On the morning of my 16th birthday, I flunked my first driver’s license test in less than three minutes. That’s what happens when you bounce the driving examiner’s head off the ceiling of your tiny Honda Civic because you didn’t slow down for an elevated railroad crossing.
Just 16 years old, Caleb Mead won his first 450R Factory Stock trophy in Wisconsin last weekend. What were you doing when you were 16 years old? Photos by Brad DiMaggio copyright Scrapyard Media (inset photo below courtesy Flavia Torrente).
Rookie offshore racer Caleb Mead, on the other hand, passed his State of Texas driver’s license test on his first try five months ago. That upped his license-count to three as he already had those required for hunting and boating. He’s currently working on his motorcycle license and Scuba certification.
Mead is not, at least at the moment, working toward a pilot’s license.
What else would you expect from a 16-year-old who took first place in last Sunday’s 450R Factory Stock class race, the second such contest of the weekend during the Mercury Racing Midwest Challenge? Just one day earlier at the Sheboygan, Wis., event, Mead and his cockpit-mate/mentor Shaun Torrente took third place in the first 450R Factory Stock race of the weekend.
Mead’s worst finish so far? Fourth place a weekend earlier at the Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City, Ind. But cut the kid a break. The Michigan City contest was his first race in the Mead Family Racing MTI 390XR catamaran, and the water conditions were “challenging” to say the least.
Sunday’s race in Sheboygan was Caleb Mead’s third race.
Walking through the lobby of Sheboygan’s Blue Harbor Resort on Sunday afternoon, I bumped into Caleb Mead, his father, Zane, and his 18-year brother, Caden. I’d met Zane Mead the day before—he introduced himself because he spied my Speedonthewater.com-logoed backpack.
Now they were on their way to collect a first-place offshore racing trophy.
After congratulating and, OK, hugging both Caleb and his dad—I’m just like that—on Sunday, I let Caleb know we expected to call on him often before and after races in the coming months and years.
“Thank you very much, sir,” he said, his first checkered held under his left arm.
“I appreciate the respect, but you can call me Matt if it’s OK with your dad,” I responded.
His father nodded approval.
“Make sure you pick up the phone when we call,” I added, and we all laughed.
“Thank you sir,” he said. “I will.”
We’ll have to work on the name thing. But there’s no rush.
In the meantime, young Caleb Mead will have to slow down behind the wheel—at least on the streets of his hometown. He already has his first ticket. Seems he wasn’t paying enough attention to the posted speed limit.
That puts us on semi-even footing. I didn’t get my first moving violation—a speeding ticket, go figure—for two years.
Editor’s note: “MTI At 25” is a weekly series on speedonthewater.com celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary. A new installment will go live every Wednesday on speedonthewater.com through the end of the year.
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