Jeff Vincent, of Kenai, leads Ryan Kofoid, of Anchorage, in the Quad Pro Open Race 14 Saturday night.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Perched atop his training wheels-equipped motorbike waiting for the race to begin, 5-year-old Luke Rewis is all business.
Getting the blonde, curly-haired boy on the rig in the first place, however, is a different story.
"This is just normal, believe it or not," said Nancy Rewis, as she and her 13-year-old daughter, Franki, and 15-year-old son, Troy Lamay, struggle in unison to squeeze Luke's flailing feet into his racing boots and his upper body into a chest protector minutes before he's due at the starting gate.
"Once he's out there, he's going," she said as Luke reinforces his notion that he's more interested in spending time with his friend than racing.
The three of them are used to it, though.
Motocross racers in the 65-cc division clear the starting line during race No. 7 of the Alaska State Championship Series on Saturday at Twin Cities Raceway.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
It's all in a day's work for this Soldotna family.
With three family members competing in the 2007 Alaska State Championship Series of motocross at Twin Cities Raceways on Saturday and Sunday, the recent long, hot days probably seem even longer.
"Even though this is an individualized sport, not a team sport, it really does take a whole family to get your kids out there racing ... because you need someone to do bike maintenance, you need someone to be making sure that there's food on the table," Nancy said. "There's always little odds and ends to do."
Following the lead of his stepfather, Michael Rewis, Lamay first rode a motorbike when he was 8 years old and started competing when he turned 12.
From the time he began riding, it took him a few years to feel comfortable with it.
"I wasn't into riding that much. I'd go with my dad and he'd take me to the track and I wasn't good enough to ride on the track. I would just ride in the parking lot and stuff," he explained. "It was intimidating. I was little, it's a big track and just don't want to get hurt never really been on a track."
Roughly three years later, Lamay has found his comfort zone and is seeking his second state motocross jacket, the top prize awarded to state champions in each division.
Comprised of 10 days of competition beginning Memorial Day weekend, the Alaska State Championship Series just concluded its seventh and eighth sessions and will culminate with two more in Fairbanks on Labor Day weekend.
After a successful weekend, Lamay and his sister Franki are in line for the coveted prize.
"Every teenager wants it. Every kid wants to be able to wear that jacket," Nancy said. "Both are on pace to win another, if they don't get hurt."
That's really the lone concern for Nancy, the only member of the family who doesn't ride competitively.
"I'm terrible. I pace. I can't sit on the bleachers ... I have nervous energy," she said.
"It's excitement but it's worry because Troy has broken his femur. Injury is part of the sport.
"Troy, even though he's a top novice, he's running a big bike and he's going at a fast, fast pace."
A fan of cooking, Lamay said he wants to one day become a professional chef.
For the time being, though, he'll continue enjoying what he calls a hobby.
"This is just weekend fun," he said, adding that his family travels all over the state to compete in races.
"I want to go until, if I have children, they get into it and (I'll) be their mechanic or something."
Nancy said her son, normally a timid teenager, has developed a sense of confidence through flying off jumps and around the dirt track.
"It's a lot of fun. It really does build up their self-confidence," she said. "Troy's a very shy kid when you first get to know him but I know that this sport has built up his confidence."
Knowledge is another benefit, as everyone maintains their bikes while helpful tips are passed down the line from Mike, to Troy, to Franki and eventually to Luke.
"It is a family affair," Nancy said.
But one she's not planning on joining anytime soon.
"No, no, no. It's not a good thing to see me ride," she said. "I can play around. I don't belong on a track."
Matthew Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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