Racers ranging in age from young children to children at heart took to the dirt track at the Tri-City BMX race course in Rotterdam Saturday, speeding around the track pushing to take first place.
Saturday’s race not only commemorated the bicycle motocross course’s 40th anniversary, but also honored the late Bobby Iovinella Jr. who died in a car accident at the age of 29.
Iovinella not only raced at the track, but also helped to design it, said his father Bobby Iovinella Sr.
“He just loved the sport,” his father said.
Iovinella Jr. raced in national competitions across the country. His father donated his trophies to the event Saturday. Every racer received one of Iovinella’s trophies Saturday, no matter what place he or she finished, said Sarah Robichaud, the track’s operator.
Both of her sons participated in races.
Her 16-year-old son, Ryan, has been racing since he was around age 5 after seeing the track under construction.
He said his favorite parts of the sport are the adrenaline rush and family he has built there over the last several years.
Colby Carusone and Spike Miller, both 16, said they love the sport.
Carusone said he got into the sport thanks to his neighbors who used to race when they were younger.
“I like the challenge and just getting out, riding with friends on the track,” he said.
Miller said he’s excited to see everyone again.
“We’re all like one big family here,” Miller said.
Robichaud said one of the cool parts of BMX racing is that people of all ages can do it. Chuck Fieldson is 65 and still races. He said he’s traveled all over the U.S. for races, but loves coming back to Tri-City.
“The reason is because of these little kids,” he said.
He said it’s great seeing the kids learn to ride and just having fun.
But the fun isn’t just for the kids, Jaime Sherwood spent the day cheering on her kids and having a little friendly competition against them. Sherwood is new to riding and just registered Tri-City as her home racing facility. She said BMX is a lot harder than she anticipated.
“I’m going to give myself the year and see how I’ve progressed,” she said.
Robichaud they have seen an uptick in new riders but that there’s also a bike shortage.
Sherwood said she was able to purchase hers from someone who had previously raced. Robichaud said any time they find someone searching for a bike they try to see if past riders are willing to part with theirs. The organization also has some loaner bikes people can use for the day.
Robichaud said over 100 people participated in races. She was just happy to see the track back in full swing. Last year, the all-volunteer organization couldn’t open until August because of the coronavirus pandemic–the season only goes until the end of October. It meant the organization only made half its revenue and held half of its races.
She said while the facility is still under the mask mandate, anyone is welcome.