|Gurien rooted locally and in motocross |
|Posted: Friday, June 18, 2010 5:45 pm |
Chandler Gurien insists he isn’t just along for the “ride” in regard to his motocross career.
Chandler Gurien rides at Daytona International Speedway. Photo Credit: David Gurien
Instead, the 14-year-old son of 1983 Obion County Central High School graduate David Gurien and Union City resident Kristi Smith clearly has his eyes set on eventually graduating to the professional ranks in four years time when that opportunity arises.
Until then, Gurien is out to build his resume, which already includes four series championships, in the hopes of luring in a lucrative sponsor when the time comes for his professional career to begin.
That said, his sights are now focused on Loretta Lynn.
And yes, it is that Loretta Lynn, but his attention on her is not due to the music of the famed “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
No, Gurien’s vision involves her ranch in Hurricane Mills and the 2010 Amateur National Motocross Championship — heralded as the largest stage for an amateur racer — set to be held there Aug. 2-7.
“That’s my goal for right now,” Gurien said. “That’s where I want to be and what I’m focusing on the most.”
His father boasted of how important the race held just a few miles off Interstate 40 is.
“It’s the biggest race in the world,” the elder Gurien said. “There will be riders there from all over the United States and the world.
“I already know of some coming from England and Spain to participate and that’s where a lot of sponsors will be.”
To get to that race, the younger Gurien must qualify by finishing in the top six in an upcoming regional race. Gurien, who races over 30 weekends out of a year and usually participates in up to four classes per event, has already cleared the first hurdle of the two-step qualifying process by advancing from an area race.
Gurien began his racing career as a 5-year-old on a four-wheeler in Clinton, Ky. Since that inaugural run in which Chandler wore blue jeans and a borrowed racing helmet, the rising freshman at Dyer County has added over 250 trophies to his collection.
“The smile on his face after that first race was what kept this going,” the elder Gurien said. “I didn’t want to do anything to take that away from him and it has kept us closer than you would ever believe with the work we do on the bike and races nearly every weekend.
“I spend a lot of money on it, but I know what he’s doing. He’s not out running the streets or getting into trouble, so I think it is worthwhile.”
The younger Gurien pointed out that his father is one of the most visible parents at the tracks week in and week out.
“I’m glad I’m on the track, because if I wasn’t I would probably be embarassed.” Chandler Gurien joked. “Seriously, he’s one of the only dads that gets into it. He does most of the work on my bike.”
The trophy case gained from the hard work of the Gurien father-son duo includes two King of the Hill championships from a racing series that included stops in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.
Gurien also claimed the Tennessee Motocross Association Series title on one occasion and the Lightning Series title about five years ago.
However, it hasn’t all been easy sailing for the youngster dreaming of a future in big-time motocross racing.
There have been a few bumps, bruises, broken bones (a foot and collarbone) and even a concussion — just a few months back in Chicago — along the way.
“That was devastating,” David Gurien said. “There we were 81⁄2 hours away from home with 5,000 people watching. He’s down on the track and people are attending to him.
“That was very scary and still overwhelmingly sad when I think about it.”
That said, the younger Gurien isn’t overwhelmed when he climbs on his Suzuki 250 for his daily practice sessions at the full-sized motocross track on his father’s property near the Roellen community in rural Dyer County.
“I guess over the years, I’ve kind of gotten used to it,” the younger Gurien said when asked about the feeling of having all that power underneath him. “It’s still a major thrill to go as fast and as high on the jumps and the adrenaline is definitely there, but it doesn’t overtake me like it would someone that was trying it for the first time.”
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.