Seven-year-old likes motorcycle racing

June 29, 2004|TIM WISEMAN

LANCASTER - Donna Smith has to look away as her grandson flies down the dirt drag strip on his own motorcycle. She said she waits until the last second to watch as Colton Elkins, 7, nears the finish line.

Over the years, she has seen this many times before, but she said she will never get used to her family's need for speed.

"It's kind of an all in the family thing," she said, watching her daughter, Rhoda Elkins, and Colton get ready to race at the Garrard County Fair on Monday night. "Everyone likes to go fast."

Elkins thought she had quit racing for good when she became pregnant with Colton.

She had raced motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles since she was 12, when she started riding with her brother and father on the family farm in Boyle County.


Then Colton started riding, so she decided to get back into it. "If I was going to be at the drag strip, I might as well ride," she said. "As long as he's in it and as long as he can handle it, I'll keep riding."

That was four years ago when Colton began riding at age 3. Along the way, Colton has worked his way up to bigger and more powerful machines, and he has won his share of races.

The worst part is "when you wreck"

Winning is the best part, Colton said, but the worst part is "when you wreck."

Once, Colton and his bike flipped seven times.

He broke his foot in that wreck, but that could not keep him from jumping back on a motorcycle as soon as he could.

"I am scared and nervous for him, but you can't keep a kid from doing what he's going to do," Elkins said. "It 's like I was telling my mom, you try to prepare yourself for when it happens, you just hope and pray it doesn't."

And so the family will spend the April to November racing season traveling to different events across Kentucky and the region because Colton "lives for being at the drag strip," Elkins said.

Alongside the Elkins family at the Garrard County Fair was Michael Floyd, a friend of Rhoda Elkins, who helps keep Colton's bike running smoothly.

Floyd said he does not race much anymore; he'd rather watch Colton and teach him everything he knows about the sport.

"The bikes got too fast for me, so I figured I can teach him and maybe he'll be big-time someday and remember the little people," Floyd said.

For Colton, the bikes never have been fast enough.

"He kept saying get me one that's faster, get me one that's faster," Floyd said. "Now we got him one that is really fast. He's not sure about it yet, but he's a fast learner."

Bike breaks down at Garrard County Fair

In his first heat at the Garrard County Fair Monday night, something went wrong with Colton's bike. Halfway down the stretch, the main chain broke, snapping off the case around the engine's electronics. Colton's bike bounced and wobbled down the stretch, but Colton kept it straight as it sped to the finish line.

"I was holding on for dear life," he said.

His mother was there to meet at him at the finish line, to make sure he was fine. He was, but the bike was not.

"Now I can't race for a week," Colton said, as he slowly took off his racing boots while Floyd and others looked at the damage.

"It's nothing I can't fix," Floyd said. "It's no problem."

About an hour later, Elkins raced down the track on her four-wheeler, which has "Thanks Dad" written on the back.

"It stays in the family," Elkins said. "It's all for fun."

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