For two teenagers from Trousdale County, it’s not the roar of the crowd at a football or basketball game that gets their competitive juices flowing. Instead, it’s the roar of a dirt bike.
Caden Hall and Eli Hix have been running competitively across Tennessee for quite some time. Hall said he started about a year ago, while Hix had been running for “two or three years.” The two also hope to inspire other young people to take up running.
“I race motocross, which is a wide-open track with jumps,” Hall said, “Eli races GNCC (Grand National Cross County), which is a woods race through the hills.”
One of Hix’s recent races was near Gatlinburg and through the woods of the Smoky Mountains.
Both youngsters race as amateurs, meaning they compete for pride rather than money.
“We’re the only two runners in Hartsville running,” Hall said.
Hall said most of his racing is in the Middle Tennessee area, while Hix travels a lot more due to his specialty.
“His last race was at Red Boiling Springs,” Hall said of Hix.
Hall participates in the RaceTN series, which hosts events throughout the state. He described a recent event at the Smith County Fairgrounds in which tractors were used to set up dirt tracks and jumps.
“They go to different fairgrounds and fairs and make leads,” he said. “I’ve raced Smith County, DeKalb County and others.”
RaceTN offers different age groups, from young children to professional adults, according to its website. In the Hall division, 250 MCs, the bikes can hit around 60 miles per hour while moving on the track, he said.
Hix has won two races so far while Hall has yet to win, “but I came close,” he said.
Hall recently suffered a wrist injury but hasn’t let it slow.
“It happened during a training session and I ended up falling pretty hard. When I got on my bike, I couldn’t squeeze my hand.
“We took off my glove and wrapped two fingers with athletic tape. I was able to pull my clutch handle and use the rest of my body to control the bike.
Hall said he recognizes the risk of injury, but said he wants to continue racing in the future.
Both got into the race by watching friends in other communities. Hall said that a friend in Lafayette who did the shopping had interested him.
“He built his own track along the side of his house and I said, ‘It looks cool and it would be cool to get into it. ”
Hall saved his money working to buy his first bike and has local friends who help him maintain and repair it when needed.
“My goal is to get more people involved in this sport. It would be great to have more runners in there,” he said.
Contact Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or [email protected]