Sports

July 31, 2013

Gone country: Kendrick ready to race motocross at Loretta Lynn’s

Some 3-year-old boys receive the gift of a tricycle or Big Wheel from their grandfather.

Colton Kendrick’s grandfather gave him a motorcycle. A real motorcycle — not some plastic toy version, but one with a real engine, shocks and outdoor tires.

“His first one actually had training wheels, and he rode it for a couple of months before he said he didn’t want the training wheels anymore,” Tony Kendrick said of that first motorcycle for his grandson. “I raced (motocross) back in the 1970s and ’80s, and my son Josh raced when he was younger, but we all sort of got away from it. Colton came along and he loved it.”

He’s good at it, too.

“It is a lot of fun,” said Colton, who is 8 and lives in Crandall. “When I was little, it was cool and I wanted to do it. I want to turn pro one day.”

He will race today in the first round of competition at the 32nd annual American Motorcyclists Association (AMA) Amateur National Motocross Championship at country singer Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. On the amateur level, making it to Loretta’s — as it is known in the sport — is as big as it gets. The AMA championship is just a step below the professional circuits.

This is the second time Kendrick has made the trip, having also competed in the event as a 6-year-old in summer 2011.

Kendrick is one of more than 40 motorcyclists in his age group who advanced in the 51cc class after competing in area and regional races to earn their spots at the national competition. He missed the event last year after finishing outside of the top seven at regionals.

He will compete in three different races this week, and the competitor with the fastest average of those events is the winner of the classification. The competition ends Saturday.

While Colton’s task may be every kid’s dream — to jump over hills and race through the dirt — it has sometimes been trying for his mother, Kim. While others his age wear helmets and shoulder pads for football in the fall, Colton looks more like he is wearing full-body armor when he hops on his KTM Pro Senior motorcycle.

Still, she knows what the chance to race means to him.

“I guess for any mother, you don’t want them to get hurt and it was scary at first,” Kim said. “But he has always wanted to do it. We had something on television with racing when he was little, and he just fell in love with it. He would rather watch that than watch Barney back then.”

For mom, most of the race isn’t filled with tension. At the beginning, all of the competitors are bunched on the starting line, waiting for the gate to drop. After that, they tend to separate rather quickly.

“Going off the line is probably the worst part. After the first turn, you can breathe,” Kim said. “I have talked about him not doing it, but if you watched him ride and saw how much he loves it, it is kind of hard (not to let him race). It is kind of natural, it seems like. He is very good.”

After his early start in the sport, Colton won the first race he entered at 4. Since then, he has collected more than 40 victories across the South.

Motocross has become more than just a hobby for Colton, a Northwest Elementary School student. His grandfather is one of his sponsors and owns five different motorcycles, and the family has invested in a motocross track on their property. While it was a family project, the track is almost big enough to stage professional races.

Tony Kendrick said professional racers run tracks that measure out to roughly 1 minute, 55 seconds per lap. Pros have gone through the Crandall track at 1:45.

“It is something that he loves, and I love doing it with him and helping him,” the elder Kendrick added, noting that the family makes this week at Loretta Lynn’s a big get-together. “It has been a lot of fun for all of us.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo