By Leigh Ann Rutledge
CARROLLTON – Evan Brace of Carrollton has his bags packed.
Brace, 11, will be heading to South Carolina to compete in the ATVMX National Championship series. The event is set for March 24 and 25 at South of the Border in Hammer, SC, and will be Brace’s first ride in national competition.
He has competed in the Ohio Motocross Association for the past three years, placing first in his division each year. He was recognized at the association banquet in January at Ashland University.
Evan began riding ATVs when he was four years old. His dad, Beau, a rider, enjoyed it and turns the time into family time. When Evan and Beau attended a race friends were competing in, he was hooked.
“I want to do that,” Evan said.
Traveling to racetracks in Chillicothe, Columbus, Amhearst and other locales, resulted in the family camping at the tracks. Locally, Evan raced at Malvern Motocross. One of his biggest fans, his sister, Molly, attends his races, along with both sets of his grandparents offering support and help when needed.
Competing in the Ohio association, the family traveled to around 25 races per year. Riders were mostly from Ohio, with a few from West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Races are a one-day event, practice and racing the same day. Points are earned from the best 15 races to determine year-end placings.
Ready to do something different, Evan is moving up to the national stage to compete against riders from across the United States in eight races.
“It will be a lot more driving,” Beau said. “It will be a bigger scene racing kids from all over the country.”
Evan will race in the 70 and 90 quad class and be sponsored by Heath Racing. The national races are weekend events with practice on Friday and racing Saturday and Sunday. A “full gate” at nationals could be 15 riders per race.
Evan is both excited and nervous about going to the bigger stage.
“Racing can be nerve-racking,” he said, “You don’t know what’s going to happen. But when I am on the track, I just focus and ride.”
The “not knowing” Evan explained, happened while racing at Chillicothe. An axle broke when he landed a jump, causing the quad to just stop, not crash. His only crash happened in his first year of competition.
Along with the speed, the race also includes jumps. In competition, jumps can be 40 to 50 foot long with the quads going 15 feet or more in the air. Racers wear numerous pieces of safety equipment when racing, such as chest and neck protection, a helmet, boots, riding pants and gloves.
“I get nervous,” said Marissa, Evan’s mother. “I like to see him do something he really excels at. He mellows out before a race, listening to music then does his thing.”
The family is excited to see how this year plays out.
“I want to thank my grandparents, mom and dad, Travis and Tyler Moore and Heath Racing, for the sponsorship, support and help getting everything ready at the track,” Evan said.
Looking at Evan, Beau asked, “Do you want to thank the Lord for keeping you safe?” to which Evan noded.
Marissa adds, “What do we say is most important?”
In unison, she and Evan recite, “Stay safe, ride smart and have fun.”
Evan is a fifth grade student at Carrollton Elementary School and a member of the Church of Christ (Christian Disciples) youth group. In his spare time, he plays basketball and likes to fish and camp at Tappan Lake with his grandparents. He enjoys spending time with family and watching movies.