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Local motocrosser qualifies for national championship

Tyler Franklin

Tuscola’s own Tyler Franklin, son of Terry and Tori Franklin, just made his dreams come true. The 7-year-old dirt bike racer has qualified for the largest amateur race in the world, the 37th annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, presented by Lucas Oil, to be held this August at the historic Loretta Lynn Ranch. Tyler Franklin took on over 22,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1,446 qualifying positions.

“The Amateur National at Loretta Lynn’s is the best of the best motocrossers in America and around the world,” said Tim Cotter, director of MX Sports. “Just being here makes you an elite and a top athlete. A solid finish at Loretta’s would give you instant National recognition and a possible professional career.”

Most of America’s top professional Motocross racers, including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana, and Ryan Dungey, have won AMA Amateur National titles at Loretta Lynn’s.

Tyler, who is a second grader at North Ward Elementary, has been riding bikes since he was only 5 years old.

With the help of sponsors Tyler has had an opportunity to pursue his dreams. He has won multiple races in the last years and competes nearly every weekend at Lincoln Trial Motosports.

Tyler will make the journey to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., along with his family. The race runs July 30 through Aug. 4. Tyler and his family will be camping onsite for the week-long event and will participate in many non-racing evening activities.

Tyler is just one of more than 22,000 racers across the country who spent the last four months qualifying for the event. The top finishers in Area Qualifiers and Regional Championships earn a gate position in the National Championship race at Loretta Lynn’s. Racers may enter a wide variety of classes for children as young as 4 all the way up to a senior division for riders older than 50. There are also classes for women and classes for both stock and modified machines. In total there are 35 different classes of competition. Franklin will compete in the highly competitive (4-6) 50cc Limited Class.

The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s ranch and campground in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners, and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers. The motocross track is used only once per year for the motorcycles, so there is no hometown advantage. Racers compete in three 15-20 minute races over the course of the week per class, sometimes in grueling temperatures. Proper training and preparation are paramount.

Most riders attend the event with the help of their families. In fact, many consider the event their family’s summer trip, nicknaming it the “World’s Greatest Motocross Vacation.” Besides the races, the week-long event hosts many family-friendly activities, including swimming, talent show, concerts, and live entertainment.

The race action will be broadcast live daily at July 30 through Aug. 4 for a total of 40 hours of live coverage. In addition, two highlight shows featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network in the fall.

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