For many, nothing beats a nice relaxing motorcycle ride in the summer. For others, that ride needs to wind through the rugged terrain of timbers and hills throughout the Midwest to make it worthwhile.
Several local motorcycle racers have been spending the summer months on the road competing in off-road races called hare scrambles, which traverse a long course to see who can do the most laps in a set amount of time.
The hare scrambles, and the shorter grand prix races, test not only the racers’ equipment, but also their physical fitness in being able to maintain a race pace for hours.
There is also a family aspect, literally and figuratively to the races, which often take place over a weekend, with families camping out at the tracks.
The literal part of the family aspect is evident in some of the area riders who compete, including Travis and Tyler Lentz of Walshville, Cooper and Zach Duff of Donnellson and the Walker family of Morrisonville.
Travis Lentz has been on a tear thus far, finishing first more often than not in the 65cc class. Lentz started off with a win in the Crossroads Cross Country Series event on June 6, then picked up another win the next day at the Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders Little Red Enduro. Lentz finished sixth overall at the race in White City, beating out several 85cc riders in addition to taking the top spot in his class.
On June 20-21, Lentz finished first in both the grand prix and hare scrambles for the 65cc class at the Fox Valley Off Road event in Wedron. Another win came on July 4-5 at the Crossroads Cross Country Series event in Greencastle, IN, before someone finally got the better of the 10-year-old rider at another Crossroads event in Bloomington, IN, on July 18. Lentz still did well, finishing third overall in a tough field.
He was back to his winning ways for the next race though, winning the Midwest Meltdown organized by Border Battle XC. Lentz would then take first at the Fox Valley Off Road grand prix and hare scrambles on July 25 and 26 to close out a successful month.
The strong start has put Lentz in first in the Crossroads Cross Country Series Youth Bike 65cc point standings and third in the overall youth bike standings.
Travis’ older brother, Tyler Lentz, competes in the super mini division and has run well so far. Lentz was eighth at the Fox Valley grand prix event on June 20 and sixth in the hare scrambles the next day.
At the Crossroads event in Greencastle on July 4, Lentz placed second overall, followed by an eighth place finish at the Bloomington event. Back in Illinois, Lentz was ninth in the Fox Valley grand prix on July 25, and fifth in the hare scramble on July 26.
The elder Lentz is fourth in the Crossroads Cross Country Series super mini point standings and 39th overall in the youth bike rankings.
Travis and Tyler’s mom, Alison Lentz, also competes in the women’s division. She finished first at the Little Red Enduro on June 7, ninth at the Fox Valley grand prix on June 20, fourth at the Fox Valley hare scrambles on June 21, and third in the Fox Valley Grand Prix on July 25.
Like Travis Lentz, Cooper Duff races in the 65cc class and is often neck-and-neck with his friend. Duff finished second at the Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders’ race on June 7, and third in the Fox Valley hare scramble on June 21, with a third place finish in the Fox Valley grand prix on June 20 in between.
Cooper’s brother, Zach Duff, has competed in two events, taking fourth in the 85cc super mini grand prix at Fox Valley on June 20, and fifth in the same event at Fox Valley on July 25. Their dad, Ryan Duff, also ran at Fox Valley on July 25, placing fourth in the 40+ A division.
Most recently, Jhadyn Walker ran first in the 98cc Open A class at the Hill and Gully Riders Summer Bummer Enduro on Aug. 8-9. Walker, who will be a senior at Morrisonville this coming year, also ran first in that class at the Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders’ Little Red Enduro on June 7, and was second at the Midwest Meltdown on July 19.
Jhak Walker also picked up a pair of wins at the Summer Bummer Enduro, taking the top spot in the Open B division on Aug. 8 and Aug. 9. In the June 7 Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders’ event, Walker placed first in his class as well, followed by a third place finish at the Midwest Meltdown in the Open B division.
The Walkers’ father, Jeremy Walker, also grabbed a first in the Aug. 8 event at Roselawn in the Vet 30+ A class, followed by a sixth place finish the next day. The Walker patriarch also finished third in the A senior division at the Midwest Meltdown.
The next group of Walker racers is already on the way as Jhenner Walker also picked up a win on Aug. 8, and finished fourth in the 50cc Macro division at the Midwest Meltdown earlier this year.
Six of the nine Walker children, plus their father, who is second in the 40+ A division, have raced in WFO Productions’ 2020 point series. Eight races in, Jhadyn Walker is second in the 98-Open A points, while Jhak Walker is second in the Open B division. Jhenner Walker is also second, just a point out of first in the 50cc 7-8 year-old class, while Jhude Walker is ninth in the 65cc Beginner class. The youngest of the racing Walkers are Jhorie and Jhordyn Walker, who compete in the 50cc 4-6 year-old class.
While she doesn't race, Jhia Walker also contributes to the family's racing passion, photographing the races, with some of her work posted at www.facebook.com/jhijhiphotogtaphy.
Litchfield racer Ryan Komor picked up a win in his first ever enduro on Sunday, Aug. 9, at the Hill and Gully Summer Bummer Enduro in Roselawn, IN.
Komor took first in the 14-29 C division on Sunday and was the first overall in the C group. He would also run in the sprint enduro the day before at Roselawn. Racing in the 201 Open C division, Komor was fifth in his class and fifth overall in the C group.
Komor also raced in Atkinson on Aug. 2, placing 12th in the 201 Open C class, and on July 5, placing sixth in the same class.
Case Cruthis of Panama is 18th overall in the intermediate bike division of the Crossroads Country Series, having competed in two races so far. Cruthis ran second in the 85cc division in Casey on June 6, and second in the four-stroke division at the Bloomington event on July 18.
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