Numbers may have been down Saturday and Sunday at the Alaska State Motocross Champioships at Twin City Raceway, but for Shane Mullican, 37, of Soldotna, it was still a great way to spend Father’s Day with his son, 9-year-old Draiden, and nephew, 8-year-old Kash Williams of Soldotna.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Shane said, looking at the two young riders. “They get out here and practice on the weekdays, then on the weekend they race really well.”
Lacie Kelly, the president of the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions – Motocross Division, said there were 76 individual riders registered for 114 classes. The number is usually double that.
The state championships are an eight-race series taking place in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Kenai. The Motocross Division was hosting the third and fourth races in the series over the weekend.
“I don’t know if it’s the weather, but the Anchorage state race was down too,” Kelly said, adding that city races also have been down. “We just need more people riding.
“More kids need to be involved. Parents need to get their kids on bikes.”
Shane Mullican is happy his son, Draiden, got on a bike at 4 years old. Draiden was inspired by his brother, 20-year-old Cole Crandall.
“I always wanted to be like my brother,” said Draiden, who is going into the fourth grade at Soldotna Elementary. “One day I watched him and I really wanted to do it.”
Now that he’s been at it for a few years, Draiden is having a blast, with one of his highlights being winning trophies. He has won city and state titles in both 50cc B and 50cc A. He has also taken a city title at 65cc.
“I also really like making new friends,” said Draiden, who was racing at 50 A and 65 Novice this weekend. “They’re cool and nice to me and they check on me a bunch.”
When Williams saw his cousin riding, he couldn’t resist and also started at age 4.
“I was watching him and it seemed a little fun,” said Williams, who will be a third-grader at Soldotna Elementary and was racing 50 A this weekend.
Williams, who celebrated his birthday Saturday by getting a baby bearded dragon, has a 50 B city title to his credit. Draiden and Williams say they are both proud members of the race team of grandparents John and Joyce Mullican of Soldotna.
Kelly said one thing that may hold numbers down are crashes. As of late Sunday afternoon, she said there were two ambulance trips to the track, but in the past there have been as many as four or five.
One of those trips was for Crandall. The track was a little mucky, and nobody was able to clear a 125-foot jump, the track’s biggest. Crandall went for it, came up short and broke his femur.
Even after that accident, Shane Mullican was quick to defend the sport. Mullican grew up messing around on bikes, but never raced.
“It keeps them out of trouble and gives them a place to ride,” he said. “The ditches and trails around here are not maintained, but they do a great job of taking care of this track.
“This is much safer than riding on the sides of roads.”
Mullican also pointed out there are medics on scene in the case of an accident. That’s obviously not the case when freelancing on the sides of roads.
Mullican said the family spends nearly every weekend in the summer racing, and he’ll be happy to do so as long as they boys want to keep it up.
“It’s great for us,” he said. “It keeps us busy.”
Draiden and Kash had plenty of help from family members in learning to ride, but Kelly said she knows learning the sport can be intimidating without family expertise. She said if anybody contacts her on Facebook at Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions – Motocross Division, she can set up riding lessons with pros.