing I was exactly where I wanted to be in life: on a sportbike, in LA, and 25 miles from Mulholland.
That Suzuki and I had a great relationship, one I will remember for my entire life. Encompassing 20,000 miles, countless trips to Mulholland, five brushes with the pavement, a transmission rebuild I did myself (along with all other maintenance), and my first track day, it brought me all of the joy I knew it would. While preparing for California Superbike School with the fine tooth comb I had learned to appreciate during my engine building days, I noticed that the frame had two hairline fractures. The Suzuki had died a warrior’s death. After doing Superbike School on one of their BMW S1000RRs, I quickly realized how much better brakes and suspension had become and happily listed my Suzuki for sale. As soon as it was sold, I bought the 2007 Honda CBR600RR trackday bike of my high school dreams. It is my new commuter, and I am more than excited to burn through as many tires and track days as possible.
In addition to Bike-urious, I continue to work at Motorcycle Mover LA, a concierge style service providing transport assistance to motorcyclists. We utilize pickup trucks with motorcycle specific lifts making the loading process safer than ever, and a crew made up of enthusiasts like myself. We know exactly what it means to be stuck on the side of the road, or needing to get your bike serviced ASAP to be ready for the weekend. The Motorcycle Movers offer door to door service across the Golden State. Every job is organized specifically for the individual, so Las Vegas and other nationwide destinations are easily accommodated. The owner, Vincent Spina, has been riding longer than I have been alive and is a Ducati fanatic. His garage is like a showroom for bikes with desmodromic valves.
If you are based in California, look for me at meets and Mulholland. I will also be at as many track days as possible with the Motorcycle Mover truck, doing what I love most. If you need to transport your bikes for any reason, visit www.motorcyclemoverla.com. Vincent and the team will do our best to get you taken care of, handling your machines with a level of care and respect that only another rider as passionate as you are can provide. For everyone else, I will be here on Bike-urious, scouring the internet for your entertainment…or maybe your next track day bike? Or mile muncher? You decide. Happy reading, and ride safe!