By Ted Waddell
BRIDGEVILLE July 18, 2003 Motocross off-road motorcycle and quad racing is a white-knuckled, hair-raising event that pits armoured-plated competitors against steep hills and dime-tight turns.
It requires nerves of steel and the ability to make split-second decisions.
If youve got what it takes, the checkered flag awaits at the finish line.
If you screw up or the fates are riding shotgun, its a quick trip over the bars with a fervent prayer that you dont get run over by the pack.
On Sunday, July 13, the Southwoods Sportsmen held their third of four annual motocross races at Holiday Mountain Ski Area.
The series of races are sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), a national organization. It was part of the District 34/Metropolitian Sports Committee circuit.
An estimated 540 competitors aged four to 65-plus showed up to test their mettle and metal against the challenging course.
The staging area looked like a battlefield encampment, as riders hastily rebuilt their steeds of steel or sat exhausted amidst the rows of machines, taking shelter from the blazing sun and ardors of the hotly contested track.
According to David Jurgens of Livingston Manor, who is the secretary of the Southwoods Sportsmen, the motocross club was founded back in the late 1960s or early 70s by a group of fathers from the Messenger, Calhoun and Price families who wanted something for their kids to do.
At first, the track was located at the old town park. Then it was moved to a nearby gravel pit, before being set up at Holiday Mountain in the early 1990s.
Jurgens said the local track is considered the areas toughest, as the dirt on top of rock creates a set of unusual challenges. Dirt spins off the rear tires as the bikes and quads accelerate, and upon hard braking, the front tires dig in, forming bumps that get progressively worse as the day wears on into night.
Its exciting, and you have to be a little bit of a daredevil, said Jurgens. Its physically challenging . . . you go over huge jumps, sometimes a hundred feet in the air, and when you land it takes its toll on you.
Jurgens has been competing since 1984, starting out on a 1982 Suzuki RM465. Later on, he switched over to an Austrian-made TMM 500 and then a 300 c.c. KTM, which he rides in the expert senior class.
On Sunday, he was sidelined with a broken bike, but watched his two young sons, 9-year-old Jessie and 7-year-old Devan, compete in the ATM 50 c.c. class.
Among the local motocrossers are Billy Hussey of Liberty, Kyle Butler of Liberty, Patrick Doyle of Liberty, Kyle Endriss of Livingston Manor, Brian Stauch, Jr. of Callicoon. Several local motocrossers hail from Monticello, including Bill Klemen, Nick Price, Josh Price, Corey Price, Ryan Fogarty, Sean King, Ricky Hines and Sean Ketcham.
Brian Babcock of Rock Hill is probably our best local guy in the expert class, said Jurgens.
For information about the next local motocross which is scheduled for Sunday, August 3 at Holiday Mountain and/or the Southwoods Sportsmen, call Jeannine Price at 791-4439.