Vrooooom! Riders test dirt track
WINDSOR TOWNSHIP - It has happened every time he races, and this run is no different.
As Ronnie Farmer's 8-year-old son Camron rockets through the air on his dirt bike, Farmer's heart drops into his stomach as he waits for the boy to make a safe return to the earth.
The difference for Farmer this time is that the earth actually belongs to him. Camron and around 50 other riders zipped around Cross Creek Raceway on Saturday, a track made by Ronnie Farmer and a fleet of riders and parents, in an effort to keep the area's motocross maniacs right here at home.
Last summer, work was begun on CCR as a practice track for Camron and some of his friends. But as local riders caught wind of the track, Farmer began to feel the pressure to make it bigger and better, and fit for professional competition.
So, utilizing money from his own pocket and a local workforce, work began on Cross Creek Raceway located on Wolf Creek Road, off of State Route 775.
Farmer knows the dangers of racing; he worries about them every time his son climbs on a bike. But, as he reminds, everything has risks, and he believes the sport's influence on his son and children like him is too important to shelter them from.
"Look at these kids out there on their dirt bikes, these kids could be out there on the street, in today's world with drugs and problems like that, if you can get a kid interested in a sport or hobby, you should do everything you can to encourage that," Farmer said.
Farmer's latest step to encourage his son's hobby will be a big inaugural kickoff event on the morning of April 9th, with thousands of dollars in cash and prizes up for grabs.
On Saturday morning however, there were no prizes. There was no applause. There were simply dedicated young men, the track, and the 15-feet of air that regularly separated the two.
The accepted danger
Chad Trador, 25, of Proctorville got his first bike when he was two years old. It's his second time riding this spring, and he's clearly energized and exhausted.
In his 23 years of riding, he's received some injuries, but nothing so damaging to keep him off of his bike, and he's tired of his sport, one of the fastest growing in the world, catching a bad rap.
"Some people think they're just noisy and you get hurt," Trador said. "But that's the thing, a basketball player can get hurt and sprain his ankle."
Making the grade
Clay Snider's 10-year-old son Tucker has been riding since he was three-and-a-half. He's no longer nervous when he sees his son catching air, his boy's been riding long enough that he's made his peace with it.
In fact, Snider has allied himself with the bike, using it as a parenting tool, and an effective one at that.
"I know where he's at all the time, who he's associating with," Snider said. "Plus it helps keep the grades up, because if the grades don't stay up we don't race."
When Tucker's not hitting the books, he's hitting the dirt, traveling with his family throughout Ohio, competing in American Motorcycle Association sanctioned events. Snider said that as a result of racing, his son has made friends throughout Ohio.
A muddy grin
On a truck bed a few feet away, a teenage boy sits and drinks a Gatorade. Where the drink has trickled from his mouth on repeated gulps is the only place where his face is not caked in dirt.
He's smiling, and even though he just hopped off his bike, he stares enviously at the kids still catching air on the track.
Seventeen-year-old Andrew Fuller is very clear about why motocross gets his engine running, and it's not the speed, the thrill, or even the danger.
"It's fun," Fuller said through a muddy grin. "And my grandparents don't like it."