Bermudian riders Jonah Smith and Jyiere Mitchell have qualified for the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships in Tennessee in August.
The pair of 19-year-olds, who also qualified last year, will compete in the championships from July 31 to August 6 in Hurricane Mills on the ranch of country singer Loretta Lynn.
Smith, who now lives in South Carolina, has qualified to compete in the finals in the 450B Limited and College Boy classes after winning both classes during the Northeast area qualifying and the regional championships. He trains and competes for Club MX.
Mitchell, who is based in Florida, will race in the 250A and Pro Sport classes.
“These two are doing big things, they grew up together racing in Bermuda and have been competitors since they were about five,” said Marischal Smith, Jonah’s father.
Every year thousands of riders from throughout the United States and overseas compete in the qualifiers from February to June.
This year about 64,000 riders participated in the qualifiers.
Smith’s area qualifiers and regional championships took him to Alabama, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and he is looking to improve on last year’s best finish of eleventh.
“It was definitely not where I wanted to be,” said Smith, who is visiting Bermuda before putting the final touches to his preparations.
“This year should be a lot better. It’s 42 of the best riders in each class from coast to coast, in fact people from all over the world trying to qualify [for the finals].
“I’ll be happy with a top five but I’m looking for top three. Between now and the finals there isn’t much more to gain, I’m pretty much at my peak right now.”
Smith has been competing in the US for four years, although he returns to Bermuda regularly and took part in local races on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
“I would go overseas to race here and there but the last four years has really been consistent,” Smith said of his move to a higher level of overseas competition.
The championships are the biggest amateur motocross event in the world, with riders travelling to eight qualifying and then regional events in the hopes of claiming a spot in the final.