X Games athletes open fair
By Eric Goold
Published Thursday, August 11, 2016 8:02 am
Photo by Eric Goold Dalton Dietz (right) leads Eric Rhoten out of the zigzag portion of the endurocross at the Delta County fairgrounds Saturday evening. The professional riders thrilled the audience with a cat and mouse chase from start to finish at the
The Delta County Fair opened last Saturday with some thrilling endurocross action at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss.
Montrose Motomayhem put on the second annual event, which featured motos for kids in the afternoon and for pros and adults in the evening.
Many fans of the sport came to see Dalton Dietz and Eric Rhoten, two professional riders who have both raced in the X Games.
"This course in Delta County is awesome, man," Dietz said after winning the pro class race. "It's not everywhere that you can come to local fairgrounds and put on a race like this."
Rhoten sped off the starting line and took an early lead in the pro class race, which drove the obstacle course ten times instead of five like the other classes. Dietz and Rhoten thrilled fans with a head-to-head battle throughout the race.
Dietz said he and Rhoten have been best friends for a long time and grew up racing together.
"He's always been really fast. He completely smoked me in the first moto," Dietz said. "Then in the second moto something clicked together and I was able to get out in front of him. Then it was a cat and mouse game the whole time, me and him were just back and forth. There's no better feeling. That was the most fun I've had in a long time, for sure."
Endurocross features obstacles and multiple jumps, and riders have little room to work with as they negotiate the course. Getting the lead and holding it is the key to winning and it is very hard to pass other riders on the narrow track.
The circuit at the fairgrounds was laid out around tire stacks and zigzag courses created with logs. The dirt track was mostly dry and fans were treated to a perfect evening for racing.
Everyone may have been there to see the pros, but the other classes provided some great endurocross action as well.
Miranda Watson of Carbondale won the women's class, leading from start to finish in her first competitive motorcycle race.
"It was really fun. It was a good track to be on for my first race out. It was the perfect course," Watson said. "I was shocked that I won."
Endurocross is a family thing for Watson, who finally decided to start racing after watching her son compete for the past year.
"I kept watching my son and every time I kept saying, I want to do that. I want to do that," Watson said. "My husband and I watch endurocross videos; it's our favorite pastime. We're kind of living and breathing it."
Like all of the riders, Watson said that the endurocross event was the perfect start to Fair Days.
"This was a really nice venue. I think it's great," Watson said. "There's a lot of space on the track, more room than most tracks. It's really enjoyable."