Motocross racers enjoy thrills in a family environment at county fair

BIG RAPIDS — Motocross competitions may seem like the perfect stage for individual competition, with drivers going head-to-head on improvised dirt tracks, but once you got off the track and into the pits behind the scenes at the Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair on Friday, it became clear that motocross is all about family and friends.

POLE POSITION: (ABOVE) White Cloud resident Darren O’Malley edges ahead of Grand Ledge resident Josh Mosher (11) during the 250 C race during the SJO Productions Motocross Races at the Mecosta County Fairgrounds on Friday. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

POLE POSITION: (ABOVE) White Cloud resident Darren O’Malley edges ahead of Grand Ledge resident Josh Mosher (11) during the 250 C race during the SJO Productions Motocross Races at the Mecosta County Fairgrounds on Friday. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

After the 250 C race at Friday night’s motocross event presented by SJO Productions, Mike Mosher, his son Josh Mosher and family friends Aaron Avlesteffer and Kaydee Compeau all came off of the track and parked their dirt bikes next to the same trailer. A few congratulations were exchanged as the group traded stories and quips about the tight lines and close calls on the track just moments before they all went from competitors back to friends in a matter of minutes.

Mike Mosher, who’s diabetic and has been riding for 8-10 years, said he likes to compete because it’s a good way for him to get exercise.

“The exercise is something I really like about doing this,” he said. “I really like riding with the boy (Josh), he’s riding in the same class as me this year…I like riding with a lot of people I know in the same race because it’s probably safer, you know. I trust them.”

As Mike and Josh prepared for their next race, Alvesteffer and Compeau, boyfriend and girlfriend, held hands and talked about the race they just completed.

“I kind of found out that she rode dirt bikes, but, I guess we started dating kind of during racing,” he said. “This is my first year. I just like the competition and I definitely want to try to beat her in every race.”

“That’s funny because it never happens,” Compeau laughed. “He beats me at bigger tracks when we go to practice.

“We’ve been riding together since the beginning of the racing season,” she continued. “This is my third year. I like racing with all the guys and it’s fun to just watch them and see how much different it is.”

Compeau earned the bragging rights on Friday, taking fourth in the 250 C with Alvesteffer finishing right behind in fifth as Mike Mosher took second while Josh took seventh.

The close-knit crews didn’t end with the Moshers and company however, with Troy Burke, his son Dylan and Dylan’s friend Brandon Robinson.

“My dad really made we want to do it,” the 14-year-old Robinson said, noting that he’s been riding for seven years. “I just kind of eased into it with help. My favorite part is racing and the jumps.”

“My dad got me into it too,” Dylan, 12, said motioning to his dad. “It’s just something I wanted to do. My favorite part is the jumps and the competition…First is the best I’ve ever done, but I like to just come out and have fun.”

“From a young age I started out on the little dirt bikes like these guys did and it’s just fun,” Troy said. “The freedom to be able to ride and jump is great.

“Coming to these races gives the kids the ability to be confident in themselves and it teaches them life skills,” he added.

Dylan took third in the 85 C for his age group while Robinson finished in second in the 85 C for ages 12-15.

Deven Micek, an 18-year-old from Chase, was also there with a large group of supporters, and for good reason as he took first in both the 250 B and the Open B races.

“I started riding when I was really young, but I never really raced. Then when I turned 14 I started getting into racing,” Micek said. “I raced at Cadillac and then i kind of progressed and got to where I am now.

“The adrenaline rush (is my favorite part). Like, when you win a moto, that feeling you get of succeeding,” he continued. “Last year I qualified for Loretta Lynn’s, which is an amateur national down in Tennessee. Racing there was a real good experience, it was something I’ve never done before. I’ll probably always ride until I can’t ride anymore.”

With 82 individual competitors on Friday, while a trophy and a cash prize sound nice, it didn’t matter to them where they finished as long as they had new stories to share and lessons to pass on before the next event.

Grandstand action goes out with a bang on Saturday night with the “Night of Destruction” which includes slick-track mud drags and chain and wire, regular and off-road demolition derbies starting at 7 p.m.

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