Friday, May 9, 2014

Little Motorcycle Racer

It all started when my husband got a "screaming deal" on three used dirtbikes. They were clearly too big for our kids, but the thought was that they would eventually grow into them...and we could ride them in the meantime. Barrett, my six year old, would not settle for this. He begged to ride the smallest of the three, the Honda 100. He couldn't even touch the ground when he sat on it. My husband gave in, strapped on all of Barrett's safety gear, kickstarted the bike for him, and let him ride. The thought was that he would have a hard time with it, and wouldn't ask to ride again. Instead, something else happened. My skinny six year old controlled the bike like a skilled adult. He leaned into turns, picked up speed on straight aways, and maneuvered around our cluttered property like he had been doing it since birth. It was the first time that he had ever rode something with a clutch, and a twist throttle. I knew my boy was athletic, and an above average driver of anything he had ever been given: bikes, power wheels, four-wheelers, and a little two-seater ORV called a RZR. However, I had no idea that he had gifts of this magnitude.

Five minutes after he jumped off the dirtbike we were at the KTM dealership buying him a new racing bike (okay,it was probably more like a week later). Then Gunther, my five year old, got a four-wheeler to ride (he couldn't cut it on a dirtbike). Then my husband bought a racing dirtbike for himself, so that he could keep up with our children. Somewhere in that time span my two year old ended up with a little Honda dirtbike with training wheels (Ridiculous. I know).  A camping trailer/toy hauler (used) was our next expense, because we had to be able to haul all of our motorized stuff. We joined a cross country racing association. My husband decided to race so that he could be a "better coach", but I suspect he also enjoys riding. Within our family we have three different racing classes, and once Axel is big enough, I'm sure we will have four. Now every other weekend we are camping at some different track, often in some remote part of Oklahoma. I should remind you that we are not rich. Once you throw in the riding clothes, the safety gear, the upkeep of the bikes, and the quad, the gas to get to's enough for mama to have a tummy tuck, a designer wardrobe, and a Vespa scooter. I don't have any of that shit. The cost somehow doesn't seem important when my whole family is having a blast on a regular basis, though.

So far, Barrett has medaled in every race he has entered. No surprise. I've seen him give up first place to another rider, though. He has the skill, but he lacks aggression. I consider his politeness, and sweetness a positive attribute of his personality. I wouldn't trade his sweet demeanor for a stack of first place medals.  We are working on teaching him that it's okay to pass somebody. At the motorcross track by our house, there are several adult riders, some who are pro, or semi-pro, who have taken an interest in him. "This is his first year riding? He's only six? Wow." It is his sweetness, and humility that endears people to him. He doesn't even take credit for his talent. Barrett says: "God gave me a happy gift" when somebody refers to his riding skill. He's the type that everyone wants to cheer on.

My five year old, and my husband have also done fairly well in their own racing classes. Gunther even got first place once. We were surprised at his victory, as he never seems to be in that much of a hurry when he's racing...or doing anything. You know what they say about slow and steady, though. It turns out that they do, sometimes, win the race.  My husband has actually done really great for a guy that randomly started racing dirtbikes at age thirty four. He races against a lot of ex-motorcross racers, and people with MUCH more experience. Jason usually beats at least half of his competitors. Darn good for an aging Daddy.

I'm most proud of the reputation my boys have earned within our racing association.They are known for having heart. Both Barrett, and Gunther have had an incident or two during a race, or practice. Once Gunther ran into a tree. Barrett's bike overheated, and he crashed onto a creek bank during the same race. They have never had any serious injuries. The safety gear has done its job thus far. Anytime something  has happened, they have both just gotten back on their ride, and trucked on. Other parents, who have witnessed this say that their kid would have declared themselves done in the same situation. I'm astounded that my boys, who have been known to dramatize an injury from time to time, are capable of sucking it up and moving on. I nevet hear complaints about this or that hurting until we are home.

1 comment:

Messy Tessy said...

Hey Audrey! This is super cool. My nephew always talks about becoming a race car driver and I've been thinking about getting him enrolled in MSF Dirtbike school. I just got my M2 license and I'm hoping to get a bike at the end of the year. I wish my parents were cool enough to have gotten me into racing as a kid! Hope to see your son on the X-Games one day!