Blankenship motors way to Nationals

Published 10:42 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

Marshall Blankenship displays his winning ticket to the Nationals

By Jim Walker

CHESAPEAKE — Marshall Blankenship is too young to say, “I told you so.” But he’s been doing it with his actions.

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The 6-year-old Blankenship was born seven weeks premature and weighed a mere 4-pounds, 9-ounces. That raised a lot of questions and concerns about how he would develop.

Marshall Blankenship

He now weighs 60 pounds.

When Blankenship decided to start racing motocross at the age of four, there were a lot of skeptics.

This past weekend at the ChillitownMX motocross qualifier in Chillicothe, Blankenship raced his way to a berth in the Nationals.

Blankenship — who will be a first-grade student at Chesapeake Elementary this fall — is set to compete in the Nationals to be held at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Tennessee at the end of July.

Blankenship is classified as one of the 40 fastest youths in the world in the 50cc junior dirt bike division.

Danny Fry had a son Tristan who began motocross when he was young and now Fry is training Marshall.

Fry has a small dirt track just outside of Coal Grove and Marshall has been coming to the track between two and three times a week.

“He did well and I said ‘maybe you should go to a qualifier.’ A lot of people had doubts that Marshall would do well but he’s proved them wrong,” said Fry. “He’s worked really hard. He’s done well.”

Blankenship enjoys racing but admits it creates plenty of emotional ups and downs.

“Sometimes it’s scary because you never know when you’re going to wreck. But I still get up and go,” he said.

Getting a chance to run in the Nationals is a great opportunity but he admits he has mixed emotions.

“I’m half excited and half scared,” said Blankenship.

But the ups outweigh the downs.

“I like it when you win and I like doing jumps, and all the friends you make,” said Blankenship.

The son of Jacob and Brittany Blankenship of Chesapeake, Marshall has caused a lot of anxious moments with his racing.

“Mommy is a nervous wreck,” said Brittany. “Dad is able to stay calm and relaxed and I don’t know how.”

Those nerves will continue to be tested and not just at the Nationals in July because Marshall has no plans to quit.

“As long as I can,” Marshall said when asked how long he plans to keep racing.