'I always come out and wear myself out to the point of no more'

'I always come out and wear myself out to the point of no more'

EUGENE, Ore. - Slam! The air-powered steel gate drops and five racers fly down the first straight, over the first jump and into the high-banked dirt hairpin corner.

At the corner exit, the pack breaks up as the frontrunner dashes ahead.

With only 600 feet of track left it’s a tight battle for first place.

The competition is tough in the 39 second sprint to the finish line.
 
The group of BMX racers in brightly colored jerseys that just flew past range from three to six years old.
       
With funds earned from parking cars at their outdoor track behind Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., the Emerald Valley BMX Association rents the Livestock Arena at the Lane County Fairgrounds every year from December to April to build an indoor track for dry covered weekend racing during the wettest part of the year. As one of only two indoor BMX tracks in the Northwest, participants travel from all over the state for the races held here every weekend.
       
“It’s a good sport. It’s a good family activity. We travel all over. I enjoy it. The kids enjoy it,” said Jason Germyn, 39, of Eugene, Ore. “I always say it’s a bad drug for me because I always come out and wear myself out to the point of no more.”
       
With racers ranging in age from three to 60, there are 30 to 40 bikes – “motos” as Germyn puts it – at each local race. Many racers call their bikes motos, as BMX stands for bicycle motocross.
       
As a former racer himself, Germyn jumped at the opportunity to get his children involved in the sport. “I raced from ’86 until about ’90. Then when my kids got big enough it was like, game on, get them out there,” said Germyn. “I had my little boy doing it with my daughter doing it, then my wife pushes and says you got to get involved now, and now I’m involved again. It’s a whole family sport. My  wife runs the registration.”
       
Germyn’s son, JJ, is only seven years old, but already has four years of racing experience. He had at least one second place finish in his class at the race on Saturday, January 19.
       
Other than just an activity that brings his family together, Germyn sees BMX racing as a positive social influence for his children. “They have a lot of great times. They meet a lot of kids other than around the house and at school. They have friends now all over. Everywhere we go to race. We go to Reno and we know somebody there – someone we haven’t seen since last year when we were there. It’s like a big family.”
       
Getting a young start is great for aspiring BMX racers. Riders are eligible to race in pro classes by the age of 15 or 16, and with BMX racing an official Olympic sport for the past two summer games racers can set their sights even higher than national competitions.