Noel qualifies for motocross nationals
By JIM WALKER
Tribune Sports Editor
From coal country to the Coal Minor Daughter’s ranch, Corey Noel is ready for any kind of rough ride.
Noel is one of just 1,386 qualifiers for the 30th annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships that will be held Aug. 1-6 at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN.
Noel, 14,will be a freshman at Rock Hill High School. He has been riding for the past two years and he has been able to compete thanks to sponsors such as Holiday BP, Les Boggs, Johnson Glass and Bob Clyse Chevrolet.
Over the past two years Noel has won more than two dozen races and he was able to qualify for the nationals among more than 20,000 competitors nationwide over the past four months.
“I’m nervous and I’m anxious,” Noel said about his upcoming race. “These are the best riders in the country, so I’m excited. If I have a good week, someone might like the way you ride and offer you a sponsorship.
“I’d like to win, but it’s a tough sport. There are a lot of good riders.”
Last year at the nationals teenage stars Dean Wilson of California and Eli Tomac of Colorado were awarded premier professional contracts for the 2010 season.
Reaching the nationals is a culmination of riding in races across the country the past two years.
Noel got started when family friend Tim Falls talked to Corey’s parents Rick and Karla Noel in an effort to let the youngster try motocross. Falls’ son Jacob also rides and Tim Falls told the Noels to “let him try it.”
“We haven’t looked back since,” said Rick Noel who plans to make the trip with Karla and their daughter Megian.
Corey Noel won his regional qualifier and then won the modifield class at the regionals to earn a berth in the nationals.
The track at the ranch of the famous country singer Lynn will feature the top finishers in area and regional qualifiers who earned a berth in the wide variety of classes from minicycle for children as young as 4-years old to a senior division for riders over 50.
There are also classes for women and classes for both stock and modified bikes.
The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the races.
Motocross isn’t the only sport Noel has on his schedule. He has always played football, basketball and baseball. Although Noel said he likes playing team sports, he said motocross creates a different challenge.
“I’d rather race than play anything. It’s hard to compare. Other sports you have other people to hide your mistakes. On the race track everyone can see your mistakes,” said Noel.