Steve Clark beat the best vintage motocross riders from the East Coast, the West Coast and all points in between.
The 68-year-old Kingsport resident captured the AHRMA Vintage Open Age Novice national championship over the weekend in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
It was quite the season to remember for Clark. Back in June, he rode his 1974 Yamaha MX 250 to the win at his home track Muddy Creek Raceway. He later added wins at tracks in Maryland, New York, Texas and Georgia.
Clark’s story is unique in that he raced motocross as a teenager and young adult in Knoxville, but took off over four decades to concentrate on his career.
Same as with a bicycle, he never forgot how to ride and race the motorcycle.
“The goal of every racer is to win a national championship,” said Clark, who works in finance in Johnson City. “I came back to this sport after 45 years off and started back four years old. It feels very good because each year I’ve improved in the sport.”
There was a diverse group of vintage riders from their 20s to their 80s competing throughout the season. Clark also raced in the Vintage 60+ division, where he finished third. In his classes, there were 13 riders over the age of 70 who competed.
The final race in the Open Age Novice came down to four riders with Clark the best of the bunch. It was a completely different type of track in Oklahoma than the one at Muddy Creek. Like the motorcycles, it was a vintage course.
“The track at Henryetta was more of a grassy track on the side of a slope,” Clark said. “Back in the beginning of motocross, that’s where they started with something they called scrambles. They would bulldoze some dirt around, but it was more about the natural terrain, which is often the most fun to ride on.”