NEW BRITAIN - Julian Lozano loves to race his dirt bike and loves to compete. Now, the 7-year-old New Britain native is getting set for one of his biggest competitions.
“I’m very excited and nervous,” he said.
Lozano recently qualified for the largest and perhaps the most prestigious amateur motocross racing event in the world, the 37th Annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship. So Lozano and his father, Jeffery, will make the 19-hour journey to the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee where the race will be held from July 30 to August 4.
“I’m going to do my best and hope to win or be top three and on the podium,” Lozano said.
But even getting to the Loretta Lynn Ranch was a tough accomplishment. Lozano took on over 22,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1,446 qualifying positions.
“When Julian qualified he was happy, so happy,” Jeffrey said. “But he doesn't understand how big of accomplishment he’s done. It kind of helps keep the nerves down not knowing how big it really is.”
Only the top finishers in the 57 Area Qualifiers and 13 Regional Championships earn a gate position in the National Championship race at Loretta Lynn’s. Racers may enter a wide variety of classes, from minicycle classes for children as young as 4, all the way up to a senior division for riders over 50. There are also classes for women and classes for both stock and modified machines. In total, there are 35 different divisions of competition.
Lozano will compete in the highly competitive shaft driven class on his 2013 pro flo built Yamaha PW50.
“The Amateur National at Loretta Lynn’s is the best of the best motocrossers in America and around the world,” said Tim Cotter, the Director of MX Sports. “Just being here makes you an elite racer and a top athlete. A solid finish at Loretta’s would you give you instant national recognition and a possible professional career.”
Lozano certainly has a good chance for a top-tier finish. The New Britain native has improved greatly over the last two and a half years since he started riding and competes nearly every weekend at several tracks in the New England Motocross (NEMX), New Capeway Sports Committee (NCSC) and Winchester Series.
“He has many wins and two championships in the 4-6 age group,” Jeffrey said. “He also just placed second in a championship last week.”
Lozano first became involved in motocross at 4-years-old and along with his siblings Jaslynn, who is five, and his older brother Jaiden, who is 10. But it was his father who first sparked the youngest Lozano’s love for the sport.
Jeffery is an avid motocross racer himself and even built a small track at home for Lozano and his siblings to practice on.
“I’ve always had the passion for dirt bikes but my family wasn't able to afford one,” Jeffrey said. “I was roughly 27 when I purchased my first dirt bike. I did some local races at the now closed CTMX track in Rocky Hill with Julian’s older brother, Jaiden. But Julian was obsessed with it. As soon as he was old enough to start competing, he did.”
And as Julian gets ready for the Amateur National Motocross Championship, Jeffery knows his son will take to it like any other of his previous races.
“He’s somewhat nervous but confident,” Jeffrey said. “He knows he can ride with the best of them and as long as he rides his best, he feels he can be very competitive and possibly win it all.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com