Noah Harris, a freshman at Montezuma-Cortez High School, has been crowned the 250cc production class WORCS national champion.
His 10-year-old brother, Marcus Harris, raced in the same class and finished fifth.
Noah Harris has been riding four-wheelers since he was 4 years old. His first race was at age 6.
“I like just going out there and having fun, Noah Harris said. “I get nervous on the starting line, but it isn’t like I have to do this. I know I worked for it, but it is still just for fun.”
Tracks for four-wheelers are much different than other off-road tracks. These tracks focus on endurance with races that sometimes last for hours.
“We race for an hour, so you can’t just go out there as fast as you can, you kind of have to pace yourself,” Noah Harris said. “For WORCS, it is a beaten course, so it isn’t too easy to get lost. For the Arizona series, you just have to pay attention.”
Noah Harris is eligible to race in his 250cc age class for two more years, but he has opted to move to the 450cc quad next year.
He will make his 450cc debut at the Redrock 100 from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19 in Gallup, New Mexico.
The track consists of two 35-mile laps on rough terrain. To prepare, Noah Harris practices on his larger ATV.
“It is a bigger machine, more of a challenge, heavier and a lot faster. Older kids and adults ride in this category,” Noah Harris said. “Just riding and getting used to the size – the machine is a lot heavier and a lot faster.”
The Harris family has been off-road racing for 18 years.
Mother Amy Harris said that it is a way for the family to bond and spend time with one another doing something that they love.
“It is a family sport,” Amy Harris said. “We learned to work together and have fun, and it has been a great way for us as a family to spend time together while doing an activity that we all enjoy. And sometimes it is hard to find something that all of you like that you can continue to do together over many years.”
The Harris family consists of Amy and Kent, and their four racing sons, Ty, Jace, Noah and Marcus.
To be allowed to race in the Harris family, the boys had to be well-behaved and keep their grades up.
“I think a lot of it is because we spend so much time as a family and that is part of that,” Amy Harris said. “They have to do well in school, they have to be well behaved or they can’t participate and they love the sport so much that they will do everything they can to not jeopardize the change of them getting to travel.”
In addition to good grades and behavior, Noah Harris has paid all of his entry fees with birthday money, shoveling snow and yard work for his neighbors.
“As a dad, I think it is pretty cool that he paid every one of his entry fees himself,” Kent Harris said. “We always told him that we would get him to the races, but he had to pay his own entry fee, and his grades had to be good.”
The Harris family also demands good sportsmanship.
“Noah hasn’t always won,” Kent Harris said. “He finished third (after a crash in one race), and he was still a good sport about it and we laughed about it just because he was not hurt, that was the most important thing.”
The family worries about injuries, but Amy Harris said she could not imagine keeping her sons from racing.
“I just have to look at it as, you can’t deny your kids something that they love to do, and you have to know that there is someone looking out for them,” Amy Harris said. “I worry when they are on the track, of course, but I trust in their abilities, and I trust that there is a higher source that is keeping an eye on them.”
Throughout their 18 years in the sport, the family has only had one broken bone.
“We have had one broken bone, and it was Ty, when he was 6. And he broke his collarbone,” Amy Harris said. “They have had some crashes and some good bruises, but luckily no head injuries or broken bones.”
The next official season begins in February 2018.
“This WORCS series that we do, it will be a total of eight races next year,” Amy Harris said. “They start in February. They take the summer months off because a lot of the places they race it is just too hot, and then they start up again in September and go through November.”