Dylan and his dad pulled out of their lane with a minivan, a bike trailer, and hearts full of hopeful optimism on Thursday, 21 June. They travelled 11 hours to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania to reach the Doublin Gap motocross track, host of the 2012 Northeast Youth regional qualifiers for the Loretta Lynn U.S. National Amateur Motocross Championships.
With a full day of practice on Friday, 22 June, Dylan got familiar with the track and posted some impressive lap times, proving to all competitors that he was ready to earn his spot at the American nationals.
The regional qualifiers consisted of a 3-moto format, thereby requiring skill, speed and consistency to reach the top 7 transfer positions to the US national race to be held in Hurricane Hills, Tennessee, from 29 July to 4 August 2012.
As Dylan got increasingly familiar with the dirt and ruts, his nerves finally settled and his riding got increasingly smoother. Over the weekend, spectators described him as “a surgeon carving his way around the track”.
Dylan was registered to race in the Schoolboy 1 and Schoolboy 2 classes. Of the 44 racers who lined up to race in the Schoolboy 1 class, Dylan took top honors, ranking 1st overall with 1 – 7 – 1 finishes. This title ranks him alongside the number one racers in six other regional qualifiers set to line up at the Loretta Lynn national race next month.
While his stock Yamaha YZ 125 lead him to the top spot against a number of modified 125 dirt bikes, it was a little ambitious for him to line up against modified 250 4-stroke bikes in the Schoolboy 2 class. Against all odds, Dylan finished 3rd in moto 1 of a class that had 52 racers who qualified in two heats. Unfortunately, he was not so lucky in motos 2 and 3, each one getting him tangled up in a crash where he got taken out by fellow racers. With Dylan’s trademark determination, he battled back from the back of the pack in moto 2 to finish 15 out of 40 riders. As for moto 3, the crash left Dylan without a front brake. With some disappointment, Dylan finished the moto in 20th place. However, with 3 – 15 – 20 moto finishes, Dylan ranked 14th overall in the Schoolboy 2 class. With any luck, a number of racers will opt not to make the trip to Loretta Lynn’s or will forego this class if they have qualified in more than two classes so that he can get a chance at redemption at the “big show”.
Dylan’s lap times show that he had the speed to compete in both the Schoolboy 1 and Schoolboy 2 classes. He looks forward to the opportunity to represent his sponsors – MX 101, Yamaha Canada, FOX, EKS brand goggles, Gourlay Performance Products, and REV Sports Performance – with whose help he will get to show off Canada’s up and coming talent.