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The Incredible Ryan Zahn

A couple of months ago we were sent an email, by Jessica Jane Hart, that began, 'I am a photographer and filmmaker based in Montana. I recently came across your magazine while surfing through flat track images on instagram and I was really excited to see a truly well put together and beautiful magazine focusing on flat track! For the last year I have been documenting an extremely talented young man named Ryan Zahn, who races flat track among other cool things.'

Jessica's photos and story about Ryan were perfect for Sideburn, and the story is in Sideburn 46. Ryan was born without arms, but makes up for any perceived disability with guts. He talks about his life, racing, spannering, off-road driving, and what dirt track means to him. Just as we went to print, Jessica got back in touch with the footage below, of Ryan taking his first race win, at Lords of Dirt, in Missouri. The track commentator makes the film for me, and the flag man's encouragement and reaction is superb too.

Ryan Zahn rules. Buy Sideburn 46 to read his story.

On a related matter, Jason Griffin continues to organise race classes, within big dirt track events in the USA, for 'para' riders and amputees. If you want to get involved, or find out more, contact Jason Griffin Racing (the one-armed racer, who we featured way back in SB4).

Slightly related, we also covered the mental health benefits of racing flat track in a feature about Evil Hours Racing, and coping with PTSD in Sideburn 45, and also a story from an unnamed rider about how dirt track racing helps them out of their darkest times, in Sideburn 42 (this article really resonated with people).

1 Comment

Ted  Ellis
Ted Ellis
Aug 26, 2021

Extremely talented indeed. Also appreciated is SB's treatment of Ryan (and others) as a "talented racer." Despite everything else he is, I'm confident he, and others, are more excited about mention in SB, highlighted before the entire global dirt track community, for being "talented racers" than for their incredible individual challenges. Thank you for keeping THAT the focus. Shayna Texter Bauman, Cameron Smith, and Jason Griffin are obvious examples of flat track "minorities" but each of them and all the lesser noticed racers sharing unique differences from the majority are in their own hearts and minds nothing but "talented racers." John Henry Newman once said "talent is sexless." Flat track is one place in this crazy world were "talent" s…

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