While I started my first off-road race in 2017 (scoring a point, yes a single point, in my 3rd race) and competed in 1 event in 2018, scoring an 11th place finish in my class, 2019 marked the first year I’ve ever competed in a full series of racing. When I lined up for the Hangover Hare Scramble put on by Sprint Cross Country Series (SXCS) on January 6, 2019 I had no idea what was in store for the rest of the year.
January 6, 2019 – Hangover Hare Scramble | Budds Creek Motocross Park | Round 1
To be honest, the only reasons I was even lined up was because it was a good excuse to ride in the middle of winter, the weather was decent, my son, Noah had raced that morning so I was already at the track and a bunch of my friends were there too, so why not? I had no real race plans to speak of for the season but thought it would be fun and it was…kinda.
The green flag dropped and I didn’t get off to a very good start. Soon at the end of the MX track, I was caught up in a bottle neck with the other 66 riders on my line in the Vet C class. (Vet C is 30+ year old novice racers). Once the bottle neck cleared I was into the woods. Unfortunately, we’d had a lot of rain leading up to the race so the ground was sloppy and very wet. Coming up to a creek crossing there was a rider stuck on the bridge so my friend Luke Ross, who happened to be in the woods as a spectator before running the afternoon race later in the day, pointed me out a line through the creek…well, I buried the bike and it took a solid 30 minutes before I was pulled out by a 4-wheeler.
After that I navigated a very difficult track passing dozens of motorcycles stuck in the mud along the way. Unfortunately, I lost too much time stuck in the creek and got the checkered flag after one lap ultimately placing 52nd in my class and FAR out of the points.
March 17, 2019 – 4 Leaf Hare Scramble | Budds Creek Motocross Park | Round 2
Once again I was back at the track because Noah was racing and I felt like I needed to redeem my race from January. The track conditions were much better this time around. I felt good that day and while I only managed to finish 12th out of 13, I scored some points and thought I rode pretty well (for me).
April 27, 2019 – Brappmania GP | Budds Creek Motocross Park | Round 3
Noah and I along with Luke Ross sat this round out to attend the SuperCross race in New Jersey. While we missed out on racing ourselves, we had a great time at the SuperCross race where Noah got to do the track walk, meet Damon Bradshaw and scored an autograph from Cooper Webb.
May 12, 2019 – Boyer Farm Sprint Fest | Boyer Farm Track | Round 4
After nearly 2 months off, I was happy to be back racing. This round would be different than the first 2 I’d competed in as we weren’t racing the hare scramble format but instead a sprint enduro. Sprint enduros consist of a cross test (grass loop) and a woods test (woods loop) where you ride as fast as you can against the clock, one lap at a time. The rider with the lowest combined time wins. The day before we got to ride the course backwards and the track conditions were PERFECT but later that night the rain came…and it didn’t stop.
Waking up the morning of the 12th, the conditions were as sloppy and muddy as I’ve every seen at the farm. We had 10 guys start my class and at the end of the first test I was sitting in 9th place. The conditions were tough and after the 4th test I was ready to call it a day but I didn’t; I lined up for the final 2 tests and finished the race. By ensuring, I finished the race and didn’t call it quits early, I secured a 7th place finish less than a minute behind the 6th place finisher.
June 9, 2019 | Boyer Farm Sprint | Boyer Farm Track | Round 5
Back at Boyer Farm once again running the Sprint Enduro format the conditions are much better. However, while I still managed to finish in 7th place there were only 8 racers total in my class. While not super-stoked with my riding that day, I took the points and looked forward to the next round which unfortunately, was a few months away.
October 12, 2019 | Kevin Crine Classic GP | Budds Creek Motocross Park | Round 6
Because I’d missed Round 3, this was my first GP race. The GP format is part motocross (which I suck at) and part woods. We run two 30 minute motos and the combined finishes (in a tie the best finish in the 2nd moto is the tie break) determine the overall. In this race, we had 20 racers on the line however I only managed to finish 17th in the first moto. In the second moto things went my way improving my finish to 13th which resulted in a 13th place finish overall. I should note, 5 guys in the 2nd moto were DNFs or DNSs, once again showing sometimes it’s not just how you finish but THAT you finish. This is also the race “my friend” Andrew Tsakanikas threw a beer can at me after I crossed the finish line because I didn’t stay on the lead lap. (Check my instagram or YouTube for the video)
October 27, 2019 | VMP Sprint Cross | Virginia Motorsports Park | Round 7
Back to the Sprint Enduro format, I brought my buddy Tyler along for this race which maybe I shouldn’t have since he beat me (congrats on your 6th place finish, Tyler). That said, this was an especially fun round with the trail ride on Saturday, 2-up race Saturday evening (which Tyler almost killed us both) and all the kids trick-or-treating. I don’t feel like I rode particularly bad on Sunday but I couldn’t manage to finish any better than 9th place out of 10 riders. At the end of the weekend, I scored more valuable points in the championship keeping myself inside the top 10.
November 10, 2019 | Northern Neck Cross Country | Northern Neck ATV Park | Round 8
Leading up to the final round I got a text from Andrew Tsakanikas (yeah, the same guy that threw the beer can at me) saying, “you can still finish in the top 5 for the championship.” I hadn’t finished on a podium all year but I HAD finished each race I’d started after Round 1 so the fact I still had a chance to finish the season in the Top 5 gave me all sorts of motivation going into the final round.
However, the weekend before the final round I entered a “buddy race” with my “buddy” Brian Boyer. While attempting to run down a few guys ahead of me on the final lap, I crashed hard and ended up breaking the big toe on my left foot. Arriving at the track on Saturday, November 9th to take part in the trail ride, I gave the foot a go and put in some practice laps. Fortunately, the toe went numb after a lap and I was able to ride at a decent pace. After a few test laps, I called it a day and went back to my camper to rest for the evening.
As I lined up the next morning the Vet C line was packed as usual with 18 total on my line. When the green flag dropped I pushed hard keeping the front guys within my view for the first mile and a half. However, I was riding above my skill level and my luck soon ran out crashing for the first time. I ended up crashing 2 more times on the opening lap before settling in and just riding my own race. My finish wasn’t spectacular but once again I DID finish; this time in 15th place which was enough to finish the season in 5th overall!
December 15, 2019 | SXCS Awards Banquet
After a great afternoon of trail riding, chasing around the kids and throwing around the football, it was time for the first ever SXCS Awards Banquet. The food was great and I ate way too much, which is another story that won’t be shared at this time 🙂 Back on January 6, 2019, I would have never thought I would have gotten an invite to the banquet. I just figured I’d be Noah’s guest (who finished 3rd in the 65 class btw).
Some of the best people I’ve met have been through racing. Brian Boyer, Andrew Tsakanikas, Dave “Sasquatch” Dalmasso and their families, I wouldn’t have met them it weren’t for dirt bikes. We had so much fun this year getting to know the entire Knapp family. The Kilgores are cool as hell and Dan Lamey, you’re welcome to come by my camper anytime…but wear that light-up Christmas sweater so I have a flashlight when it’s dark. The Ross family…I’ve known Luke and Jake since they were Noah’s age or younger but it’s been so cool to watch them help Noah learn to be a better rider these last few years and I still appreciate John busting my balls because it’s only making me better as a rider. Finally (and I know I missing ton of people), HUGE thanks to Nancy and Billy Schlag for putting on such a great series! The layouts were killer, the trail rides the day before were so much fun but the camaraderie of the series was second-to-none. Can’t wait for next season!
So yea, I finished in 5th place in the “old-guy-slow-class” but I FINISHED.
(In 2020, I’m gunning for a podium)