Playing in the dirt

Bryant competes in high-speed world of motocross

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Britannica lists motocross under the category of “extreme sports.” It’s one of those high adrenaline activities in which life and limb are on the line every race in order to post the fastest time.

North Murray student Avery Bryant is one of those extreme athletes. The 15-year-old is spending this week participating in the opening round of competition at the 39th annual American Motorcyclists Association (AMA) Amateur National Motocross Championship at country singer Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., according to his mother, Lisa. The AMA championship is just below the professional circuits, Lisa Bryant said, and making it to the competition in Hurricane Mills is at the top of the amateur competition.

“I just like the adrenaline rush,” Avery said. “I like the competition and stuff like hitting the jumps.”

Bryant is one of about 40 contestants in his age group who rose up through area and regional races to gain at spot in the national competition in the 125C & 250C Jr. Limited Class. Bryant was just short of reaching his goal of nationals last year and he is hoping to make the most of his chance this season.

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

The young man’s path to stardom began when he was barely out of preschool.

“I was, like, five maybe,” Avery said. “We went to one of my mom’s friend’s races at Sparky’s Ranch (Blairsville) and kind of liked the look of how things were going there and all the excitement. I asked for a dirt bike for Christmas and started from there.”

Motocross is growing in popularity around the nation and already has a loyal following, particularly in the south, Lisa said.

“A lot of the fastest kids come from the south,” she said.

It’s also an expensive sport that involves a lot of travel, Lisa said. They recently attended a race in Crawfordsville, Ind., for regionals. Last summer, they went as far as Millington, Michigan for a regional.

“He travels all around,” Lisa said. “That was one of our farthest races. The way it works is you have to go to an area qualifier then a regional qualifier in order to be able to go to Loretta Lynn’s for the national race. So you have to qualify before you can go to it. I think there’s like 20,000 riders who will try out to get into Loretta Lynn’s and they only accept around 700. Avery is one of the 40 fastest kids in the world in his classes.”

Classes are defined by age group and the size of the bike the rider rides. Last year, Texan Cameron Harrison was the winner in the 250 C Jr. category and Hunter Nitch of Skaneatles,  NY  won the 125 C category. With any luck, Avery might find his name at the top of both or either category.

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