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.”

Text Only
  • Report: Boggs now with Giants

    Dalton’s Mitchell Boggs has signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants, according to Contract information, along with which minor league affiliate Boggs, a pitcher, will start with, was not available in the report, and Boggs was not listed on any of the online rosters for any of the Giants’ minor league affiliates.

    July 21, 2014

  • SE wrestling practice 5 mlh.jpg Herndon leaving Raiders to coach at Calhoun; new coach named at SE Whitfield

    Michael Herndon’s successful three-year run as Southeast Whitfield High School’s wrestling coach has come to an end.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hipp makes cut at qualifying tourney

    Chatsworth golfer Colby Hipp earned the chance to play on today in a U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament at Reynolds Plantation-Great Waters in Eatonton.

    July 21, 2014

  • 7on7 day 2 '14 17 mlh.jpg Devin Golden: Friday signals gridiron days’ official start

    Seven-on-seven football was a good placeholder, but it’s time to begin talking about the real thing.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCAC-B&W.jpg CCAC has strong showing at 14-and-under state meet

    The Carpet Capital Aquatics Club had 16 club records broken in a 12th-place finish at the 2014 Georgia 14-and-under Long Course State Championship meet Saturday at Georgia Tech’s swimming facility.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Golf now in era of McIlroy after Open

    Royal & Ancient officials, under whose auspices the Open championship is conducted each year, were blessed with a sun-kissed start of the final round of the 143rd playing of this historic event.

    July 21, 2014

  • Motocross kid 6 mlh.jpg Dirt, gas and guts

    Lucas Amos is like a lot of other 6-year-olds who will be going into first grade at Tunnel Hill Elementary this school year.
    He likes to play the video game sensation Minecraft, building different structures and fending off zombies when the sun goes down. He likes to spend time with his grandparents, traveling around the Southeast with them most every weekend.
    And he likes to play in the dirt.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: McIlroy at his peak at Hoylake

    HOYLAKE, England — It’s the setting which enraptures those who appreciate the things that accompany a championship, The British refuse to let a downpour or two, intermittent and inconvenient, to make them fret.

    July 20, 2014

  • MMA guys 1 mlh.jpg Up close and personal

    Dustin Dyer remembers his first fight — and he has wisdom to share with North Georgia Hayastan Mixed Martial Arts Academy’s three new mixed martial arts fighters.
    “It’s just another day in the gym,” Dyer said, “just with a bigger crowd. Here (in the gym) is where you work. Out there is fun.”

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Change is needed for major titles

    HOYLAKE, England — This is a good time to be Bubba Watson — long off the tee which brings golf aficionados through the gates, two Masters titles which puts him in the pantheon of the greats at Augusta, deal-makers hovering about, more perks than a palace prince, exempt status to the end of the decade and a cash flow that resembles a raging river.

    July 19, 2014