McElrath and Hinson pay the price for motorcross successLocal teenagers qualify for the prestigious Amateur National Motorcross Championship
MARYVILLE — Canton teenagers Kyle McElrath, 17, and Keaton Hinson, 18, have qualified for the prestigious Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch, in Hurricane Mills Tennessee.
The race is sponsored by Rocky Mountain ATV/MC and is being held Monday, July 28 through Sunday, Aug 3.
Recently, McElrath and Hinson competed in their perspective age classes against riders from all over the world to gain a guaranteed starting spot on the 42 rider gate. Every year, more than 20,000 riders attempt to qualify, but less than 5-percent make it to the championship.
Riders have to advance through area qualifiers and regionals, where a seventh place finish is required to advance to the National Championship.
McElrath qualified in the 450 B Class in the Northeast Regional and Keaton Hinson qualified in the 450 C Class in the Southeast Regional.
McElrath began riding a motorcycle at the age of four with his oldest brother, Jeremy, his sisters, Shannon and Leah and Shane, who is now a Professional Motocross Racer for Troy Lee Design/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/Honda. His dream is to follow in the footsteps of his brother. He raced on and off for several years, before making a full commitment to the sport three years ago. He trains at Club MX in Chesterfield, South Carolina.
He competed in the nationals last year for the first time and finished 14th and a 16th finish in two classes.
“My nerves got the best of me last year but having moved up to the B class, “ said McElrath. “This year I am more confident in my riding ability and I know that I can run with the best of ‘em. Plus, at Loretta’s, all the big wigs are there looking for new riders and I need all the help I can get.”
Hinson began riding at the age of five and began competing at the age of eight with his dad. There was a break in motorcross competition because of Hinson’s interest in playing other sports.
However, after his junior year at Pisgah High School, Hinson decided to return to his first love and gave up high school sports to compete full-time in motocross. He immediately started an intense training program in February, 2013 at Jimmy Weinart’s Training Facility in Maysville, North Carolina for the sole purposes of qualifying for the nationals.
“I was told that I could not make it to the national championship in one year,” said Hinson. “But I did it. It hasn’t been easy with the training and being away from home. I was bound and determined to prove to myself that I could make it to Loretta’s.
“Motocross is a great family sport. However, when it gets to this level of competition it requires a lot of sacrifice and commitment on the part of the rider and their families.”
McElrath and Hinson have been blessed with God-given talents for a sport and took the special skills and paid the high price for success. Now, they are just beginning to reap the dividends of all their hard work and determination.