BUFFALO CHIP | Taven Westling-Floyd was tentative at first, hesitantly kick-starting his vintage Honda trail bike and motoring around in the dirt.
Within an hour, however, and with guidance from two motorcycle racing legends, Taven was riding with newfound confidence, even catching some serious air on a jump.
“I like the jumps,” he said. “It’s as fun as the world can be.”
Taven, 10, and his brother Aiden, 13, of Deadwood, grandsons of Buffalo Chip publicist Nyla Griffith, had just an hour with Jeff Ward and Micky Dymond, who came to the Buffalo Chip offering riding seminars as a preliminary to Friday’s AMA Supermoto races there.
Dymond, 53, owns three AMA national motocross and supermoto championships and has also competed in freestyle motocross, road racing and off-road events, among the Baja 1000 and Pikes Peak Hillclimb. His two-wheeled pursuits include wins in the Race Across America bicycle race.
Dymond said getting into motorcycling at a young age is difficult when a family doesn’t have a background in the sport, or have the means to afford any motorcycle, let alone a decent one.
“You don’t need the world’s most expensive motorcycle. You can learn on anything, develop skills and learn to ride and be smart about it. If you’re passionate enough, you’ll find a way to do it,” he said.
Ward, 57, is a seven-time AMA champion and seven-time winner of the Motocross des Nations. After retiring from motocross, he turned to auto racing on the Indy Racing League circuit, finishing second in the 1999 Indianapolis 500 and winning a race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Like Dymond, Ward grew up on a motorcycle and knows kids and their natural athletic instincts.
“When you’re teaching kids like this, it’s more about what not to do, just to have all the bases covered so they won’t get hurt,” Ward said.
Ward and Dymond took turns riding the dirt portion of the Buffalo Chip Supermoto track with both boys, offering tips on when to shift gears and how to approach obstacles.
Aiden avoided a spill when he hit the back end of a jump with too much speed, nearly launching himself off the bike. He quickly recovered and kept the Honda 150 upright.
“I messed up,” he said.
That’s all part of the learning process, picking up from a fall, or near-fall, and moving on, Ward said.
“It’s like anything, whether you’re riding bicycles, skateboards or motorcycles, the more you do it, the better you get at it,” he said.
Both Taven and Aiden said they have designs on moving up into the world of racing. Thursday’s lesson certainly did nothing to dash those hopes.
“I think I’d actually like to get into motocross,” Aiden said.