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Hoodie's hopes

Courtesy Photo by Kathy Beard Belfield graduate Taitum Hoodie looks to extend his 25-point lead in the 250cc B Division and Open B Division this weekend in a two-day event starting today at the Southwest Motocross Track southwest of Dickinson.

For 24-year-old Taitum Hoodie it's all about motocross.

The Belfield High School graduate sits at the top of the 250cc B Division and Open B Division of the North Dakota Motorcycle Association. He is just edging Mandan's Ryan Bachler by 25 points for first place.

Hoodie will look to increase that distance at the Southwest Motocross Association (SWMA) doubleheader events today and Sunday.

"It's definitely stressful, because Ryan and I became really good friends," Hoodie said. "It fun, but it's still stressful overall."

The two-day event should feature upwards of 300 competitors.

Luke Krogh, president of the SWMA, said there are competitors coming from four states and a couple Canadian provinces.

"I'm really hoping to see 300," he said. "I'd be surprised if we got more than that. It wouldn't bother to me, the more riders, the better the turnout."

Hoodie spends most of his days working in the oil fields at Outback Well Service. During his down time you can usually find him at the Southwest Motocross Track, located about 10 miles southwest of Dickinson next to the Southwest Speedway.

"My bosses have been really good to me and understand about racing," he said. "With a good oil field job, I'm able to afford a bike."

In his second full competitive season, Hoodie has started to learn the ropes to take that next step to be in the professional division.

"Last year, I raced in the 250cc B Division and Open B Division and took fifth place," he said. "This year I'm on a different bike and had more confidence in my second year of racing.

"I kind of know what to expect about being consistent."

Ending last season, Hoodie wasn't very far from moving up to the pro division. Though he will be the first to tell, he wasn't ready.

"Last year I wasn't really mentally ready to be in the A Class this year," he said. "This year I feel like I am."

The competitive factor will always be there, but something else that has taken form is friendships.

"Everybody is a big family," Hoodie said. "You pretty much get to know everybody. Just know them on and off the track is really comfortable."

Bachler, Hoodie's main competitor, was injured during the Fourth of July weekend. It appears that Bachler is going to attempt a comeback this weekend in Dickinson though.

"Ryan (Bachler) is a tough competitor," Hoodie said. "We've gone back and fourth through the season.

"He unfortunately hurt himself. The last that I knew, he was possibly racing in Dickinson."

The weekend couldn't start soon enough, but it's going to busy for Hoodie. He is racing in eight events over the two-day span.

"Being that I race two classes, I run four motos a day, so it makes eight motos in two days," he said. "I'm looking at 36 minutes of racing a day."

With the track being so close to home. It might make it a little easier on Hoodie for the two-day event -- and he's not taking anything for granted.

"Dickinson has a very dry track to where throttle control becomes important," he said. "You still have to attack just like any other race. Anything can and will happen."

To mix things up this weekend Krogh put in some new obstacles in the track.

"We added a couple more sections onto the track, with the number of riders that are coming this weekend," he said. "Last year the track got pretty dry, so we got a new water system."

It doesn't come as a surprise that Hoodie is looking for bigger and better things from motocross.

"When I win the B class this year, I'll have to move in to the pro class," Hoodie said. "I'll be racing against other kids that have been racing for a number of years up on me."

Not only does Hoodie plan on moving up to the pro division, but he also plans to add another division to his list.

"I'll be prepared to race in three classes next year," he said. "The 250A, 450A and Open A."