Brueckner participates in national motocross | New

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Mark the dikes

While many rode motorcycles on the way to the Sturgis rally, Brayten Brueckner competed at the national level of motocross in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

Son of Jessica and Michael Brueckner, Brayten qualified earlier this year for the 41st annual Loretta Lynn National Championships, held at the Lynn family ranch.

Jessica and Brayten explained that in order for her son to qualify, he first had to compete and place in the top 10 in regional qualifying races, then place in the top four in regionals. Brayten’s regional qualifier took place in Delta, Utah, though he saw plenty of country on road trips to other qualifiers in Wisconsin, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.

This year is Brayten’s first time qualifying for nationals, and with the bike safely stowed in the toy hauler’s motorhome, the family rode 18 hours for the 10-day trip. Jessica noted that the event itself lasted for a week, from August 1-6.

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Brayten competed in the 7–9 year old division of the 65cc modified bike category. He further added that his bike had been modified by sponsor Clint Backlund of Torez Motorsports, who fitted the engine to make it faster and smoother. Each class has two divisions, Jessica said, one for stock and one for modifications.

Regarding his connection with Backlund, Brayten said it started out riding 50cc KTM bikes and then moving to Cobra bikes, which Backlund sells. Because Brayten was shooting fast times, Backlund became interested and decided to sponsor him.

Although he still rides the local Chadron track, Brayten spends a lot of time at the Crawford track, which they have rebuilt for practice. The family also owns land outside the city that they use.

Due to the difference in tracks at the bigger races, Jessica explained that they also take Brayten to Colorado to train as the dirt is different. “Around here,” she says, “it tends to be compact and tough. When you get to the bigger runs it’s really deep and muddy.

Now 10, Brayten has been riding since he was three and entered his first race when he was four. “Once you get into the sport, it’s hard to get out of it,” he said. “It’s so good to win, and it motivates you to keep going, and what fun it is to go out on the bike and all the friends you make racing.”

The road to national level competition begins with 26,000 kids trying to qualify, with just 1,500 in all classes, including 42 in Brayten’s class, putting him among the top 42 riders in the country for 65cc modified .

It’s kind of a challenge, says Jessica, because many of the kids her son competes against live in full-time training facilities where they cycle every day. Their sponsors, often professional companies, pay the professional trainers and teachers. “Just being a kid in Nebraska who can ride fide maybe once a week and can’t ride all four months of the year because of the weather is pretty impressive. “

Brayten added with a smile, “I had a lot of natural talent when I was little.”

For those looking to break into the motocross scene, Brayten said it’s important to eat healthy, attend as many training camps as possible, follow good trainers and ride as often as possible. “The more time you spend on your bike, the more experience you gain.”

Jessica added that keeping good form and riding properly is important as it means safer riding. Brayten noted that the “braking bumps” on the Loretta track reach up to three and four feet high, and being able to handle those obstacles properly is where good form is key.

As for healthy eating, he says, it’s important to focus on getting good protein and cutting down on sugar. This results in better strength for handling the bike. The races last 20 minutes on a rough track, “so you have to have a lot of stamina to drive it”. Along with eating healthy, Brayten did some boot camp workouts to help with cardio and spending time on a treadmill.

This was Brayten’s last year competing in the 65cc class, and after achieving his goal of making it to the Loretta Lynn event, he is now moving up to 85cc. He plans to travel to Colorado to save time and continue improving his times.

Jessica noted that her son is moving to a bigger bike, but that also means he will be at the bottom of the age-wise division since he will be in the 10-12 85cc class. “Next year is more of a year of transition. . . It’s basically more and more comfortable on the bike.

Brayten said it was also about getting stronger to handle the bigger bike. “The bike will go over braking bumps easier, a bit smoother, but holding it will be harder as I’m smaller on it. On my 65 I was taller so it was like riding a small scooter I could really control it.

Although he’s been riding an 85 for about a year, he hasn’t raced except at a local circuit about a year ago since he focused on 65s. Brayten said the move to strictly 85 also eliminates the need to switch one’s riding style from one engine size to another.

Along with competing in the national event, Brayten was able to meet a number of pro racers and get autographs. Jessica said they were “all mingling together” rather than the pros in restricted areas. “You might walk up to get a hot dog, and one of them might be standing behind you waiting for a drink.”

Brayten expressed his great gratitude to his mother and father, as well as his grandparents, for the help they provided with sponsors Backlund and Brian Jelinek.

“It’s a great experience,” Brayten said. “You earn so much by going there. You get faster because there are faster kids. He further noted that watching other runners helps him learn which lines to take to improve his times.

“It really is a sport of making quick, on-the-spot decisions,” Jessica said. “It’s nice to watch, because you can go out for a race, and by the time you race again, the track conditions are completely different. It’s a sport of making quick decisions, and that’s good. to see how calculated he was with everything he does. He’s good at decision-making when he’s out there.

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