By Eric Barnes
MEDINA – Tyler Stonewall Jackson (his real name) knows a thing or two about motocross. The 25-year-old has been riding motorcycles on dirt for as long as he can remember.
“I was probably 11 or 12 years old when I started racing,” the Medina resident said prior to Tuesday night’s motocross event at the Medina County Fair. “I’ve been racing the Medina County Fair since 1998.”
Jackson said he first rode a motorcycle when he was 4 years old.
“Mom and Dad got me started,” Jackson said of his love for dirt bikes. “(My dad) was a rider, an enthusiast. He put me on a bike (as a kid), and 20 years later I’m still doing the same thing.”
It was a different story for Cloverleaf High student Jacob Gross.
Riding his blue Yamaha 450 quad caked with mud after a practice round, the 17-year-old said Tuesday was his first motocross race.
“I’ve been riding for a few months; about six months I guess,” Gross said.
“A tad,” he said. “But not too bad. I’ve been practicing. I practice at my house. I’ve got a track there. I try to practice about three hours a day.”
Being it was his first race, Gross wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the competition.
“I think I’ll do decent,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t wreck.”
It was a different take from the motocross veteran Jackson, who took first place last year in the College Boy (ages 16-24) division and placed second in the 450B class at the fair.
“I’m going for the win,” he said with a chuckle and a wide grin. “The competition is pretty good. Usually 450B is tough. It should be a pretty hard class again this year.”
Like Gross, Jackson spends a good deal of his free time honing his skills on the motorcycle.
“I try to practice at least three times a week.” he said. “I have a private track at my house and a couple local tracks we go to. Then I either lay low on the weekends or go race somewhere.”
Time isn’t the only thing Jackson spends on his hobby. Racing motocross can be expensive, and the toll a racing season takes on a bike is significant.
Jackson proudly stood next to his lime green 2012 Kawasaki KX450F. The bike has a list price of over $8,000 and a racing life of only a dozen or so races.
“It’s usually one bike per season. That’s usually how it goes,” Jackson said. “Sometimes I can get two seasons out of one; depends on how many races I do.”
He said he only “gets to about six races a year, maybe five.”
Jackson, who has his middle name “Stonewall” tattooed across the top of his back, said he chose motocross over other sports as a kid because “I was too skinny for football and stuff when I was younger.
“I’m only about a buck-70 now,” he said, laughing. “I was about a buck-40 back then.”
When he’s not racing, Jackson works for a landscape stone company in Medina owned by his family.
Contact Eric Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.