Pro motocross: Byron’s Adamson to make pro debut at Spring Creek nationals
Ben Adamson’s childhood dream is about to come true.
For longer than the teenager from Byron can remember, he has raced motorbikes at Spring Creek MX Park against his peers, then sat back one time each summer and watched some of the best riders in the world take over his home track.
Now those riders are his peers.
The 19-year-old Adamson will make his professional motocross debut in the 250 division on July 21 when the AMA Pro Motocross makes its annual stop for Round 8 (out of 12) of its championship series.
Adamson has raced at Spring Creek for nearly 15 years, but the track and the atmosphere will be new to him next weekend. More than 20,000 spectators are expected to converge upon the track that rests approximately 7 miles northeast of Millville.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Adamson, who will be a sophomore at Minnesota State University, Mankato, this fall, “but maybe it will when I get to the starting gate with all of those well-known guys, once I’m on the track with them.”
Adamson has more than earned his place alongside riders such as Aaron Plessinger, Millville native Jeremy Martin, Austin Forkner and last year’s 250 winner at Spring Creek, Joey Savatgy.
He has consistently been one of the riders to beat throughout his amateur career at Spring Creek. He won the track’s Super Series championships last year in the 250-A and 14-24 year-old A divisions and has won three times in that division this season, including last weekend, when he won all three “A” division races in his final day on the track as an amateur (250 A, 14-24 A, and Open A).
Now he’ll get a chance to ride in front of a hometown crowd on the track he’s practiced and competed on for nearly 15 years.
“That’s going to be a huge factor for me,” said Adamson, who’ll ride a Yamaha 250 in his pro debut. “I’ve ridden there my whole life and feel like I can adapt to the track really well, but they really change up the track for the pro nationals.”
That includes one big difference from the track that Adamson and other riders at Spring Creek see on a weekly basis: Mount Martin, the giant hill climb and descent on the west side of the track tests the durability and stamina of even the best riders. Adamson said he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I’ve done the Pro Track Challenge in recent years, but they take Mount Martin out (of use) for that,” Adamson said of the amateur race that takes place the day after the pro nationals at Spring Creek, where amateur riders compete on the track as it’s set up for the pros, “but the track was sweet. It was so fun to hit the bigger jumps and see the full potential of the track.”
EXPERIENCE AGAINST THE BEST
Adamson comes from a motocross family. His brothers raced, as did his father, Larry. But Ben latched onto the sport from the first time he hopped on a bike — at age 3 — even more than his dad or older siblings; he’s the first one in the family to turn pro.
Ben’s competitive career began on the Pee-Wee track at Millville, as well as the track at Kellogg.
“I don’t remember a whole lot, I just remember I always had a lot of fun and really grew to love it,” he said. “I was the youngest in the family and really got into it.”
His passion for the sport led to an impressive amateur career that included qualifying three times for the biggest amateur event in the country — the AMA Amateur Motocross National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
Adamson attained perhaps the top bullet point on his racing resume at the 2016 amateur nationals, when he placed seventh in the College Boy (16-24 year-olds) division, competing against current pros such as Forkner and Chase Sexton.
“That experience will help a lot,” he said. “It helps me see what the competition is like and what kind of speed is out there.
“I felt a lot more confident after going there. It was really cool to finally achieve something I’ve been working at for a while.”
Adamson also gained confidence that he can race with the pros during his recent stint at the Millsaps Training Facility in Cairo, Ga. The MTF is run by Colleen Millsaps, the mother of nine-time amateur national champion and one-time pro national champion Davi Millsaps, who announced his retirement from the sport in February.
Adamson was at the 50-acre training facility for more than a month, heading there immediately after his freshman year at MSU ended.
“It took a few days to shake off the rust,” he said, “but then I got right into training. I learned a lot there, did a lot of technique drills, like taking off my front and back brakes to learn about how momentum carries you around the track.
“It was a great experience.”
Shortly after returning from Georgia — the week of July 4 — Adamson learned his application for a professional license had been approved and that he could make his pro debut at Spring Creek.
“I’ve watched (the pro nationals) every year for seven or eight years,” he said, “and every year I get more and more motivated watching those guys, knowing I had the potential to do that.
“Now I’m finally at that point.”