BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Paxton Lipinski was 6 years old the last time he rode in the American Motocross Association’s (AMA) Amateur National Motocross Championships.
Now, eight years later, the 14-year-old from Waterville Township is back at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., for another shot at the title.
“I’ve worked hard for eight years,” said Paxton, who will wear his No. 45 in the 250cc-engine junior limited motocross event for 12- to 17-year-olds this week.
Getting to the national championships was no easy feat, he said. Thousands of others started out in their area races, then the top eight moved on to regionals. This year, Paxton finished in fifth place in the regionals – enough to move on to nationals.
“I think we were all crying,” his mom, Jill, said. “To see how much time and energy he put into it. He won the race at noon, then two hours later, boom, he breaks his collarbone.”
Thankfully, Paxton had seven weeks in between the regionals and the nationals; and four weeks after the break, he was released to ride again. It’s not the first time he’s sustained an injury. Despite wearing a chest protector, boots, goggles and gloves, he’s had skin burns, lots of bruises and scrapes, and three broken wrists.
He’ll need all the strength he can get to grip the handles while riding the rugged hills and turns during the three 15-minute races this week. A composite score of all three will determine his national ranking. No matter how he does, the family is just excited at the opportunity to be a part of the event.
“Everything we do there is as a family,” Jill said. “We camp all week and see people from all over. There are activities for the family.”
Paxton’s 10-year-old sister, Piper, will hang out with her “moto sisters” and ride pit bikes. She’ll also be singing in a talent show one night. While Piper has wanted to compete and has a motocross bike for the backyard, her parents say her daredevil personality makes them a little nervous.
“Paxton at least has a little fear, and that is a good thing,” Jill said.
As he heads into a race, Paxton tries to relax. Being nervous can lead to “arm pump” – in which the blood in the arms rushes to the wrists and hands. This makes it hard to hold on, he said.
Paxton began riding a dirt bike in the backyard when he was 3. He was inspired by his dad, Jade Lipinski, who started racing at age 12. Paxton still practices in the backyard several times a week, as well as at Delta Raceway and MX Express in Swanton.
To stay in shape, Paxton also works out every day and plays basketball. For the past two years, he played for St. John’s Jesuit, but is returning to Anthony Wayne High School as a freshman this fall. He attended summer open gyms for basketball.
Now that he’s in the national ranks, Paxton also has another perk – sponsors beyond his dad’s Lipinski Landscaping. Rydr Power Sports, Fathm Co. Clothing and Turbo Speed Tune have signed on as sponsors. The Waterville-based Rydr provides him with discounts on engine and suspension work, and Paxton wears Fathm clothing. Turbo Speed helps with keeping the engines in his two bikes working – although Jade also does his fair share.
To keep up with Paxton’s progress at nationals, visit www.mxsports.com.