Look! Up in the Sky! It’s Flying Motorcrossers!
Head-to-toe, colorful costumes. A carefully designed stage. World class performers. Stunning sound and visual effects. A limited run in an iconic Rogue Valley venue. All part of a live, improvisational drama with an unpredictable conclusion.
Bethink thee not of ye olde Oregon Shakespeare Festival, tho’ thou art tempted. Dude!
“It’s going to be the biggest motorcycle event that’s ever come to the Rogue Valley!” proclaims Klamath Falls native and professional motorcross racer Kevin Rookstool about this weekend’s Enduro-MX motorcycle races at the Jackson County Expo. Totally trust him.
Rookstool calls Medford home when he is not on the road for the 45+ professional Endurocross and other off-road motorcycle races he competes in around the world. He is the force behind the Enduro-MX, from overall creative vision to the five-foot diameter Oregon timber as course obstacles. It will be a race as unique as its namesake.
The course design combines elements of Arenacross and Endurocross racing. “The Endurocross guys want to go a little faster,” Rookstool says. “They want to catch some air, too.” Soaring 25 feet high on some jumps, and reaching 70 feet in distance on others, he figures. “It’ll be technical, too, with logs and crashing and all that stuff.” Rookstool is well-aware of both his audience and his cast. “I’m designing a course that will be entertaining for the crowd and pleasing for the riders.”
The course’s mixed nature has attracted an outstanding field from multiple disciplines, including two-time World Super-Enduro Champion, Colton Haaker and leading women’s pro, Tarah Geiger. “I race with these guys,” explains Rookstool. “They’re all my friends. I asked them about coming back at the beginning of March, and they said, ‘heck yeah!’” The Rogue Valley’s best amateurs and veterans (age 30+) will compete on the same course as the pro men and women.
Rookstool is stoked to bring the event to the Rogue Valley, and he credits family and friends for helping to pull it all together in only two months. As Scott Cala, the event promoter, points out, “it has been much easier because of Kevin’s network in the Rogue Valley. He has a huge base to draw on.” Cala also notes the Jackson County Expo staff’s expert assistance in converting the site of home and garden shows into a stadium full of flying motorcycles.
Local contractors Ronny Lyons and Early Johnson, owners of On-Site Screeners, are not only a race sponsor but will also bring in the heavy equipment to shape the tons of dirt and to haul the props (boulders, tractor tires, and the aforementioned logs) necessary to complete the conversion. Mike Horban, another Medford pro motocrosser, will guide the construction and participate, too.
Once the stage is set, there will be racing. Men and women, part of the same traveling troupe who mingle with sponsors and sign autographs week in and week out across the country, will battle each other tire to tire, elbow to elbow, for a spot on the podium before the curtain falls.
7 pm, Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13
Jackson County Expo, 1 Peniniger Road, Central Point
$23, adults. $14, 12 years and under. Free, 4 years and under.
Know Your Cross
Motocross: motorcycle races over natural- and man-made terrain tracks with hills, jumps and tight turns.
Arenacross: same as motocross, but indoors.
Supermoto: racing on a track that combines dirt and pavement and includes jumps and sliding through turns in locations ranging from football stadiums to closed-course streets.
Enduro: motocross race on a marked, point-to-point route which includes wooded and desert terrain. More difficult “test” sections are connected with roads, fire roads, or double track trails. Scores are collected at checkpoints along the way.
Mototrials: in MotoTrials (observed trials), riders negotiate individual sections of extremely difficult terrain without putting their feet down. Penalty points are assessed for mistakes; rider with the lowest score wins. Speed is not a factor.
Endurocross: combines Arenacross with the obstacles of Enduro and Mototrials. Riders race a circuit over rock beds, through water crossings, over tractor tires and across logs or telephone poles, for example.
(Source: American Motorcyclist Association)