CHRISTMAS — It’s a hot, sunny summer day at the Xmas Motorsports Park in Christmas. The park was voted the fan favorite track for district 16 (Wisconsin and the U.P.) for the last two years. One regular at the park is 14-year-old Ranger Flinchum and he’s speeding around the track today.
Ranger lives near Marquette and has been motocross racing since he was a toddler. His parents were both racers and they passed their passion on to him.
“We got him his first dirt bike at two. Training wheels came off at four. He started racing at five and won his first Pro-Am National at five,” says Sarah Flinchum, Ranger’s mom.
After years of hard work and training, Ranger qualified at the Baja Acres Amateur Regional to compete in the Amateur National Motocross Championship in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Riders from around the world compete to make it to the championship, but only 40 qualify. Ranger and his family have been working at this for years.
“I’ve been going after this since I was six years old and I’m fourteen now, so I’ve been trying at it for so long and I’m just so used to failure and I actually did it. I still don’t think it’s set in yet. I feel like once I get down there it’s going to set in like ‘Wow, I really did it,'” says Ranger.
Now, Ranger is in full training-mode, preparing for the week-long championship July 29-August 3. Despite what some may assume, motocross training is not easy.
“He’ll be racing or practicing here and other local tracks twice a week and then he goes to the Y the other 5 days a week and does cardio workouts. A lot of running,” explains Sarah Flinchum. “He has to wear like sweatshirts and garbage bags to get used to the heat in Tennessee in July and August…he has a special diet. We do everything we can to keep him healthy and on the bike.”
Ranger adds, “They call it the most physically demanding sport for a reason.”
But despite the physical demands, Ranger says he loves the sport.
“Everyone’s happy at the motocross track. Everyone’s just happy and having a good time. It’s your time to get away…there’s nothing else like it in the world,” says Ranger.
Sarah Flinchum says they are looking for local U.P. sponsors to help get Ranger to Tennessee for the championship.
“To get local sponsors is really helpful. The sport is really expensive,” she adds.
For Ranger, until he takes home that first place prize, he says he’s not letting up.
“I’m not going down there to race, I’m going down there to win,” he says.