Disabled veterans work alongside crews at Barber's Triumph SuperBike races


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - "I can still do great things and make a difference."

Those are the words of a disabled veteran that recently worked alongside a motorcycle crew at Daytona International Speedway this season.

The organization that put Chad Clickner to work with the crew of James Gang/Hoban Brothers Racing will do the same thing this weekend at Barber's Triumph SuperBike Classic weekend. Two veterans will be assigned to work during the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series race with teams from James Gang/Hoban Brothers and M.O.B. Racing.

Marine sergeant Clickner said that his time with the racing team was an unforgettable one.

"I spent a decade of my life serving in the Marine Corps with people that influenced my life, giving me confidence and a sense of pride to serve with them," Clickner said. "The weekend I spent working with the James/Hoban Brother race team gave me the same feeling of confidence as a wounded warrior that I can still do great things and make a difference."

Driver Paul James, who rode to a Top 10 finish at Road America June 1-2, will host a combat veteran and her caregiver from Fort Benning, Georgia, at the Barber races.

"This is our third race weekend working with the Veterans Empowered Through Motorsports program, and we look forward to another rewarding experience as we work together," James said.

The M.O.B. Racing team will host combat veterans from Tennessee and Alabama.

The VETM organization was founded in 2012 as a way to transition veterans from treatment into mainstream life, with the idea that the motorsports environment provides unique hands-on opportunities.

The organization's website states that "veteran immersion or hands-on engagement is typically a component that is missing in many programs that serve wounded or disabled veterans. We engage disabled combat veterans over a sustained period of time and provide access to real-time activities and leadership in a high-stress environment."

Participants in the program can work in activities related to either two-wheel or four-wheel motorsports. At Barber--as at any speedway--they can work on any aspect of maintenance or repair that the team members see fit.

Paul Quast, an Army veteran who finished four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, worked with James' team at Daytona earlier this season and was involved in different parts of the racing process.

"Paul went out of his way to ensure that we had a great experience, from working on his bike to taking us to the flat track races," Quast said. "Travis [the crew chief] allowed us to help with troubleshooting a problem on bike. He made us feel like we had been on the team for years."

Practice and qualifying races for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series will take place on Saturday, and the eleven-lap race will be on Sunday at 2:15 P.M