Gill, 10, is one of many local kids that race BMX bikes at the Augusta BMX Track at 2050 Division St.
Mitch Moon, the track director, said that the facility is open to the public throughout the week. According to Moon, the track is about 1400 feet long, close to a quarter of a mile, and has the distinction of being the longest track in the Southeast. Everyone who uses the track is expected to obey the rules and wear a helmet at all times while riding, Moon said.
The track serves as the official racing track for Augusta BMX, a local grassroots racing organization that is sanctioned by the National Bicycle League. Moon said that on the local level there are children as young as 4 who race. He notes that children aren’t the only ones who are able to race; adults can practice and compete as well.
“This is one of those sports that you can do from Day 1 until you can’t ride a bike any more,” Moon said.
Any one who is interested in competing as a racer with Augusta BMX must be a member of the National Bicycle League. Registration for the NBL can be done through the Augusta BMX Web site and at racing events held at the Augusta track.
The next race at the track will take place Saturday. Practice will start at 6 p.m., with the race beginning at 7.
Gill said that one of the reasons he enjoys BMX racing is that it has given him a chance to travel and compete out of town, taking him to a number of different states.
He is in the rookie division, but will be able to move up a division after a race on Oct. 2.
Gill said that he has only been racing a year and a half, but he feels that he has come a long way during that time.
“I just think it’s a fun sport,” Gill said, “You really have to be active to do it.”
One of the benefits of BMX racing is that it provides a heavy cardiovascular workout, along with a great deal of physical conditioning, Moon said.
Seven-year-old Amber Howell lives to race, regardless of who she is competing against. On the local level she races against boys, but on the state level she competes against other girls.
“It’s fun beating the boys all the time,” she said.
Howell said that her older brother also does BMX racing, and that watching him race made her decide to try it.
Her parents, Jason and Alaine Howell, said that they believe that the racing is an activity that their daughter won’t be giving up any time soon.
“It looks like this is something we will stick with,” Jason Howell said. “Last year it was cheerleading and BMX. This year it is the baton and BMX.”
Luke Doran, 14, said that he started racing at the age of 8 after a friend got him interested in the sport.
He said that he’s always been interested in racing in general, and BMX racing was something that attracted him from the moment he learned about it.
Luke’s mother, Jamie Doran, said that one aspect of the sport that has stood out to her is how well-behaved all of the kids are who participate in it.
“I think it’s a good peer group,” Jamie Doran said. “Everybody gets to participate, everybody gets to race, everybody gets to ride, everybody gets a trophy.”