ATV Motocross

Site Lap: Diverse Nation

Site Lap: Diverse Nation

Friday, September 18, 2015 | 5:55 PM
Friday, September 18, 2015 | 5:55 PM

The ATV Racin’ Nation is one of the most diverse group of individuals I may have ever met. Folks from all walks of life from all points of the world thrive on the lifestyle in which we live. For many, to be able to race the Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship is nothing more than a dream. Those of us who actually have the blessing to be able to do this may not or never understand the hearts of those that may not. However there are a few that do. Some that stick out include Liam Cater from Great Britain and Vital Cazenave. Those two in particular stick out because they actually had to come to the United States to make this dream possible. Others may not stand out and for that fact some may never share their story or do to very few.

The youth ranks are the future of our ATV Racin' Nation.
The youth ranks are the future of our ATV Racin' Nation. Photo: Ken Hill

Earlier this summer I mentioned a young family from the Oregon that pooled their resources and dreams together to chase the national championship. So with a lot of thought, planning, hopes and dreams they loaded up and rolled east. The following is their story as told by Women class rider Miranda Williams:

Don't let our size fool you. We are just a small family and race team that is doing what we can to live the dream.

Phil and I met in March of 2012 at the first race of a new series in the Northwest, called Quadcross Northwest (QXNW). I was there for my son, Kellen, as I was not yet a racer, and Phil was back for the first time racing after taking 4 years off. We hit it off right away, and long story short, we teamed up for the second season of the series.

I was new to racing and had only raced two partial seasons at this point, but Kellen and Phil were performing at the top of their classes at QXNW and wanted to try AMA because of the larger talent pool it draws. Plus, racing at the AMA level had always been a dream of Phil's since he started racing at the age of 14. We got our first taste of what it could be like when Phil was invited to the inaugural ATV Pro Challenge after winning the Pro championship at QXNW. We were all in awe over the class sizes and heavy competition that we got to experience in Texas, and it made us even more determined to find a way to get to Nationals.

The first thing was to figure out our rig situation because there was no way we were going to be able to get six quads, all the gas cans, tools, extra parts, and a power washer in our toy-hauler. By some miracle, call it fate, Phil came across a semi for sale. We were able to trade for it, our truck and trailer, for the semi and trailer. Phil took the 2014 season off from racing to work and to rebuild the inside of the semi-trailer to accommodate our living space and garage needs. At least two of us (plus 2 dogs) were going to live in it for five months straight. Now that we had the rig nearly dialed in, all that we had left was to get quads ready and save as much money as we could before taking off.

We were not planning on going to the Georgia round because of funds, but at the last minute we received a donation to get us there. That was at 6pm the Wednesday before, and we left home at 10pm that night! Let me tell you that was quite the scramble because we were not planning to leave for another month. Thank goodness I had just picked up all of Kellen's home-school work that day!
Now, Google maps says from our home in Oregon to Lisle, GA, it is 40 hours (not including pit stops). We made it in 56 hours, showing up at the gates to the track at 6am Saturday, worn out from the long haul. You should know that we had no clue that most people show up on Thursday, and the only real practice you'll get is on Friday because Saturday morning is more of a site lap than a practice. We all nearly missed our practice laps because we were trying to figure out signups, unload, get ready, and WAKE UP. With being exhausted from the trip, and that track being the roughest track any of us had experienced to date, we were not that disappointed when they canceled the second day.

Would it be pointing out the obvious to say that we would not be driving back to Oregon after each race? Our plan was to get close as possible to the next track and be within an hour or so of a major airport. Phil works around the country, so airport access was a must! Thanks to our social butterfly, Kellen, we met the awesome Ford family before leaving GA, and they were able to help us out tremendously with a place to stay for the next two rounds. Trying to find an RV park that will accept a semi is not an easy task. While Phil had to fly back to his next job site, the Fords took Kellen and I to some local series races, and made us feel like family. It helped a lot not being alone for the first month and a half of the journey. We made many good memories during our stay with them, and we were sad we couldn't return after each round. Thank you very much, Ford family!

Between the rest of the rounds we stayed at various truck stops, RV parks, and campgrounds. Getting in and out of these places definitely stressed me out more than Phil, and all I had to do was watch. Speaking of watching, that is what many of the people staying at the parks would do. We felt like we were the free entertainment for the week. Even more so after some heavy rain, we were directed through a soft spot to get to our camping site. We got stuck and it took them a tractor and a truck to get us out, meanwhile the entire park of short and long term residents were out to watch "the show." After we would get parked and settled in, we would get bombarded with question and people wanting to see the inside of the trailer. I had fun sharing our adventure and unique rig with so many people, and hearing their stories as well. There are so many interesting people out there. If I only had flyers in hand I am sure I could have helped increase the spectator crowd. I know Kellen enjoyed each place because he would play and swim from sunrise to sunset, and he left each place with a handful of phone numbers of new friends.

