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Jake Walker, center, stands with his mechanics Quint White, left, and Nicolas Hibert. “These are the two reasons I’m ready to go,” said Walker.

Reminder Publishing photo by Cliff Clark

SOUTHWICK — Motocross privateers show up every summer to race the Crestview Construction Southwick National at The Wick 338 with the hope of catching lighting in a bottle and qualifying for the finals against the best professional riders in the world. But it’s still about having fun.

“I’m still here to have some fun,” said Southwick’s Jake Walker just a few minutes after finishing 21st in the 250 Class consolation race, also called the “last chance qualifier,” at midday on June 29. All riders — 90 in the 250 Class and 92 in the larger-engined 450 Class — set lap times during morning practice. The top 36, which generally includes all of the professional riders on the national tour, automatically qualify for the afternoon races. The next 40 participate in last chance qualifiers, where only the top four finishers make it through to the afternoon starting line.

Marshall MacIntyre gives the thumbs-up just before the 450 Class consolation race at Southwick National on June 29.
Reminder Publishing photo by Cliff Clark

Walker’s comment nearly mirrored what Austin Brooks, also a Southwick native, said about continuing to pursue his dream of making into the big race, which he’s done three times in the past in the 450 Class.

“We weren’t as serious as we’ve been in the past, just life stuff happening, but I’m still having fun,” Brooks said.

It’s that “life stuff” that four of the five locals in the consolation races on June 29 said makes the difference between having a shot and just having fun.

“It’s a full-time job with a full-time job,” said Southwick’s Kristopher Corey, 30, who raced despite still recovering from a crash last year that left his left wrist fractured.

The injury occurred only weeks before he and wife Brittany welcomed their first child, which he said helps keep him motivated to race and still have fun.

“It’s even more, now, with the baby,” Corey said about staying committed to the sport.

Corey’s first qualifying run was the first time he’d ridden competitively since February, less than two years removed from qualifying for the championship-level afternoon races in 2022 in the 450 Class.

Trevor Brown of Westfield rounds a corner during 450 Class practice. Brown did not qualify for the consolation race.
Reminder Publishing photo by Michael Ballway

He, like Walker, Brooks, and Southwick’s Marshall MacIntyre, doesn’t have time to prepare the same way the professionals on the big teams do, despite having a bit of a local edge after spending years racing on the track known as one of the toughest on the Pro Motocross Championship circuit.

Corey is a construction manager for Connecticut-based Avery Construction Co.

Walker, 23, started his own landscaping business, Walker Landscaping Design, last year, which cut down on his ability to prepare for the motocross National.

“I’m working sunup to sundown to support my dream and keep it going,” he said, also adding that his son Jaxtyn also keeps him focused.

Walker, like Corey, was also slowed down an injury this year. He said the MCL in one of his knees was still healing.

But, he said, he never was much for practicing on the track after spending 20 years riding dirt bikes.

“I just go out there and go for it,” Walker said, adding that he rode professionally for a few years and won more than 50 races.

Southwick’s Austin Brooks (459, second from left) rides in the pack on the opening lap of the 250 Class consolation race.
Reminder Publishing photo by Michael Ballway

MacIntyre, 33, was donning his gear for the 450 Class last chance qualifier when spoke briefly to Reminder Publishing.

“I work all week and run classes on the weekend,” MacIntyre said, referring to his racing weekend clinics at various motocross tracks throughout New England hosted by the New England Sports Committee based in North Berwick, Maine.

“That’s all I got,” MacIntyre said about the preparation, “and work,” which for him is at Ludlow-based BOND, a construction management and civil and utility general contracting firm.

With that, MacIntyre, who started racing when he was 13 at the urging of his uncle Chuck MacIntyre and wife Cathy, jumped on his bike and headed to the track. He finished 33rd in the last chance qualifier.

All the local privateers said this year’s track at The Wick was much faster than in recent years.

“If this was last year, I’d be getting ready for the finals,” Brooks said about his time.

Corey and Walker said the track was between five and 10 seconds faster than last year. They attributed the difference to a section of the track that had moguls last year but had been smoothed out this year.

All the privateers thanked their sponsors for helping make their racing possible.

Brooks is sponsored by Crestview Construction, Ryan’s Tree Service, Custom Homes by Hamelin Framing, R2 MX Graphics, A’s Auto & Truck Repair, and Genden Auto Parts, where he works as an operations manager.

Corey’s sponsors include TPR, Hillside Tree Service, Factory Connection, Resilience Physical Therapy & Wellness, DeGrange Electric, Squid Decals, Klim, which provides personal gear, and Edelmann Sales & Service.

Walker’s sponsors are Typrowicz’s Painting, Monty’s Motorsports, DCIII Suspension, Nails X Tori, and 139 Designs.

The sponsors for MacIntyre include Monty’s Motorsports, Crestview Construction, Ryan’s Tree Service, DeGrange Electric, C&C Repair, Genden Auto Parts, Resilience Physical Therapy & Wellness, The Mason Agency, NextGen Roofing, Hellion Custom Paint and Factory Connection.