Another overcast, rainy weekend actually didn't turn out too bad for a pair of state motocross series races held Saturday and Sunday at Twin Cities Raceway in Kenai.
There was enough rain to keep things interesting for the over 100 riders that converged at the motocross track from across the state, but not enough rain to keep three freestyle riders from wowing spectators with tricks during intermission on both Saturday and Sunday.
Daniel Maciariello, a 19-year-old from Homer who raced motocross and performed freestyle on Saturday and Sunday, did not deny that riders love sunny days and good dirt. At the same time, mud has merit.
"We like racing in the mud," said Maciariello, who has been racing motocross pretty much his whole life. "It makes the riders a lot more likely to go down. The philosophy is the rider that crashes the least has the best chance of winning.
"It makes things a little more interesting."
Also making things more interesting on Saturday and Sunday were the freestyle performances put on by Maciariello, 21-year-old Mitch Moomey of Sterling and 23-year-old Drennen Swenson of Kasilof. The group jumps for Allred Enterprises, which is owned by Swenson's father, Phil Yannikos of Kasilof.
Swenson said his father also is responsible for the construction of the six ramps, plus one mobile ramp, which the group uses to perform stunts. Swenson and some different riders got together last year to perform for the state motocross races at Twin Cities Raceway. Swenson said the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions - Motocross Division brought in the freestyle races to try and get more fans to the track.
Swenson said he is trying to expand the number of performances Allred Enterprises does.
This weekend's show was the third of the summer. Last weekend, there was a performance in the parking lot at Twin Cities Raceway. There also was a show earlier this summer at the Que'Ana Bar in Ninilchik.
Maciarello, Moomey and Swenson all have scars to show for their time in freestyle riding. Maciarello and Moomey also motocross race.
A few years ago at Twin Cities Raceway, Maciariello, who did his first freestyle show Saturday after practicing for a few years, crashed during a motocross race and was, as he said, run over by 17 other riders all at once. He had a compound fracture of both bones of his right forearm, with the bones coming out through the skin.
"It was pretty sweet," he said. "It was the first time I got to see a bone. They are very white -- ghost white."
Moomey has sustained a broken wrist, broken ankle and multiple concussions riding a bike. "He's got a soft noggin," the others interjected.
Swenson shattered his right leg in a crash in 2006. He also has dislocated his left shoulder and sustained two concussions.
But the three were still out doing tricks over the weekend. Why take the risk?
"Freedom, for one," Moomey said. "Freedom is worth the risk we take doing it."
Swenson talked about the surge of energy the performances provide: "I'd say it's the adrenaline rush you get from getting that high up in the air and getting off your bike."
Maciarello elaborated on Moomey's freedom theme: "You don't have to deal with everyday problems. It's an escape. It's just you and your bike."
Swenson said the tricks focus the mind like nothing else.
"You have to focus the whole time you are in the air on the task at hand," he said. "As soon as you think crash, something bad usually happens."
In the intermission shows on Saturday and Sunday, the three avoided crashes. Maciariello, who was tapped to join the show when Cory Davis couldn't make it due to injury and Mike Wirz couldn't make it due to work obligations, said he didn't do one of the landings correctly, but the mistake was harmless.
"I was able to ride out of it," he said. "I made it look good."
The three are planning to perform when the Alaska Supercross Challenge comes to the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage on Sept. 18. Maciariello also plans to race at the event. Swenson also said he would perform at the Alaska State Fair. Swenson is working on getting Moomey and Maciariello into the state fair lineup, as well.
The riders thanked the crowd for its appreciation. They also thanked everybody who helped putting the show together.
In other news at the state races, Kris Sindorf, a rider from the Matanuska-Susitna valleys, earned the Jeff Vincent Memorial Trophy. Sindorf earned the award by winning the Quad Expert class on Saturday. Jeff Vincent is a local Quad Expert rider who was killed in a car crash last year.
The results of the state races should be available in the Clarion this week.
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