Area racers headed for Hangtown |

Area racers headed for Hangtown

by brian hamilton

Jason Van Note’s parents wouldn’t allow him to own a dirt bike as a child, so on his 21st birthday he celebrated by giving himself the present he always wanted.

“I used to race once a month, but I got hurt pretty bad – broke both my ankles, when I landed short on a jump – and now I’ve raced like a dozen times in the past five years,” said Van Note, a 33-year-old owner of a Grass Valley landscape maintenance company. “It’s a pretty physical sport. Most people who have injuries still continue to ride, like I do.”

For the past several years, Van Note has headed down to Hangtown’s annual National Motocross event as a spectator. But for the second straight year, Van Note will race on the same track as the pros ride each time they come to Northern California.

The 36th Annual Hangtown National Motocross, one of 16 events for the Outdoor National Motocross Series, will have the dirt flying on Saturday and Sunday, with high profile professionals – like defending 250cc champion Ricky Carmichael of Team Honda – winding their way through the track.

But before the pros twist the throttle, more than 600 riders like Van Note will give it a go in Sportsman races today and Saturday.

“I go as a spectator because these are the best motocross riders in the world and it’s what I enjoy doing,” Van Note said. “I’m racing because of the thrill of riding on the same track that the guys I watch each week on TV will be riding. I watch them two days later and that make the track look like a freeway, they make it look so easy, compared to how I ride it.”

Van Note, who will compete in the Veteran “B” class against riders between the ages of 30-40, won’t be the only local face at Hangtown this weekend. Four other area riders are also slated to race, including: Grass Valley’s Monty Roach and Rough and Ready’s Brad Morrow in the 250cc “C” class, Nevada City’s James Sparhawk in the 125cc “A” class and Grass Valley’s 12-year-old Dakota Williams in the 125cc “C” class.

Gates open at 6 a.m. today and Sunday, and 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Admission for today and Saturday is $10 each day – for those over the age of 13 – and $30 at the gate on Sunday. Children between 8-12 years old are admitted for $5 today and Saturday, and $10 on Sunday. Admission is free for children under the age of 7 on all three days.

To get to there:

Take Highway 80 West towards Sacramento. Approximately 10 miles past Auburn before reaching Sacramento, take Sierra College Blvd. off ramp.

Turn left back across the freeway and continue south all the way to Highway 50. The name will change from Sierra College Blvd. to Hazel Ave., but continue on this same road.

When you reach Highway 50, take Highway 50 East (towards Lake Tahoe). Prairie City Road (exit #25) off ramp is up two exits. Continue south on Prairie City Road..

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