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Motocross racing runs in the family

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THOMAS J. MILLER
August 12, 2009
— When 6-year-old Dylan DuClos cross rutted and had another 50cc motorcycle “climb up his back” this past weekend, there were tears shed.

But the youngster, despite being dinged by the incident, likely will be back on his bike this coming weekend.


After all, racing motocross bikes is a family tradition, and Dylan has an older role model—his 11-year-old brother Jamison.


“He’s seen his older brother take some tumbles,” said their father, Mike.


Mike also competes in motocross, in which competitors race off-road courses that feature moguls, jumps and hairpin turns.


Mike owns Rock River Power Sports in Jefferson. The shop sells Yamaha motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs. Rock River provides the National Trackside Support for Yamaha at all the Amateur Nationals.


Alexa, 9, is the fourth member of the DuClos family that competes.


Mike and his wife, Shari, have an 80-foot rig to haul their bikes and equipment to race.


“We can haul 22 motorcycles on the upper level (of the trailer) and a car and Rhino underneath,” Mike said.


This past week, the DuClos family was at the 28th annual Air Nautiques/AMA National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.


Dylan competed in the 4- to 6-year-old age group in the 50cc division.


Dylan, who has been riding since he was 3, did well in the first two races of the three-race competition, but then took a spill and was hit by another competitor.


“He suffered a mild concussion,” Mike said. “He’s a tough kid and has been hurt before.”


Injuries are part of the game. But the DuClos youngsters love racing. Mike has been racing since he was a youngster.


“It’s nerve-wracking for me,” Mike said. “It’s a constant worry. Each time they go out on the track, it’s a nail-biter.


“I think I am more nervous than Shari.”


Rock River Power Sports sponsored 32 competitors at the national competition, which was more than any team in the country. Earning a spot in the week-long competition isn’t easy. Approximately 25,000 racers attempted to qualify in the 33 classes for the 1,386 available spots.


For his performance at the nationals, Dylan earned three sets of gear from his sponsors, which Mike said would cost approximately $200 per set.


“Just making it is a monumental task,” Mike said. “You have 1,500 competitors, and there’s about 1,300 motorhomes down there for the week.”


Jamison is moving up the competition ladder. He is under contract to appear in 10 national races this year.


He just signed with a trainer out of Austin, Texas, who will meet with Jamison for one week a month to work on his cardiovascular and mental conditioning. For the other three weeks, the trainer will monitor Jamison’s pulse rate, heart rate and calorie intake to keep him in the best possible shape.


Many of the competitors in motocross are home-schooled, but that is not what Mike and Shari wanted for their children.


“It does take a lot of time,” Mike said of the motocross schedule. “The Whitewater School District has been great. I went in and explained the situation about Jamison. When I said we may have to take him out to be home-schooled, they said that wont be necessary, and have been very supportive and helpful.”


Even at 11, Jamison is making money from his finishes from sponsors. Mike said most of Jamison’s winnings from sponsors go to his college fund, but they give him some spending money to do as he likes as a reward for his hard work.


Competitors can turn pro at age 18. Jeremy McGrath is probably the most well-known motocross competitor.


Mike said keeping his children in the sport is expensive, but he looks at it as a family hobby.


Jamison, for example, has been asked to compete in the Master Kids race in Belgium.


“I’m putting money into the kids,” he said. “If any one of them make it in the sport, great. If not, we have had a lot of fun. They’re going places and doing things that some people just dream about when they’re 40.


“They’ve been to every corner of the country. It’s a neat experience.”



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