Long before Eli Tomac became one of Motocross’s most recognizable stars, he spent his days training in the Cortez area and competing in events around the country. Now, more than a decade later, two young riders from Cortez are looking to follow a similar path.
The Cortez riders, 10-year-old Evan Woody and 15-year-old Alexander Vestal, are pulling on their helmets and firing up their engines for the Amateur Nationals, which take place at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, through Aug. 5.
According to Woody’s mother, Krysta, the Amateur Nationals event will feature just 42 competitors in each class who earned the privilege to compete after a vigorous qualifying process that included local and regional competitions.
Woody and Vestal placed in the top four of their classes at their regional competition, which included more 60 riders. To prepare for both the Regionals and Motocross Nationals, Woody and Vestal have been training at a facility in Kemp, Texas, known as Underground Mx.
“We have a track at our house, but we live in a terrible area for motocross,” Krysta Woody said. “The nearest major races are eight hours away, so both of the boys train in Texas during a large portion of the year. They have currently been in Texas for five weeks preparing for Nationals.”
While in Texas, both boys are supervised by family members and a race mechanic, who aid in all facets of race preparation, including nutrition and motorcycle mechanics. According to Krystal Woody, both boys have been racing for several years and their passion for the sport is strong.
“Evan started racing when he was 3 years old, and he has been racing ever since,” Krystal Woody said. “He has a huge heart for the sport and even after he broke his arm earlier this year, he hasn’t wanted to do anything else.”
At Motocross Nationals, Evan Woody, who has qualified three times before, will compete in the 7- to 9-year-old 65cc class. Vestal will compete in two classes – the Supermini I and Supermini II.
Racers at Motorcross Nationals will compete in three separate three-race motos. Each separate moto will conclude after its third race and points will be awarded based on a rider’s finishes over the course of three races.
According to Krysta Woody, all three riders hope to place well and follow in the footsteps of Tomac, who ranks among Cortez’s most famous professional athletes.
“Last year, (Tomac) gave a whole set of signed gear to Evan, and he has been a huge inspiration,” Krystal Woody said. “Eli Tomac is god in the sport of motocross, and the fact that he is from Cortez is very cool.”
Fans interested in following the local riders’ progress can check out live results at www.mxsports.com/event/amateur-national-motocross-championship.