Originally Published: May 28, 2017 5:59 a.m.
Though he still wasn’t at 100 percent following a battle with leukemia, Destry Abbott took part in his first race in a little more than a year at the third annual Prescott Valley Grand Prix, winning in the Big Bike heat on Saturday, May 27.
“It’s not too often I get to come and do the local races, we usually travel nationally and internationally,” Abbott said, noting that he lives in the Phoenix area. “This is a pretty cool event. I love coming up here and just having the town support us.”
With thousands coming to check out dirt bikes, quads and UTV races at the weekend event in around the Prescott Valley Event Center, 3201 N. Main St., there were between 400 and 500 participants in all the events as of 1 p.m. Saturday.
Abbott called it a family affair, commenting that his father was there and that his son finished third in the pro race. There were a lot of riders participating and he wanted to support them, he said.
The decision to race was more of a last-minute one, Abbott said, stating he had a chemotherapy session on Tuesday. Racing websites list him as in remission.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to race; rode practice this morning and felt decent,” he said. “I’m like ‘this would be a good race to come back out here and have some fun with my buddies.”
The Grand Prix had a family friendly and fun atmosphere, Abbott said, bringing up how the dirt bike community may be an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport with other riders wanting to help their fellow competitors.
Prescott Valley’s just a really cool place to race in the middle of a town, said Arizona Offroad Promotions Co-Owner and Race Organizer Kyle Krause.
This year included more obstacles, including a better endurocross section with three separate ways to go in front of the spectators, he said.
Abbott being involved was pretty cool as well, Krause said.
“He just got off some chemo treatment, so that was awesome,” he said. “He brought his son, they all raced.”
Another professional racer involved in the Grand Prix was Robert Naughton, who also designed some of the endurocross sections, Krause said.
It wasn’t just professional racers though as Prescott resident Kayla Dickinson raced in the Mini Quad heat on Saturday, something she said she’s been doing for about a year.
Dickinson said she came out to get points for the season and find the challenge to be the best part of racing.
“Having to push myself and trying to do better than everyone else and try and win for the season,” she said.
The Grand Prix continues Sunday, May 28, also at the Prescott Valley Event Center with the first races starting at 7:30 a.m.