By Adam Booth
Photos by Kristin Cheatwood
The MiniMotoSX in Las Vegas is a gathering of guys who love to ride and race mini bikes—yes, the small bikes your kids enjoy as they grow into riding a full-sized bike. To anyone who hasn’t been around pit bike riders, it probably seems as silly as a Star Trek convention. It’s full-grown adults racing little bikes that cost more than a new Honda CRF450R, and most take it way too seriously, especially in the Vet class. Yep, they have a Vet class for guys older than 35.
Here is where Roth came across and over on me from the right side of the track, taking us both all the way to the left side. You can see me falling over off the back of his bike.
I love riding mini bikes; it suits my size at 5 feet 8 inches, and my background of riding and racing BMX. Mini bikes, to me, are fun, and I’m the first to admit it’s pretty silly to watch full-sized adults rage around a mini Supercross track. The bikes of the MiniMotoSX are like factory works bikes and are impressive machines. I’ve been making the trek up to Vegas for the MiniMotoSX at the Orleans since 2005, and it can be an accomplishment just to make the main event, with over 100 riders per class.
For some reason, Roth was heading my way before I even could get off the ground. I kept my hands on the bars and the bike running.
This year I was old enough to race the Vet class. It’s for guys 35 years or older, and as I learned by a sucker punch to the head, the older the riders, the less they act like adults. I’ve always found it hilarious when moto guys break into a brawl wearing helmets, especially when they punch each other in the helmet, which is why when Michael Roth, with his shiny number 1v on the back of his jersey, punched me in the head, I laughed a little, both in surprise and how ridiculous punching someone at a mini bike race is. Yeah, yeah, I get it; he is number one in some fraction of a state district racing club in the Vet class and was probably livid some guy who doesn’t have a shiny number one on his jersey had just passed him. He then whisky-throttled into me off a jump, causing us both to crash. Adding to his frustration was the fact he was in third, a podium position, and watched that slip away as I got in front of him. Just think: If only he had gone faster and I hadn’t passed him, he could have rocked a shinny 3v on his jersey next to the number 1v.
Still doing my own thing and trying to get up and going, Roth wants in my business. He could have spent this time picking up his own bike.
I found out after the race as we exited the track and two of his puffy-chested buddies and Roth surrounded me, yelling threatening comments and explaining how they were going to put the hurt on me (they never actually did more than yell in my face while I laughed) that the reason he hit me was because I peeled out on his bike.
With my bike still running, I was ready to get going and back to racing, Roth was more interested in shoulder checking, still not picking up his bike.
Here’s the deal: When good ’ol Roth took us both out, my bike stayed running and was slightly on top of his. I jumped up and tried to get going—we were in a race, after all—but my bike was stuck on his. I held it wide open and attempted to break free and continue racing. Apparently, Roth felt the best way to break the bikes up was to hit me in the head, which when you’re an adult in front of a few thousand people—lots of kids included—is really not the best solution, in my opinion.
With my bike running and the throttle on, I was trying to break free and get back to getting. Roth still hasn’t picked his bike up yet and wants to play touchy-feely with my bike.
I’m bummed on Mr. Roth for a few reasons. One, his squirrelly riding took away my chance at a clean race; but it’s mini bikes—that’s the way it goes. Two, I had to explain to quite a few kids as to why I didn’t hit him back and start and all-out brawl in the middle of the track. It’s just sad that a grown man can’t control himself in a situation like that. I’d hate to see how he reacts in situations that actually matter. Hey, at least they played the whole deal on the jumbo screen over and over for the crowd to see. They even played it in slow motion. What a great scene, two old guys standing over mini bikes with one guy punching another—there’s a statement about society.
The Michael Roth sucker-punch. As you can see, I still had my hands on the bars and the bike running, getting ready to get back to racing; I wasn’t even looking at him when Roth unloads a sucker-punch that rocked my head back, pushing the helmet way back on my skull.
I could ramble on and on about how crazy the whole deal was, but I’ll end with this: I’ve often wondered why people run the number one in an event and type of racing they’ve never earned a one a number one title in. Does it instill fear in the competition? Is it like self-affirmation, giving them the strength to believe they are number one? Maybe when they are throwing punches in the middle of an arena in front of families and kids it ensures everyone will remember the guy with a number one who didn’t win anything.
This is me, surprised that I just got hit. I dropped the bike and just stood there. Obviously, the race was over for both of us.
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