Seventh-grader is one of top motocross amateurs

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Racing at Loretta Lynn’s ranch is a dream for amateur motocross racers. One Alabaster native, Taylor Miller, has already seen and conquered the ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., but this week, Blake Rothenstine, 12, also of Alabaster will get his chance at becoming one of the nation’s best.

Rothenstine finished sixth and second in races at the Southeast Regional last month to qualify for the 65cc division. He is one of more than 20,000 amateur racers that will travel to the famous country singer’s ranch.

His goal for the week is to reach the podium, which will help catapult him to the top names in amateur motocross.

“Everywhere he goes, people will say, ‘There’s a Loretta kid,’” said Todd Workman of Montevallo, who sponsors Rothenstine through his Clanton-based company Performance Powersports.

Workman became friend and sponsor of Rothenstine years ago.

“Blake’s kind of a special kid. I can’t explain it, but spend some time with him and you’ll see,” Workman said. “He’s light years ahead of everybody in the state right now.”

But being the top in the state is not good enough for Rothenstine. He wants to win the Amateur National Motocross Championship. But in order to do so, Rothenstine says he’ll have to get past Canadian Kade Walker, who beat him in Lake Whitney, Texas earlier this year.

“I’ve got to get off to a good start, get in the front and never look back,” Rothenstine said.

Rothenstine started racing at age 5 in arena motocross in Columbiana, two years after Santa Claus gave him his first bike, “a Honda 50 with training wheels,” according to his father Mark.

After it became clear that Rothenstine wanted to race no matter what, Mark decided he’d invest in the best training he could, traveling 800 miles to Ohio for lessons.

“My philosophy is anybody can go fast, but I wanted him to be safe and to know what to do,” Mark said.

After two years of lessons, Rothenstine has increased his acceleration in his turns, changed his jumping style and position on the big — all ingredients for a podium finish.

Rothenstine and his father travel in an RV to races with Mark’s wife Kelly and daughter Tiffany.