Family fun on the track
Racing has always run in the blood of those who take to the track.
From Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to the Franchitti brothers, racing is generally shared by siblings or parents.
For Rugby’s Jesse Fritz and his 8-year-old son Kristian, motocross has turned into a similar family passion.
Kristian is a relative newcomer to the sport, but has already shown plenty of promise.
Racing in the 50 cc division, he started off in the B class, but has picked up three wins and a second out of four races this summer and is poised to move up to the A class soon.
On a trip to Frederick, S.D., the father/son team completed a Father’s Day sweep of all of their races, as Jesse picked up an overall win and so did Kristian.
So far, the Fritzes have raced in Mandan and Frederick and will spend this coming weekend in Dickinson at the races.
Kristian, who said he enjoys the racing more than the practicing, managed to get off to fast starts in most of his races, “shooting the hole,” by getting a lead at the start and being the first racer to the turn.
“I got the hole shot in South Dakota both times and in Mandan the track wasn’t very wide and I had to go behind a person so I didn’t get the hole shot but I still won,” he said.
The duo practices a couple times a week in Fritz’s father-in-law’s sand pit west of town, which has been a challenge compared to the dirt tracks where they compete.
“It’s extra hard to ride a bike like this in sand, but I think that’s helped the learning curve,” Fritz said of Kristian’s progress.
Kristian’s bike travels up to 40 miles per hour, so he needs to be fully protected.
He said he wears a helmet, boots, knee pads and a jersey, as well as a chest protector and neck brace.
Kristian’s automatic transmission bike doesn’t require a ton of maintenance.
“The main thing is to make sure your chain is lubed and tight,” Fritz said. “Clean the air filters often. It’s automatic transmission, so change the transmission fluid after each race.”
So far, the Father’s Day sweep has been the highlight of the summer season, which will run into late fall.
“We did some practice on the track and the very next day we ran the race and both did exceptionally well,” Fritz said.
Kristian said he’s the most nervous at the start of the race, but the elation of earning a win is what everyone races for.
“Everybody who’s done that so far is usually really happy,” he said.
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