Local teenager to compete in national motocross championship

jojacobs@tidewaterreview.com

For Jacob Glenn, the road to Loretta Lynn Ranch has been years in the making.

The 15-year-old King William resident is days away from competing at the ranch in the Rocky Mountain Amateur National Motocross Championship. The competition is the Super Bowel of amateur motocross.

With scouts among the 30,000 to 40,000 people who turn out to the annual week-long competition, the invite-only event is considered a stepping stone into the professional circuit. About 1,200 participants will compete in the event, which starts July 31, in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

Motocross pros like Travis Pastrana and James Stewart got their start at the race, said Jenny Glenn, Jacob's mom.

All competitors who line up at the championship's starting line get there by a similar road though victory at the event's regional qualifiers after hundreds of local and state events.

However, Jacob Glenn's path make him a maverick among motocross amateurs.

"I like being the oddball," Jacob Glenn said.

In an amateur career that started when Jacob Glenn was 9 years old, he has traveled 100,000 miles to 13 states to compete in about 30 race events a year, Jenny Glenn said.

"He's always had a knack for driving anything," said Craig Glenn, Jacob's dad.

While many of his racing peers enroll in homeschooling to maximize time on the practice track, Jacob Glenn squeezes riding sessions into the afternoons after classes at King William High School. He rides around a small race course at his family's property until its too dark to see.

After rolling up to an event inside his dad's pickup truck or camper, Jacob Glenn finds himself sizing up the competition — riders who select from a collection of up to eight of the latest motorcycles for races.

"And I don't know if that will blow up," Jacob Glenn said as he gestured toward the oldest of his three bikes. Each orange bike is several years old and a little rough around the edges with tore handles and dings.

Lacking the same access to practice and equipment as the competition, Jacob Glenn said victory comes through talent, speed and a little luck.

The stakes are high at the starting line, where a botched start can ruin the race. Being able to pull ahead in the first few seconds of a race is about half the battle. The other half comes down to strategy as Jacob Glenn judges jumps and how to take corners to maintain a lead. Whether the start is a dirt or concrete and whether the course itself is clay or sand factors into his race-day strategy.

Jacob Glenn races as number 131, a reference to the grandmother he never met. His grandmother died a few months before he was born. When he took up racing, he settled on 131 in honor of his grandmother's birthday on January 31.

"I fee like she's just watching over me every time I ride," he said.

It takes more than Jacob Glenn's racing ability to compete. It also takes time and effort to keep the motocross machine oiled, said Craig Glenn, the operation's mechanic, coach and driver.

Family expenses are sometimes put off to keep the racer's equipment in the best shape possible. The beat-up black Honda Civic Craig Glenn uses to commute to work is worth less than his son's race bikes. Out-of-state trips up and down the East Coast take up time, prompting him to take off work, he said.

Jacob Glenn himself has a few battle scars. He's broken a finger, dislocated a shoulder and has been run over after falling off his bike during a race, he said.

While there have been challenges, both of Jacob Glenn's parents strive to be supportive of their son's desire to compete professionally in motocross.

But with talent, speed and luck, it'll may all be worth it because Jacob Glenn is going to race in the championship. And perhaps onto a professional career.

"I'm so proud of him I don't know what to do," Jenny Glenn said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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