Twin City Raceway is getting a visit from a motocross rider from the top echelons of the sport.
Ben LaMay, who has experience in both the AMA Motocross Championship and AMA Supercross Championship, is competing at the Alaska State Motocross Championships on Saturday and today.
“It’s what I do to make a living,” LaMay said. “I’ve been riding since I was 3 years old.
“I turned pro at 17 and I’m 26 now.”
AMA Supercross is a 17-race series that takes place indoors in arenas from January to May. LaMay has finished as high as 20th overall in that series.
AMA Motocross is a 12-race series that takes place outdoors from May to August. LaMay has finished as high as 12th in that series.
“All the best riders in the world race every weekend,” LaMay said of the two series.
LaMay is not racing the Motocross series this summer because he said it is harder to make money on that series.
With the time off, he decided to spend the summer getting back to his roots in Alaska. LaMay, originally from Wasilla, left the state at the age of 10 to get competition from Lower 48 riders.
“I live in Texas right now,” he said. “I wanted to come back this summer and see friends, family and race while I’m here.”
LaMay raced at Twin City Raceway as a kid. Although he’s seen some familiar faces in his time back on the Alaska motocross scene, he said the Twin City Raceway track has really changed.
He said the track is sandy, which can make it a bit slippery, but said he found the layout really fun.
LaMay said he has returned to the state before, but only for a few weeks. This time he got here in late May and will not leave until early July.
He enjoys mountain biking, road biking and fishing and has been getting plenty of that in. He used his time on the Kenai to get in some fishing late this week, although he came up empty.
But the same can’t be said of four riders who were able to attend a two-day class this week by LaMay at Twin City Raceway.
LaMay is doing similar sessions in Anchorage, Palmer and Fairbanks.
“I’m just trying to spread the love and help out,” LaMay said. “They get to learn from someone who has been around the block a bit.”
Draiden Mullican, 8, of Soldotna was one of the riders at the clinic.
“I was pretty excited, but at first I was kind of nervous,” said Mullican, who has been riding for three or four years. “When I did it, I had a lot of fun.”
Mullican put lessons he had learned into competition Saturday at the state races. He said he’s able to clear a jump he could not previously clear, and he’s also able to stand up more on the bike as he enters corners.
Kash Williams, 7, of Soldotna also got a valuable tip out of the clinic.
“I learned to stand on the balls of my feet,” said Williams, who added he previously had rode the bike flat-footed.
These tips may not sound like much, but Lamay said they build a crucial foundation for riders.
“I really saw a big change in rider control on the bike,” LaMay said. “One of my big concerns is safety. If you can control the bike better, then you can start riding it a lot faster safely.”
LaMay said he is looking forward to the next Supercross season.
“I’m going to do this three or four years until I move on to my next journey,” he said.
Lacie Kelly, the president of the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions – Motocross Division, said about 160 riders showed up for the state races.
They continue today, with signups from 7 to 8 a.m. and races starting at 10 a.m.