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Good but not so clean family fun

Motocross a family affair at Twincities Raceway

Posted: Sunday, June 19, 2005


  John Engen surveys his mud-covered quad Saturday after racing at Twin City Raceway in Kenai. Engen said the muddy conditions didn't take away from his enjoyment of the racing action. Photo by Matt Tunseth

John Engen surveys his mud-covered quad Saturday after racing at Twin City Raceway in Kenai. Engen said the muddy conditions didn't take away from his enjoyment of the racing action.

Photo by Matt Tunseth

More than 200 riders in 16 different divisions converged at Twincities Raceway as the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions hosted the Motocross State Series race No. 3 Saturday.

Dads, moms, brothers, and sisters all tried to get the best of one another on opening day while preparing to pay tribute to fathers on Father's Day as the state series continues with race No. 4 today on the Twincities track.

Mike Arno of Homer was one of the several dads competing alongside their children Saturday.

Arno was racing a 125 cc Honda motorcycle in the master's (40 and over) division and his son Corbin was racing in the expert division.

"We started at the same time pretty much," Arno said of starting the sport. "I used to race snowmachines and one day motocross seemed appealing, so I started racing and Corbin started as well. It's great ... something we can share together."

Arno is also president of the Racing Lions for the Homer area, which will host races next weekend.

Both father and son agree they race for the adrenaline rush and the fun of racing.

"I've always wanted to race and we did one day ... the adrenaline rush hooked us and its just fun to race," Corbin said. "He's (Mike) supportive and helps me out, and I do the same for him."

Arno and his son are both in their third year of racing competitively.

Along with the Arnos, the Kelly family had three racers competing in the quad division (four-wheelers). Mike Kelly and his high school daughter and son spent the day kicking up mud.

"It's my third year racing and I simply do it for the kids," Kelly said. "They're so much better than I am, though."

"It's real fun," said Sammi Jo, Kelly's daughter. "Last year we were in Fairbanks for Father's Day and I beat my dad for the first time in our own little three-lap race."

Sammi Jo, in her second year racing, can easily beat out her dad now, according to Mike.

"Even when we're practicing she just passes me up like I'm not even moving," Mike said of his daughter's abilities.

Mike's son Jesse may be considered the reason the Kelly family spends so much time at the track.

"Listening to the radio one day about five years ago, we heard something mentioned about races at the raceway," Mike said. "Next thing you know my son (Jesse) got into motocross, I followed, and then Sammi Jo took up the quad racing after it was brought in."

Jesse added that motocross is his passion and as a family it's "what we do now."

Ashley Brewer, a mother of two from Soldotna, also attended the races, but neither she nor her husband were competing.

Instead, they were cheering on their 7-year-old daughter Olivia and 5-year-old son Titan.

Olivia was racing in the mini-quad division and Titan was competing in the 50 cc division on his miniature Yamaha motorcycle.

"They tried it out about two years ago, when Olivia was 5 and Titan was only 3," Brewer said. "They liked riding and just stuck with it ... now it's their favorite thing to do."

"Its really fun (to race)," Olivia said, "I like it the most when you win."

A slightly shy Titan added that he races because he likes to win also and that the jumps are fun.

"Titan lives (motocross) and breathes it ... he's always watching it and learning the best he can," Brewer added.

"(My mom and dad) help me a lot ... I needed it today because of all the mud," Olivia said.

Rain or shine, these peninsula racers will be tearing up the track again today as racing starts at 9 a.m. at Twincities Raceway.

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