Shane goes back to first love


Shane Alvarez makes a turn during one of the exhibition races in Marpi last month. (Contributed Photo)

With local MMA action suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shane “Pikaboo” Alvarez is thankful that motocross is making a comeback in the CNMI.

Alvarez is among the more than 20 riders joining the regular practice races in Marpi (the area where the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool is located) every Sunday and gets the workout he needs to stay in shape.

“Sadly, MMA in the islands has to come to a halt for now because of course it is a contact sport. I sure do miss it and our amazing fans who love MMA but until all is back to normal we will have to hold off,” said Alvarez, who last fought in the octagon cage in April 2018 during the Rites of Passage 23 and started training last year to prepare for an upcoming fight only to stop working on his MMA skills when the pandemic hit the islands in March.

“But, thankfully motocross is back. I am extremely happy motocross has been revived, as it is my first love and it will always have my heart. It is also a great workout and has tons and tons of fun! You always want to ride in your capacity and skill level but if you want to ride hard and be safe at the same time, you have to be in shape so it forces me to stay healthy and train,” the Trench Tech fighter said.

In this file photo, the young Shane Alvarez is included on the souvenir program of a motocross race in 2002. (Contributed Photo)

Alvarez fell in love with motocross at a young age, thanks to the influence of his father, Cuki, and grandfather, Ray Sr. He recalled how the sounds of the bikes revving was (and still is up to this day) like music to his ears and how he always imagined himself flying high and managing every obstacle along the race course.

“I first started at 4 years old with training wheels and had my first race at 5 without them. I remember my first race vividly. We had to just go around the jumps, but I remember thinking to myself one day I will be able to jump that big jump!” the 27-year-old said.

A screen grab from a Marianas Racing Association promotional video shows riders navigating the challenging course. (Contributed Photo)

“Doing motocross as a kid gave me the best days of my life! There’s nothing like hopping on a bike and feeling the wind on your body as you ride around the course,” he added.

Alvarez sees himself in the kids who started showing up in Marpi every weekend to get the hang of the sport, all gear up and ready to take on the challenges ahead of them. He added that he understands the parent’s concern about the safety of the sport, but assured them that their children are in good hands.

“As long as you are fully geared and protected with a safe course like what we have, your kid will have the time of his life even if he falls a few times. There are a good number of kids who just started and after a couple of Sunday sessions they are looking like little pros. It’s not hard to learn especially if you are dressed for it,” the Garapan resident said.

Shane Alvarez, right, joins his fellow riders for a group photo after their race last month in Marpi.
(Contributed Photo)

Alvarez anticipates more people will come forward and support or join motocross as the Marianas Racing Association is working on securing a permanent home for the sport—the CowTown Raceway further down Marpi.

“I can’t wait ‘til we can get CowTown back so we can build a real track and start hosting races for the fans to enjoy. We are on a mission to make it the biggest and most fun sport in the CNMI.”

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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