Homer’s Dylan Arno (71) competes in the Pro class at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Dylan Arno (71) competes in the Pro class at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

State Motocross comes to Kenai, and gets big boost from southern Kenai Peninsula

The Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions – Motocross Division hosted Alaska State Motocross Races #3 and #4 at Twin City Raceway on Saturday and Sunday, featuring riders from places like the central Kenai Peninsula, North Pole, Fairbanks, Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna valleys.

And, of course, Homer and Anchor Point.

“Homer is actually a big part of our club and our board,” said Lacie Kelly, president of the Motocross Division. “Quite a few of them race, and quite a few of them volunteer here.”

Kelly, who has been president or vice president of the Motocross Division for 12 years, said Homer’s Phil Celtic is one of the division’s vice presidents. Celtic also was one of the 14 to 16 volunteer flaggers it takes to put on state races.

Homer’s Corbin Arno also comes up at least once a week to groom the track and do some watering.

The central and southern areas of the peninsula are big reasons the seven-race City Series at Twin City Raceway is able to have 60 riders.

The state series, which has eight races and takes place in Anchorage, Kenai and Fairbanks, had about 164 riders and 198 entries over the weekend.

That’s compared to 141 riders and 215 entries in 2023, and 98 riders and 154 entries in 2022.

Kelly said there were about 23 Pro riders Saturday. With gates that hold 18 racers, there had to be two lines.

The future also looked bright with 18 racers in 50 Novice on Saturday. 50 Novice riders are from 4 to 9 years old.

“We just had packed gates in a lot of classes,” Kelly said.

Although Kelly joked she remains president because nobody will take her place, she said she stays and puts in the long hours at the track because she loves the sport so much.

“The motocross community is a great community,” she said. “Everyone’s a big family.

“It’s great to give back to the community. We like to have a safe place for youth to come race.”

Arno gives a similar reason when asked why he devotes so many hours to driving to and caring for the only major sand track in Alaska.

“I think it’s great for the kids,” he said. “It teaches them some responsibility and hard work. It keeps them out of trouble and gives them something to do.

“It kind of nurtures that competitive spirit in kids, which I think is good for life in general. I enjoy seeing kids smile, and my kids love it.”

Arno added that the Motocross Division also makes the time worth it.

“You’ve got a great group of people here in Kenai,” he said. “There’s an amazing president that does absolutely everything.

“Without her, this club would be lost. You could call her the backbone of this club.”

Arno is part of three generations of racing out of Homer.

“I’ve always loved dirt bikes,” he said.

He said he started racing more than 20 years ago.

“I raced for five or six years, but then I wrecked my knee and kind of quit after that,” Arno said. “The itch is always there, but I can’t go out.

“I’m too competitive, so I would have to push. If I’m laid up, my son’s not racing.”

When Corbin started racing, his father, Homer’s Mike Arno, decided to start racing too.

“He was probably about 40 when he started,” Corbin said of his father. “And he’s 60-something now.

“Last year was his last year racing. He decided to hang it up. He doesn’t heal quite as fast as he used to.”

Mike also started a track in Anchor Point that ran for a few years in the 2000s.

The Arno tradition was carried on at the state races this weekend by Corbin Arno, who raced in the 250 Expert and Pro categories.

Corbin, a recent graduate of Connections Homeschool Program, said he has been racing for about nine years.

He said he watched his family racing when he was growing up and always wanted to race himself.

Once he got to ride and race, he was hooked.

“Just riding around with friends and forgetting about everything else,” Corbin said.

Tanner Houglum, an incoming senior at Homer High School, said his father, John Houglum, built a small motocross track at their house in Anchor Point.

Houglum, Arno and fellow south peninsula riders Tanner Gallios and Malachi Raymond get together to ride there. All were entered in the Pro category over the weekend.

“It’s amazing to be able to do something like that whenever I want,” Arno said.

Arno also said he rides at Twin City Raceway every week when his dad comes up to groom.

“It’s a great track to practice on,” Arno said. “Its jumps are big and it’s a big, long track so you can go faster.”

Houglum, who also was entered in 250 Expert over the weekend, said he got on his first motocross bike when he was 4 years old. He said he never rode at the old Anchor Point track, but does remember watching races there.

In 2017, Houglum started racing at Twin City Raceway.

“I thought it was a blast,” he said. “I had a lot of fun. I started on an 85 class.”

Houglum said the racing between him and his friends is always close.

“It makes it a lot of fun,” he said. “You get to push each other and have a good time.”

Kelly said more riders are always welcome at the track. She said more information is available at kprlmotocross.com.

Soldotna’s Draiden Mullican competes at 250 Intermediate at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Draiden Mullican competes at 250 Intermediate at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Tanner Gallios competes in 450 Expert at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Tanner Gallios competes in 450 Expert at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Anchor Point’s Tanner Houglum competes in the Pro class at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Anchor Point’s Tanner Houglum competes in the Pro class at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Conner Kelly competes in 50 Intermediate at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Conner Kelly competes in 50 Intermediate at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Karbon Lindley competes at 65 Expert at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Karbon Lindley competes at 65 Expert at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Shane Mullican competes in Vet Intermediate at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Shane Mullican competes in Vet Intermediate at Alaska State Motocross Race #4 at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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