Due to a few unexpected events we were not able to make all the rounds like we had hoped for. I had a get off before round 2 that kept me out for four rounds. Phil's job had some time line changes that kept him from coming back two of the rounds, and he had a wreck at Spring Creek that broke his finger taking him out for the rest of the season. Kellen only missed one round in the 70 Auto due to Phil not making it back because I was able to get a small trailer and take one quad for each of us to Sunset Ridge. He missed two rounds of the 70 Open because I messed up and put him the wrong class one round (Oops, sorry Kellen).

Despite our unfortunate events, we had a great time. Except for Loretta Lynn's I think we made it through the year without any mechanicals. Poor Kellen was running in third in his motos at Loretta’s but had a freak mechanical issue that took him out all four motos. For not riding the previous year, and not being to practice between rounds, Phil had some good starts and finishes in Pro Sport. Kellen's lap times showed him that he does belong in the top of the pack, he just needs to figure out his starts. I was finally able to put in a few lap times that were only a few seconds off of the top women's times. I just did it while in the Vet 30+ C class. Maybe I will have to run that one all next season!

Phil put in a ton of hard work to get us over to the series, and he already putting in the work to make it happen again. We want to thank our 2015 support: EIB Construction,, Lyons Technical Machining, Motocross Direct, Walsh Race Craft, Elka Suspension, DWT, Braking, EVS, Scott, Hinson Clutch Components, Pro Taper, Pro Armor, Vertex Pistons, Hot Rods, Hot Cams, Pivot Works, and Cylinder Works

For our first time doing this series we learned a lot, and I believe we know what we need to do to be more prepared for the 2016 series. We're looking forward to trying it again and hopefully with better results!

The kids have a blast racing around the track after each other.
The kids have a blast racing around the track after each other. Photo: Ken Hill

An amazing and intriguing story. One that will live in their hearts forever. One that little Kellan will tell to friends and acquaintances for the rest of his life. As cool as it was for Miranda and Phil, imagine what this little guy is thinking. He just spent an entire summer traveling what must have seemed like a world away doing what he loves with the ones he loves. I must say I am a little jealous as experiencing this lifestyle in that manner because has to hold some of the most special times in their lives.

That’s it for me for now. Let’s check in with Ken “I don’t know why I watch the debates because they are all full of it” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In The Loop With Gloop:



Keeping up with Ken Hill:

As I scrolled around the various social media outlets, it became apparent that quite a few of you are well into building your riders for the 2016 season. I reckon that is a good sign but it made me think of how really short the off season is when you consider we are less than 100 days before Christmas. So between now and the fat man in the red suit, many of us will be racing local and region events, a ton will be working overtime to get funds ready to builds and cover next year and then there is hunting season. I mention hunting because I have seen a ton of posts relating to that from all over and that sure can take away some of the dull moments found when no one is throwing roost! I tend to spend a few days here and there hunting, just a few.

It really doesn’t matter what activity keeps you busy and by the vast array of things that make you tick play out on your social media, one thing seems to shine through and that is family. From cheerleading, hunting and fishing, race cars and so much more fills news feeds every minute and behind it all is your friends and family. We all know we can not do any of this alone and if it were not for the tremendous support we get from our families many of us would not be in this type of life and that extends into every other activity most of us choose to do. I see it in your posts and comments and know that everyone of those behind the scenes deserve a medal. So a big thank you to you all.

AMSOIL is always sure to have a great setup at our events! Check them out at the next race you attend.
AMSOIL is always sure to have a great setup at our events! Check them out at the next race you attend. Photo: Ken Hill

Attention this weekend turns once again to Unadilla where the GNCC series will envelope the legendary dirt that has seen so many legends of motocross race on. I believe we hit 2200 entries in 2014 and we could break that record this year. It is a big deal, almost a rivalry between Unadilla and Ironman to see who can break the record of the year before and it is an awesome experience to be in the middle of it all. The series has a barn burner in the XC1 Pro class once again as the top two riders are mere points away, which always ramps up the energy as the rounds wind down. Last year it came down to the last few turns before we could crown a champion! If you are that neck of the woods, try to come out and enjoy things from a fan or rider and see what all the fuss is about! 

It has been a fairly quiet week around the racing nation although the Pro Challenge is ramping up. A good push on social media already can be seen as rider announcements are popping up all over. Do your part and help spread the word! I did see Joel Hetrick posting about his diecast/replica Honda. I do not know how many he has left but you might stand a chance of grabbing one before they are all gone. Beyond that, the highlight this week for me was seeing Ronnie Higgerson showing his support for Donald Trump! The candidate doesn’t matter to me as much as the fact young people are getting involved in the process that makes our country tick.

Root River Racing has a great program going on for our amateurs coming up through the ranks. 
Root River Racing has a great program going on for our amateurs coming up through the ranks.  Photo: Ken Hill

That is about all from me this week as I get ready to head out to Unadilla. My family has been stressing all week as our oldest son Cody is going through another Army training course, which has had him away for all of September. We have been able to text in the evenings so it is not as bad as it used to be waiting for snail mail to send news but I am happy to report he is doing very well and will hopefully graduate this class at the end of the month. God bless you all and I pray you all have safe travels as you stay busy living the dream!