Wagoner soars at motocross

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2000

VIDALIA, La. -&160;Cody Wagoner kick starts his Kawasaki 500 motorcycle and revs up the engine as the sound echoes throughout the quaint Vidalia neighborhood.

He grabs the throttle tighter and gives it several quick twists, revving the motorcycle louder and louder, his head shaking slightly with each twist.

Wagoner’s motorcycle is missing just a bit and he knows he will have to fiddle with the carburetor eventually. Right now the 13-year-old has to take time to talk about the sport he took up only last year, yet rides like a veteran racer.

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Wagoner, the son of Kenny and Milli Wagoner of Vidalia, got into bike racing through his friends. As a matter of fact, it was a trip with a friend to House of Cycles in Natchez that started his love of racing.

&uot;I went with a friend of mine, Andrew Roberts, to House of Cycles because he had to get some parts,&uot;&160;Wagoner said. &uot;I looked over in the corner and saw this bike and I asked them if it ran. It started up and sounded pretty good so I asked how much it cost. It started out at about $500 and went down to $300.&uot;

Wagoner rode his first race last May in Liberty at the motocross track.

He took a job at his father’s place of business, Williams Motors, washing cars and also cut grass to buy a newer bike. After bending the frame on the dirt bike, Wagoner raised enough money for his current bike.

Wagoner has currently competed in 16 races, placing in 14 of those races.

He finished fourth in his first race in Liberty out of 16 riders.

&uot;When I got there I started thinking I would win it,&uot; Wagoner said. &uot;But when I got up to the line I was real nervous. I got around the first corner and I really couldn’t see and wasn’t familiar with what to do.&uot;

Wagoner learned how to race under fire.

&uot;I really haven’t had anybody train me on such things as when to stand up,&uot; he said. &uot;Harry Byrne was the one who helped me get started and showed my what to do. This sum

mer I hope to got to a riding school and have some professional riders help me.&uot;

Wagoner said racing is not as easy as it first looked.

There’s more to it than I thought,&uot; he said. &uot;I thought you would just go out there and have a good time. I do have a good time. But you can’t be thinking about anything else.&uot;

Wagoner said a quick start is important.

&uot;When you first get up to the start, you try to be the first one out,&uot; he said. &uot;If you can’t, you just try and take the bike in front of you one at a time and try and get inside.&uot;

Wagoner said he puts safety over speed.

&uot;I make sure I’m in control of my bike,&uot; he said.

The tracks Wagoner races on are usually very hilly and a normal race means going around that half-mile track five times.

Each competition consists of two races, with both races being combined for a final score.

Wagoner had a first place in his first heat and finished third in the other for a second place.

&uot;Winning that first race was great,&uot; he said.

Wagoner said racing is not as easy as it looks.

&uot;Everybody thinks there is nothing to it because you don’t have to pedal,&uot; he said. &uot;But it’s harder than anything. You have to concentrate on what you are going to do on the next run, how to hit the jump, when to stand up and sit down on the hard turns. I hardly ever sit down.&uot;

Wagoner said he would like to become a professional rider.

&uot;I’ll move up a class next year, so I’ll have to get a better bike,&uot; he said.

Wagoner, who attends Vidalia Junior High, enjoys playing basketball, baseball, mudriding and cutting grass.

Wagoner earned enough money to buy his own riding lawn mower.

&uot;That’s how I make some money and I also do it for some of the elderly people who don’t have anyone to do it,&uot; he said.

Wagoner said riding is a family event and there are 3-year-olds competing at some races.

&uot;If I would have started at three years old, there’s no telling where I would be now,&uot; he said.