Marianas Racing Association member Angelo Hernaez may have tried other sports on Saipan, but he never lost interest in motocross.
Even when motocross on island was still in a lull, Hernaez used to bring his bike up north and practiced on his own. Now that MRA is reviving motocross, the Chalan Kanoa resident has all the reason to stick with the he sport he fell in love with growing up in the Philippines.
“I learned how to ride when I was 10 years old. During festivities in my hometown (South Cotabato in Mindanao), there were motocross races and I enjoyed watching them so that’s how I developed interest in the sport and joined the beginners class with my small bike [85 cc], ” said the 36-year-old rider.
When he turned 17, Hernaez started participating in competitive races in the Philippines. Then when he moved to Saipan late 2000s, he was hoping to join similar events, but the CowTown Raceway was already closed then. Still, Hernaez, who also played in basketball and darts leagues on Saipan, utilized his weekend riding his bike and navigating through the dirt roads on island.
“I guess, if motocross or any sport is in your heart, no matter what happens, you will stay with it. Personally, I feel so different every time I ride my bike and jump over the obstacles along the course, plus it motivates me to stay in shape so I can work my way up those bumps,” Hernaez said.
The LSG Sky Chef employee rides his old, but reliable RMZ250 (2005 model) every time he joins MRA’s practice races on weekends in Marpi (the Kan Pacific Pool area) and is happy to be part of the group he considers family.
“We have an amazing group of riders and MRA officials and members. Every time we have our Sunday event, it’s like a family gathering with everyone enjoying the races, whether as spectators or rider themselves. It’s really great to see motocross back on Saipan, especially for local riders who want to have the opportunity to do this kind of race,” Hernaez added.
To encourage more people to try the sport, Hernaez volunteers to help fix dirt bikes. He also comes to the racetrack in full gear to show a good example to new riders or those interested in the sport.
“I know there are safety issues in motocross and in every sport, but if you wear proper gear, you will minimize the chances of getting yourself injured. You also have to keep practicing and always have confidence when riding to get better,” Hernaez said.
The father of two will continue to join MRA’s practice rides in Marpi and hopes to get a chance to officially compete in races on Saipan, as their group works on securing a permanent racetrack (the same area where CowTown is located).
“While waiting for that day, I need to work on my stamina. I can do two laps, but on my third, it’s a different story. I will need more jogging and pushup time, LOL, to be able to compete well with the fast riders on Saipan.”