The Port Arthur News
Hurricane Mills, Tenn. —
Hurricane Mills, Tenn. — Groves’ Brad Cooksey recently made his dream come true.
The 35-year-old dirt bike racer has qualified for the largest amateur motocross race in the world, the 32nd Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship July 29-Aug. 3 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. Cooksey took on over 20,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1,446 qualifying positions.
“The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in,” said event director Tim Cotter. “A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
Most of America’s top professional motocrossers, including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and Jeremy McGrath, have won AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s. The race is so prestigious that in 2012 it became part of the Red Bull Signature Series, airing race coverage on NBC for the first time ever.
This year the coverage only gets better as the Red Bull Signature Series will air live coverage from on NBC for the first time ever.
Cooksey has had the opportunity to pursue this life long dream. He has won approximately 50 races over the years and competes on weekends at Badlands Track in Beaumont, at Three Palms Track in Conroe and at Highlands Track in Houston.
Cooksey accomplishment’s have come in spite of being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four years ago. That type of diabetes is where the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas and the pancreas no longer works. He must be an insulin pump for the rest of his life.
When Cooksey was first diagnosed, he thought he would never be able to ride again. But it wasn’t long before he decided diabetes was not going to control his life, and started riding again. His goal was to qualify to make it to the Nationals.
Cooksey will make the trip to Tennessee along with his girlfriend Sarah, his parents, brother, cousins, friends and his two children, Cayde and Reese. His son is following in his footsteps, as he began riding dirt bikes at the young age of 4.
Cooksey is just one of the over 20,000 bikers who spent the last four months qualifying for the event. The top finishers in area and regional qualifiers earned a birth into the National Championship race at Loretta Lynn’s.
The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers.
Most riders attend the event with the help of their families. In fact, many groups consider the event their family’s summer vacation. Besides races, the ranch provides family-friendly facilities, including a game room, swimming pools, arts and crafts activities as well as a fashion and talent show.