South Jordan's Landen Powell living his motocross dream
T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News
TOOELE — At 4 years old — an age when most kids are struggling to take off the training wheels on their bikes — South Jordan's Landen Powell was already racing motorbikes.
Not simply riding, mind you, but participating in actual motorbike races.
Eighteen years later, he’s doing the same thing as a professional racer in the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship circuit.
“It’s really all I’ve wanted to do and I can honestly say I’m living my dream,” Powell said. “I really can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”
Living Powell’s dream involves a grueling travel schedule around the country that winds up at the Miller Motorsports Park for this Saturday's final Motocross Championship event.
As could well be imagined, it's a great place for Powell to finish off another season.
"This event is obviously big for me because I'll have a chance to race in front of my family and friends," he said. "It's obviously the last event, so you want to do well for that reason, but having it in my home state makes it mean even more."
Racing motorbikes has meant a lot to Powell since he can remember having a thought. While most young children are intent on peddling their own bikes, the South Jordan native had other things in mind.
"To me, learning to ride without training wheels was so I could ride a dirt bike, not a regular bike," Powell said. "So I probably practiced at it harder than other kids because just riding around on the street isn't what I had in mind."
According to Powell, he comes from a racing family that both trained and encouraged him to be what he is today. Throughout his life he participated in other sports, but always returned the sport of motocross.
"I played football in high school until I decided it just wasn't that fun for me anymore," Powell said. "It was then that I decided to pursue racing full time when I was 17 years old, which is a lot older than most of the guys out here, but it's what I love."
Being a professional motocross racer isn't as easy as it may appear. According to Powell, it involves much more than simply sitting on a bike and going as fast as possible.
"It involves a lot of training, a lot of eating the right things, and probably even more training than most sports," he said. "It's definitely a full-time thing and no, you don't just show up and race. You practice all the time, work out all the time — it takes a lot of dedication."
This Saturday Powell will be racing in the 250 class, and he hopes to finish the season strong.
"This is my favorite race of the year and doing well in front of so many friends and family is really what it's all about," he said.
Headlining this weekend's races is the 450 class, which features Germany's Ken Roczen, who leads in season points (494), and his KTM teammate Ryan Dungey, who trails by just 20 points.
"It would obviously mean everything for me to win here and to win the season championship," Roczen said. "You try not to think about it too much — think about everything that is on the line and not be too careful."
For Dungey, he has largely the same goals as Roczen.
"It's a real exciting race coming up after a real hard-fought season," Dungey said. "Winning the season championship is achievable and it's going to be tough catching Ken, but it's there and we're going to do our best out there."
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