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Carson Valley welcomes the newest addition to Northern Nevada’s dirt-biking family.
Photo: Charlie Johnston (all)
If there’s one recurring theme about motocross, it’s family—just ask Dave Richardson of Gardnerville. More than half of his 35 grandchildren ride. RVs are a common sight at dirt-bike tracks, as it’s common for entire families to camp out most weekends.
On July 15, the Nevada Motocross Park in Gardnerville opened its gates to local racers, professional and amateur. Pro riders including Matt Buyten, Ryan Ferris, Dustin Miller, and Mike Mason broke in the track, giving it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “The layout is good,” Buyten, X Games gold medalist and Minden resident, says. “Having a local track is good. [It] has given us the opportunity to practice riding and make a living.” While not everyone makes the pros, Buyten says local parks are a high priority. “It keeps kids out of trouble and gives kids not into team sports something [to do.]”
Kids and pros aren’t the only people you’ll find on the track. Vintage bikes, ridden by former champions, also partake. “This is an awesome property,” says vintage bike collector Keith Hill. “There was nowhere to ride vintage bikes. You can’t ride them out in the hills because you can’t buy parts when you break them.”
Mason, an X Games medalist from Carson City, says the new park means a lot to the local motocross community. “We all came from racing backgrounds,” he says. “As little kids, we had Silver State Raceway [in Carson City]. It’s all I looked forward to.”
Silver State Raceway recently closed, leaving Carson Valley devoid of a riding track. Enter Steve Brown, track developer and president of Nevada Motocross Park. Brown says opening the park has been his lifelong dream. “Northern Nevada needs this,” he says. “There’s a big following of motocross riders. I’ve spent three years trying to get this to go—and it’s not just me. Everybody in motocross came together.”
Brown hopes Nevada Motocross Park, located in Douglas County, is here to stay. “Douglas County gave me a chance to prove what we’re all about—what it means to kids, the community, and families.” The park is on a temporary permit from the county. “We go back to the commissioners after the summer series,” Brown says, while urging local families to e-mail their commissioners in support of the park.
Many locals ride in areas known as the Sand Pits in Gardnerville and an old gravel pit in the Johnson Lane area of Minden, Brown says, which can be dangerous. Neither site is maintained, nor are any safety controls in place.
James Sportsman, 14, from Gardnerville, is anxious to ride at the new park. “This is a pretty sick track,” he says. “There are [tons of] jumps and really sharp turns.” Sportsman, his sister, Alysha, 18, and his friend, Ruben Martinez, 15, all share a Honda 200.
Martinez says he also rides a quad and is excited to test it out on the track, maybe even go pro like so many other young people from the area. “That’d be cool,” he says.
Another special guest at the park’s grand opening, Trevor Snowden, rides an adaptive sports bike. Snowden, paralyzed from the waist down 12 years ago in a snowboarding accident, has been riding for about two years, and is an alternate on the Adaptive Action Sports X Games team. “This track is definitely fun,” he says. A big part of track safety is being aware of your surroundings and the other riders. “The other riders were plenty aware I was out there,” Snowden says.
Riders of all ages and abilities are welcome at the track. Riders pay $20 on Wednesday and Saturday open-practice days. Race fees start at $35 for the first entry and $25 for the second or more. Spectators pay a $5 cover charge on practice day and $10 on race days. Schedules are posted and ride times are monitored—each group rides for 20 minutes before the next category rides.
Nevada Motocross Park