The Life of a Dirt Bike KidPosted: Updated:
PASCO, Wash - The air is thick with the smell of fuel and dirt. The sounds of revving engines reverberate off the aluminum bleachers as the crowd cheers the high-flying riders carving their way through the dirt track. The riders battle for position and the crowd holds its breath when there's a wreck or a fall. And then a cacophony of cheers as the winning rider raises their hand after the checkered flag has been waved. It's a thrill, it's an addiction, it's motocross.
That was the scene a couple of weekends ago at the TRAC in Pasco for the W.H.R. Arenacross Nationals. And Southridge High School junior Neal Allen was a part of all the action. Neal has been riding bikes since he was little; quitting team sports after elementary school to dedicate his life to motocross. "I like it because you don't have coaches yelling at you telling you what to do," says Allen. "You can kind of go with your own schedule."
Neal seems like a quiet, shy high school student, that is until you get him talking about his favorite sport and of course his dirt bike. Neal rides a red Honda 450. "It's pretty much stock," he says. That means the bike he rides comes with all the standard equipment. But even the minimum will still cost you around $7 thousand, and that's just the start. "You have to rebuild the motor at least once a year and that costs around $500. That's if nothing major breaks. You also have to replace the tires and shocks a lot. It's a very expensive sport."
Turns out motocross isn't just a sport that's going to break the bank, it's guaranteed to break some bones as well! In his career as an amateur rider Neal has suffered 8 or 9 concussions, a shattered collarbone, a cracked shoulder and a broken wrist. After his shattered collarbone Neal's parents, especially his mother Ginger, weren't exactly ready and willing to let Neal back on the track. But motocross is more than just a sport, it's a passion, an addiction, a lifestyle. "I had a fight with them (Neal's parents) about how soon I could get back on. I started up again a lot sooner than they wanted."