Originally Published: July 20, 2015 11:50 p.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY - A little wet weather could not stop the diehard racers and fans from enjoying a day of motocross racing. Arizona Offroad Promotions (AZOP) brought its brand of motocross racing to Prescott Valley this past weekend. The races took place just east of Prescott Valley at Lynx Creek.
The day looked to start with a reprieve from Saturday's rain showers. The track was a bit muddy, but the racers welcomed the mud as just another day at the track.
The official start of the day began with a riders' safety briefing. Immediately following, a short moment of recognition was given to the four Marines and one sailor who were killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The U.S. Flag was flown over the track at half-staff in their honor, and the National Anthem followed.
The schedule of events for Sunday had seven races with each race having two motos (rounds), featuring 20 different classes of racers of varying skill levels - from beginner to intermediate and motorcycles ranging from 65cc up to 450cc. Not only were the classes wide ranged, but so were the ages of the racers who took part in the event - from 10 all the way up to over 50.
AZOP co-owner Richie Rees said there were just less than 60 racers registered. "The rain seemed to scare some racers away," he said Sunday. Still, racers from around the state came for a day of fun and trophies. Racers from Gilbert to Lake Havasu City and various places in between came out for the event. Even the fans were not put off by the weather, with about 100 in attendance.
"The track is in good condition and we should have some great racing," said Kyle Krause, also a co-owner of AZOP. "This is an awesome location."
The first racers to take to the track were the 65cc and 85cc beginners. The pack was led by 12-year-old Carter Beckwith. Carter won the first moto and eventually went on to win the final race for that class.
One of the younger racers was Austin Bradshaw, 10, of Prescott.
"I've been racing since I was 4," Austin said. "I like it because it comes natural."
Asked why he uses a Kawasaki motorcycle, Bradshaw said "because my dad likes it."
Another young racer was 11-year-old Nolan Deskins of Prescott. He said he likes motocross "just the rush, kinda."
"When you're out on the track it's like nothing else," Deskins said. "You get to do what you want."
Those sentiments were echoed by several of the older racers. Many of them said they like the rush they get from pushing themselves and their bikes to the limit. Other racers said that they do it as way to relieve stress from the work week.
One racer who uses motocross as a form of stress relief was Katie Larosa of Mesa. Larosa has a regular Monday-through-Friday office job.
"I look forward the weekend so I can race," she said. "I've always had a fascination with motocross.
"I have been racing for three years. I bought an enduro bike about four years ago and after a year I decided I wanted a regular dirt bike and have been racing since then."
The event had its share of excitement as the day went on. The mud was flying. Some racers had a face-to-face meeting with the track as they lost control of their bikes and ended up face down in the mud. Luckily, the only injuries were to the riders' pride.
Despite some turns getting sloppy from residual water pockets, the track conditions held up nicely. As the day went on clouds began to appear from the south. It seemed that remnants of Hurricane Deloris might bring more rain and threaten to shut things down. That was not the case, however, as the rain held off until the last lap of the last race moto for the day.
The day ended with the presentation of trophies for the winners of each class. Even those who did not get a trophy come out as winners as the day was as much about comradery as it was competition. It was good time for all, racers and fans alike.
The events may have ended, but not motocross in the Prescott area. Krause gave hints about a big race coming in October.
"It isn't completely set yet," Krause said, "but it is about 99 percent set up."
He did not give specifics, but said "it's going to be big. It should draw a lot of racers and spectators to the Prescott area."
Information about the upcoming event will be posted on the AZOP website at www.arizonaoffroadpromotions.com.