Motocross event brings 117 riders to fairgroundsJuly 30, 2018
By ALLEN LAMAN
BRETZVILLE — The hum of engines buzzed throughout the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds on Sunday when a newly-constructed dirt racetrack welcomed a new competition to the county.
Built and designed by representatives associated with Vincennes-based Outlaw MX and community volunteers, the structure is filled with big jumps, sharp turns, and Sunday, a big, adopted family of riders that said the bonds they’ve formed through racing are as thick as blood.
The track — which hosted motocross, four-wheeler and side-by-side utility vehicle races Sunday — was a point of contention last fall, when residents living in a nearby neighborhood publicly opposed the idea, expressing concerns about noise and public safety.
According to Herald archives, races were originally proposed to be hosted at the track monthly from March to October. After several meetings and discussions with neighbors, the 4-H Council decided in January to not install the track at that time. The council later decided to host a motocross race once a year as part of the 4-H Fair. The track will now be seeded with grass in its current form and left to nature until next year.
Before races began Sunday, nationally ranked four-wheeler driver and fairgrounds track designer Tyler Trent of Huntingburg said he hoped those who opposed the track would come and see the good that racing offers.
“Once they see how much of a family sport it is and all the people that’s come out here ... I think once they come over here and see it, they’ll change their mind and want to come back,” said Trent, 20.
Practices were held at the track Saturday night and Sunday morning, and races took place from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The ages of the 117 riders ranged from beginners who are 4 years old all the way to veterans in their mid-50s. About 30 of the participants live in Dubois County.
The day of racing was divided into heats that separated the vehicles based on their size and speed. Most of the races featured 6 or 7 riders. The top three finishers in each competition class received plaques, and races for cash were also hosted.
Though the new track — which is located on the portion of the land on the northwest side of the fairgrounds and took shape over the course of the past month — is currently slated to be used only once a year, organizers hope to eventually host more races at the track. The closest public track is located more than an hour away at the Knox County Fairgrounds in Bicknell and is also operated by Outlaw MX.
Gunnar Eller, 11, of Hutsonville, Illinois, is a dirt bike rider, and he said he loved the Dubois County track because it felt awesome to ride on. He added he’d come back anytime if he had the option.
Traveling is a huge part of the sport. It’s how many of the riders make some of their closest friends, like Gunnar and Elek Hatton, who live more than 30 miles apart and probably would not have met if it weren’t for racing. But still, Dubois County riders were happy to have something close to home.
“I hope an event like this helps the dealerships and helps draw attention to the sport,” said William Fenneman, 29, who lives between Huntingburg and Dale. “That it is a family event, and is not necessarily meant to be a wild party scene that you see at some locations. This is definitely designed to be a family event.”
Gunnar’s mother, Tasha, said racing teaches kids the importance of responsibility and commitment, as well as practical maintenance skills like how to change a tire or oil. Elek’s father, Scott, said he believes it’s a good option for kids who don’t like ball sports. And Brent Sutton of Huntingburg said building a track in the county will open kids to an activity they may never have experienced without it.
“A lot of these kids won’t have the opportunity to do this otherwise,” he said.
He later added: “In this area, what is there for kids to do? Once they get past Teen Outback and Skate Palace, there’s just this big opening. And if they’re not in (ball) sports ... this sport, we felt like deserved to be supported in this area like everything else.”
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