ST. GEORGE — Five Southern Utah teenagers, along with a 9-year-old boy, are gearing up to compete at the national motocross championships in Tennessee in late July and early August.
The annual event, formally known as the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Championship, is staged at country music star Loretta Lynn’s ranch property in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. It is billed as the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur motocross racing program, attracting nearly 1,500 top riders from around the country.
To qualify for nationals, approximately 22,000 competitors of various ages and classifications raced in 54 area qualifiers held February through May, followed by 13 regional championships held in May and June at motocross facilities across the country.
This year’s nationals races start July 29 and last until Aug. 3.
From youngest to oldest, here’s a brief look at each of the St. George area riders who are scheduled to be competing:
Making his third trip to Tennessee for the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship is 9-year-old Grayson Townsend, the son of Cole and Elizabeth “Libbi” Townsend of Washington City.
Grayson rides a Husqvarna 65cc bike and will be racing in the 7-9 Limited and 7-9 Open classes for his age group.
“The multiple qualifications it takes to make it this far can be compared to its long 1,686-mile drive (each way) to get there,” Elizabeth Townsend said. “With motorcycles in tow, it’ll be a 2-day journey for Grayson along with his parents and his 11 year-old brother Gunnar, who will be going to the event as an alternate this year.”
Even with all the excitement of the national event, she said there will still be plenty time for Grayson and his fellow racers to have some fun in between competitions. The event features attractions such as a large vendor show, professional guest appearances, a general store, tours of Loretta Lynn’s ranch house and fishing opportunities.
One of Grayson’s favorite moments was getting baptized in the in the river by the “MXers for Jesus” crew two years ago, his mother said.
“He is greatly looking forward to the best of the best in amateur racing this month,” she said.
Making his first trip to nationals in Tennessee, Dylan Brady, 14, is the son of Buck and Kate Brady of Washington City.
A student at Crimson Cliffs Middle School, Dylan has been riding dirt bikes since he was 3 and racing them since 2012.
According to his mother, Dylan has won championships in both Nevada and Utah, most recently taking home the first-place championship trophy in the 250 Novice category at the RMX Summer Series and Triple Crown.
In Tennesee, Dylan will be competing in both the 125 C and 250 C classes, both while riding his 125cc KTM motorcycle.
When he’s not riding dirt bikes, Dylan reportedly enjoys riding his mountain bike down the trails at the Red Bull Rampage site, playing football and hanging out with friends.
Also making his first trip to nationals at Loretta Lynn’s this year is Dylan Brady’s close friend and fellow competitor Hayden Anzalone, 15, who is the son of Bryan Anzalone of Beryl and Emily Anzalone of Enterprise.
Hayden has been riding motorcycles since he was 5 years old and has been racing since 2010. Atop his KTM bike, he will be competing in the 125 C class as well as the 25o Junior Limited class.
“He loves riding and racing and is excited to go to nationals in Tennessee to compete, hoping to do well and have lots of fun doing it,” Emily Anzalone said.
Hayden was recently elected class president of his sophomore class at Enterprise High School this coming year.
“He is a hard worker and tries his best at all he does,” his mother added. “When he’s not racing, he finds time to play on the baseball team at EHS, work for his dad and help out at home.”
Hayden said he plans to ride in memory of former Enterprise resident and fellow rider Noah Niederhauser, who died in a motorcycle crash three years ago at the age of 19 in Salt Lake County.
Sophia Phelps, 16, the daughter of Bill and Shaunna Phelps of St. George, told St. George News she has been riding since she was 4 years old and racing since she was 6.
“This year will be my fourth straight year racing at nationals in Tennessee, and I will be racing in the girls (11-16) class,” she said, adding that she placed ninth out of 42 riders in her classification last year. She rides a Husqvarna 112 Supermini, an 85cc bike that has been upgraded.
Phelps said she follows a rigorous training schedule that includes practicing on her dirtbike multiple times per week, along with mountain biking and training at Crossfit Dixie, also multiple times each week.
“I’m eating a healthy diet and taking care of myself in other ways as well, such as making sure I’m flexible and receiving sufficient rest,” added Phelps, who is also a member of Dixie’s high school mountain bike team.
Like the other St. George area racers, Phelps said she appreciates the support of her sponsors and fans.
“The best way to keep up with my racing is by following me on Instagram, @sophiaphelps56,” she added.
Please see bottom of article for the other local racers’ Instagram handles.
Kayden Palmer and Kyson Palmer
Kayden Palmer, 19, and Kyson Palmer, 18, are the sons of Juston and Misty Palmer of Washington City.
Kayden is a student at Dixie State University who is working on his real estate license. Competing at nationals for the fifth time, he will be competing in the college class this year, riding a 350cc KTM bike. In previous years, he had multiple top-10 finishes, including taking third in the 250 B Limited class last year, a category that his younger brother Kyson will be competing in this year.
Kyson Palmer is a recent graduate of Desert Hills High School who plans to attend Dixie Tech this coming year. This will be his fourth trip to the nationals at Loretta Lynn’s. His best effort to date has been a second-place finish.
In addition to competing in the 250 B Limited, Kyson will also race in the 450 B Limited class. He rides two KTM bikes, a 250 and a 350.
Misty Palmer said her sons have been competing in several states over the past year, including Arizona, California, Indiana, Texas and Colorado. They’ve also qualified to compete in three classes at the National Supercross Championships, which will take place in Las Vegas in October.
“The boys are currently in Oklahoma City training at the Reynard Raceway training complex, where they will spend the next couple weeks training and getting acclimated to the weather,” Misty Palmer said. “They are very excited to get back to the ranch to race and catch up with with all their friends they have met and raced with over the years.”
Following the event and the local riders
For TV and live streaming options of the upcoming Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Championship, click here. Fans can also receive updates about the event via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by following the account @LorettaLynnMX on any of the social media platforms.
Each of the Southern Utah riders also posts regularly on Instagram. Click on their names to see the posts on their accounts: @sophiaphelps56, @graysontownsend, @kyson_palmer88, @kaydenpalmer99, @dylanbrady77 and @hanzalone105.
Updated Aug. 10: According to the official results posted after the nationals event in Tennessee, Dylan Brady placed third overall out of 42 racers in the 250C class. In addition, Kayden Palmer placed second in the college class, which had 42 competitors ranging from age 18 to 24. Also placing among the top 10 in her category was Sophia Phelps, who finished eighth among girls age 11-16. Meanwhile, Hayden Anzalone of Enterprise finished seventh in the 250C Jr. Limited category for boys age 12-17. For complete searchable results by racer name, click here.
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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.