ATV Motocross

Site Lap:Farewell Old Friend

Friday, December 28, 2012 | 3:15 PM

This past year has truly been one to remember, and as close to the situation as we may be, it may take some time to realize what 2012 has dealt in every aspect of our lives. There have been trials and tribulations, commitments and sacrifices, and most of all there has been sadness and joy.

As it should be, there is a lot of excitement brewing as to what 2013 holds, but right now for many of us in the ATV Racin' Nation, we are saddened by the recent loss of one of our sport’s greatest mentors, enthusiast and fan.

I may go a little off the beaten path today as far as‚ Site Lap‚ is concerned, but after receiving the news of the passing of Robert "Smitty" Smith you may understand why. Bob, Robert or Smitty”†whatever you called him”†chances are the word ”˜friend’ was mentioned in there somewhere. Smitty was not only the series referee, but he was also a friend to even those who may have disliked some of his professional opinions or calls on the race track.

I knew Smitty for a few years before I can actually say I was really acquainted with him. It wasn't until around 2005 that he and I really became what I consider close. He and I shared a room at nearly ever ATVMX since that time and we really got to know one another on a friendship basis. He told me it was to keep an eye on me and make sure that‚ I would make it to the track and stay out of trouble in the process, ha!

The one thing that always seemed to plague my mind about Smitty was, "Why would a surf-rat from California have any interest in ATV Motocross racing?" If you know much about him, you know he does have a deep seeded root in the two-wheeled industry. His son Ryan Smith is a professional MX and SX racer that travels the world racing. And others in his family tree include some other motocross and supercross greats. But what ties does he have to ATV motocross?

I think the best answer that I could ever come up with in my honest opinion is that he was as big of a fan of this sport as any one person could ever be. Something about it like for so many of us had him hooked. He felt a part of something big and wanted to help make it as big as he could. ‚ He took pride in watching the kids grow from the 50cc class all the way through the ranks. I often heard him refer to Joel Hetrick as "my pro rider.” When Joel won his first AMA Pro ATV race I remember looking over at Smitty and seeing how proud he was of what the youngster had accomplished.

He was also one of the most passionate people I have ever met. He lived for those 10 or so weekends a year that he would travel to the races. We would share rides to and from the track each morning and evening. We would eat dinner together and we would sit in the room at night talking about how to save the ATV industry, who was the next hot rider was going to be and relive the moments of each day that made each weekend we were together so special.

Sadly, I didn't realize how special until recently. I laugh thinking of the fighting, fussing and cussing we did to try and drive our point home. If you were standing anywhere in earshot, you may have thought we hated each other. But that is how we liked to communicate. Smitty was up for a good argument any time and sometimes either one of us would take an opposing opinion just because.‚ It was fun and we always ended it with a chuckle. I will miss those times the most.

Birchcreek Motorsports always had a special place in Smitty's heart. I remember fussing time and time again about going there or not going there. I really didn't care but since he was so passionate about it, I would just make up reasons we shouldn't go to fuel his fire. I for one will feel a much more special way about his home track at Birchcreek now and hope that somehow we can honor his memory when we return.

Another ongoing argument between he and I was about GNCC ATV racing. He called it, "your little trail ride" over there and would ask what kinds of snacks the guys carried with them to stop and enjoy while on their "little trail ride". He would laugh and say, "There should be a class where you ride for a few minutes get off and shoot a bow. Then ride a little further and jump off and shoot a gun. Then ride a little further and then have to catch a fish.” He would go on and on. Honestly, I always thought it sounded like a cool kind of race and if I ever have a whole bunch of money to spend, I will host a "Smitty X-Country Challenge".

I checked Smitty's Facebook page and read a number of touching posts and comments. It is obvious he was more than just an ATV MX referee. He was a real man with a real life and a real family. He had a daughter, five sons and five grandchildren. He had three sisters he tormented growing up as a child. He had a family and friends that cared for him deeply.

I read the following post from his son Ryan on his Facebook page and thought I would share it. I feel it will give you a little better idea of who Smitty was:

Dad - I don't even know where to begin, this doesn't seem real. It is the hardest thing I have ever imagined, I know you're in a way better place though and doing things we can only wish we could. I know you're up there doing exactly what you have loved for the last 20 years, tearing people down, throwing people out, and disqualifying people. I am going to miss shooting texts back and forth just to shoot the bull about "mutter", hicks, pops, or whoever. I'm gonna miss hearing you tell me how "stooopid" I am. I want you to know, I told you I would take care of the boys and that's what I'm going to do, I am going to remember the way you've raised me. You are the reason I'm so carefree at times, but very caring at others, you've taught me so much about life. There wasn't a day that went by that you didn't enjoy the gift the Lord has blessed us with, and you brought life and happiness into so many lives. I won't forget your last words to me, " Love you too ", and held your fist up and pounded mine. Remember the first time I made a SX main event, and I called you as soon as I came off the track and we both cried on the phone in excitement? And you kept telling me how proud you were of me? Well, I'm not going to stop, from now on, it's me and you soaring around the track each time I throw a leg over a motorcycle, and anything I do the rest of my life until I come home with you. Enjoy your day dad, I love you¢â„¢¥

The following is information concerning services and cards and flowers information. If you would like to share some thoughts with the family there is guestbook you can sign by‚ clicking here.


Norris Funeral Home

511 Church Ave

Danville, VA

‚ Visitation is Saturday at 5 until 6 pm and the service will be at 6pm.‚ 

Carl Reynolds’ wife suggested a florist there in Danville: Jiles Flowerland‚ ‚ ‚ 434-793-6211

‚ The address for sending cards is:

‚ 605 Dees Rd

Axton, VA 24054


As I close this week, I would also‚ like to pay respect to a couple of other families that have been dealing with their own personal losses this past week. Thoughts and prayers to James Perry and his family, whom I understand lost his father this past week. Also, sending condolences to Jason Dunkleburger and his family as Jason's father also passed away this past week and strikes close to home in our ATV Racin' Nation.

Take a moment as we approach the New Year and reflect on everything. Cherish the memories of our brothers and friends who have passed on. Look forward to what is to come and carry them in your heart wherever life may go. And we know that they would only hope we make this the happiest year coming one can ever dream.

Rest in Peace, Smitty.

Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.