"First Four-Wheeler Race"

November 18, 2011
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Watching my dad come down our old dusty driveway, I immediately saw my present. Since I had ridden only smaller four-wheelers, the site of this new beast momentarily paralyzed me. As we unloaded my new four-wheeler, I only had one thought in my mind: ‘How am I going to control something like that?’ With my dad standing by my side, he taught me how to use the clutch, which I previously never knew existed and when to shift for the maximum acceleration possible. After many trials and errors, the next step would be able to compete against older guys, so we went to the racetrack to prove myself.

When I woke up the day of my race the sun was out, and I remember thinking, “Today is a good day to race.” On the drive to the racetrack, clouds started rolling in and a light rain that barely covered the ground started up.
Upon arriving to the course, my stomach was already spinning. As we turned into the driveway, I almost became sick just thinking about the people that I would be racing against and all of the others that would be watching. As I was waiting by the gates to get onto the track, I met some of the other people that I would be racing against. I was only twelve, but I was racing against people as old as seventeen.
“How many times have you raced before?” all of the other racers asked me.
“This is my first race,” I said as they were shocked by how young I was.
“This is your first race, and you already have that nice of a four-wheeler,” an older boy asked me.
“ Yeah, I guess I am just that lucky.”
“Well, good luck to you on your first race,” one boy said in a way that made me feel as if they were doubting me.
“Thanks, good luck to you as well.”
After I talked to them for a while, they finally were able to get the track dried off enough and let us go onto it. While getting used to the track, I had plenty of time to study it. There were plenty of jumps to go over, and the track was muddy from all of the rain. Trying to keep up with the practice pace, I noticed that the other ATVS were louder than mine and left a booming sound in my head for the rest of the day. Once I learned all of the curves and jumps of the track, I went back to where I parked and began to wait for my age group. Along with the smell of the gasoline, the nervousness set in again, and my stomach was aching so badly that I could barely stand it.
After waiting for what seemed like days, the announcer finally announced my age group: “Will the people in the age group of twelve to seventeen year olds please come to the gate and line up.” I began to put on all of my gear while my dad checked my ATV over again to make sure everything was functioning properly. Once my dad gave me the go ahead to line up at the whole shot, I quickly rode up to it. By this time I was second-guessing my skills as the flagman was going over the rules with all of the competitors before the race started. “No dirty racing. Only pass when you think you can pass, and you can’t go out of the track.” Now that all of the rules were established, the horn blew and off we were. I turned into the first left turn and was almost one of the last people in the line. Getting frustrated with myself, I pushed forward and was able to race up to the top five. The others were way too far in front of me for me to even have a chance to catch, and I knew that the top five went on into the finals; so for the rest of that race I just made sure that no one could pass me until the finish line.
Riding out of the gates, I was greeted by a mob of happy family members, even though my grandma’s said, “Good race but we are glad that you are finally done so that you can’t get hurt.”
“Yes, he had a really good race. Now all he has to do is keep up with the really good racers in the next race,” my dad said in an encouraging manner.
“Thanks, Dad. I’ll try.”
One of the downsides of making it to he finals is that the long, restless break for another adrenaline pumping race. After the other races were done, all of the other qualifiers in my age group talked with their teachers and discussed how they could better their racing, as did I with my father: “Make sure you take tighter turns and don’t be so easy on the accelerator.”
“All right, Dad. Thanks.”
My name was announced, and I went to the starting line. Remembering all of the tips that my father gave me, I was surprisingly not as nervous as I was before. Again the flagman had to go over the rules, and while he was, I said to myself, “I have got to win this one.” The race then started, and I had a much better start off of the line than last time. Weaving in and out of the turns, I made some passes and was inching my way up to the top. Getting closer and closer to the other racers, the smell of the exhaust from the other ATVS choked me, and I gasped for air. Once I overcame the smell of the exhaust, I was in fourth, and I knew that the top three received a trophy and some money. Pushing my ATV to its limit, I came up close to the person in third, and as soon as I crept up on him, he flipped his ATV. They brought out the caution flag and made us stop. Now that I was in third my confidence grew, and I was almost certain that I could possibly get in an even better position. The flagman, again, sent us out, and the race resumed. As the final couple of laps came, the two people in front of me began to pull away, and I knew if I wanted to get money and a trophy that I had to maintain my place. To hold the others off from passing me, I would move in front of them whenever I saw them getting too close. I survived my first race with a third place finish.
Getting pushed around and hugged by my happy family, the announcer announced my name and made a mistake by saying that I came in second place. Not sure of what place I came in for sure, I went and took the second place prize. Walking back to my family, I heard over the speakers that I came in third and that I had to take the trophy back. I was a little discouraged that I came in third place, and even though I had to give the second place trophy back, I was allowed to keep the second place prize money, which I was ecstatic about.
Riding home after that hot, rainy day made me think that I just wanted to go home and sleep.
“Son, I am proud of you even though you came in third. It was your first race, good job,” my dad said to me when we arrived home. Going over all of the activities that I did in one day in my head, made me realize that I was tired and should go to sleep. My first race will certainly be a memory that will last my lifetime.

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