Sophomore races dirt bikes competitively; looks to pursue career in motocross

Matthew Holloway, Staff writer

Sophomore Payton Adams is face to face with speed and danger whenever he races his dirt bike. 

Adams has been riding since he was three years old, and started racing a couple years ago.

“My brother was who got me interested,” Adams said. 

He chose to ride motorcycles instead of compete in school sports. 

Adams rides a Honda CRF250R. 

“I like the adrenaline rush before and during the race,” he said. “It has a different risk level than other sports, and I like when it comes to winning, it’s all up to you.”

Adams’ dad, Chip Kearney, built a track in their backyard to practice on.

 Kearney encourages his son while making sure Payton is equipped with the best gear.

“Payton has all the latest and best protective gear from his helmet down to his boots,” Kearney said. 

Racing takes up a large portion of Adams’ year.

“The racing season is between March and October,” Adams said. “There’s usually a race every weekend and about 15-20 people per class.”

Each event has two motos, or races, in it, meaning there are two races in one.

Racers are then scored after each race, determining the winner after the second race. 

“You want the lowest at the end of the two motos,” Adams said. 

Racing brings various expenses other than Payton’s equipment. 

“The largest expense is what we spend on travel,” Kearney said. “Then there are the maintenance costs; new tires before every race, oil changes, top ends, and after market performance parts.”

Adams  won the Kansas Sunflower Series Championship in the 150cc, and the Supermini classes.

“I’ve had a good amount of wins in Kansas,” he  said. “And a couple in Missouri. I definitely want to get into the top 15 this year.”

Adams is 5’3’’ and 130 lbs., and visits the gym several times a week to ensure he is physically prepared.

“My body size has its pros and cons,” he said. “I’m lighter, so it’s a little easier to hang on to the bike, but the bumps and ruts on the track do tend to buck me out of my seat.”

Adams is no stranger to racing injuries. 

“The worst injury was when I broke my right shoulder joint out of my socket,” he said. 

He said the shoulder needed surgery and two 4-inch pins. 

The injury took him out of the season for two months. Adams neededtherapy, but skipped it jumping right back on the bike. 

Adams also broke his left wrist on his 80 ft. jump at his home track and has had a couple of minor concussions. 

However, his parents are supportive, despite the chances of becoming seriously hurt.

“There is risk involved,” Evie Kearney, Adams’ mother, said. “But in my eyes the rewards far outweigh them.”

Adams plans continuing his passion with motorsports. 

“After high school I will go to a Motorcycle Institute to get my Mechanics License,” he said. “I will make a living around the motorcycle industry, and hopefully I will open up my own motorcycle shop.”