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Athlete Spotlight

Posted: July 25, 2012 - 12:05am
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Photo by Jim BlaylockTrip Rexroat, 6, will compete in the 31st Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships July 29-Aug. 4 in Tennessee.  Photo by Jim BlaylockTrip Rexroat, 6, will compete in the 31st Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships July 29-Aug. 4 in Tennessee.
Photo by Jim BlaylockTrip Rexroat, 6, will compete in the 31st Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships July 29-Aug. 4 in Tennessee.
Photo by Jim BlaylockTrip Rexroat, 6, will compete in the 31st Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships July 29-Aug. 4 in Tennessee.

From two years of motocross racing, Trip Rexroat’s garage is full of motorbikes, trophies and awards.

The 6-year-old hoping to add a bigger prize soon.

Trip will be racing at the 31st annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., July 29-Aug. 4.

He’ll be one of just 1,386 racers who qualified for 36 different categories from across the country. He’ll compete in the 4-6-year-old, 50cc division in two events, using two bikes.

“There are several different nationals,” said Trip’s mother, Jennifer, a third-grade teacher at Brookwood Elementary. “This is the only one you have to qualify for. The other ones you can just kind of show up and pay your money.

‘‘This is where you get sponsors from, and everybody that’s a big name has always had to race at Loretta Lynn.”

Ryan Villopoto, Trip’s favorite motocross rider, was previously a rider in the event.

Trip got his first motorbike at Christmas when he was about to turn 3, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s advanced as far as he has in two years of racing.

“We put training wheels on the motorcycle for maybe two days or something,” said his father, Jeff Rexroat, who added that Trip never needed training wheels for his bicycle.

And since Trip started riding, that has been the sport that has kept his attention.

“I used to do baseball,” Trip said. “I wasn’t really into it.”

To get to the national championship, Trip had to first qualify for a Southeast Regional, then had to place in a certain spot at the regional. In Ellerbee, N.C., in June, he needed a top-seven finish on his 50cc Cobra and came in seventh. He needed a top five finish on his PW-50 and came in fourth.

Going on the road for the event won’t be a big deal for the Rexroats. They have a motor home and trailer and spend the majority of their weekends at races across the Southeast. They typically leave Friday afternoon, have race practice on Saturday and head home after Sunday’s competition.

“He goes to school during the week, and on the weekend we do the racing thing,” Jennifer Rexroat said of Trip, who will enter the first grade this year. “Our main focus is we want to make sure he’s good with school, too. That’s really important to us.”

Riders race on different types of tracks, but if it rained before the race, that would give Trip the kind of track he likes.

“I like to race in mud,” he said. “I like mud.”

One of Trip’s goals is to become a professional racer, but he isn’t in a hurry. When asked how old he would be when he turned professional, he thought about it for a moment and said, “Probably 40.”

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