Photography By – Jeff Pexton – Perfect Game Imaging (Pgiphoto.com)
Williamstown, NY – Since its opening in 2006, the family owned and operated Thornwood MX Park at the Hopkinson Potato Farm in Williamstown, NY has seen hundreds of riders and their families flock to the track for five weekends out of the year in search of the adrenaline rush of motocross racing.
This weekend, 390 registered riders took the track filling 26 different racing classes. These classes range in skill level from beginner to expert, and include just about every age group from the ages of four to sixty-five.
A sea of trucks and trailers, campers and RVs, as well as just about every mode of off-road transportation you could think of, fills the field adjacent to the track, as riders young and old make their way to the starting gates for each new event.
Looking out over the open landscape, you can find race flags, engine exhaust, and pop-up tents filled with families and friends out enjoying the gorgeous upstate New York weather.
“Everyone is like a huge family here” said novice rider Colin Ross. “That’s one of the best things about coming out here and racing.”
Sunday’s events would start with heavy hearts, as all riders would complete a memorial lap for Brian Cook, an avid motocross rider who was tragically killed by a drunk driver while changing a tire on July 6, 2012.
“This was his favorite track and his favorite place to be” said track owner Adam Hopkinson. “So of course we would hold a memorial in his honor.”
To many of the riders, the love of racing goes far beyond the desire to get a little dirty and defy gravity as they send themselves and their machines flying through the warm summer air. To them, it is about continuing on family traditions.
“I got into racing because my dad rode his whole life, so he got me into it and I’ve had a blast ever since” said amateur rider Chace Wimmer. “Racing teaches you a lot of things on and off the track. You see the sacrifices your parents make to come out here every weekend and you start respecting things like that.”
That message stays the same from those who have been in the sport their whole lives, and even for those who are just starting out.
“I just started racing this year and it has brought me closer to my mom and dad” says novice rider David Pitoniak. “They come out to every race with me and support me through the whole thing and it is just a great experience”.
It’s the thrill of racing and the comradery of family and friends that keeps these racers coming back again and again.
“I wouldn’t be able to this without the help of everyone behind me” said beginner rider Nick Kimball. “It’s a good family weekend, to be able to come out here and find yourself for a while.”
Even with the intense competition that comes with the sport of motocross, there is no love loss for any member of this racing community.
“You can’t beat this atmosphere and this community” says Wimmer. “Everyone supports everyone, if you need a part, someone has one for you. These people will give you the shirts off your back if you needed it.”
Here is the link to complete results for today’s races, courtesy of Upstate Motocross :
The racing will continue at Thornwood MX Park on August 27th as they hold their 9th annual “Taterfest”.