Motocross racers put on a show

Brice Boling got his first taste of motocross competition this weekend, and he's ready for more.

"It's so fun," the Craig 16-year-old said Sunday. "You just have a good time and try to win."

Boling started riding motorcycles three years ago, but before Saturday, he had never competed in a motocross race.

The Moffat County High School junior raced in the open beginner division at the Yampa Valley Sports Riders Association races south of Craig this weekend.

Boling took second on Saturday and fourth in his first race Sunday.

"There were a lot better kids (Sunday)," Boling said.

In his last race Sunday, Boling was in second place for most of the four laps. But early in the last lap, he crashed and fell back into third place.

"I just got real loose in the whoops," Boling said shortly after crossing the finish line.

The whoops are a series of small bumps that wreaked havoc on riders throughout the weekend.

"I need to come out and practice the whoops more so I can go through them faster," he said.

Motocross racers from across Colorado and Wyoming came to compete at the track that earned the Rocky Mountain Motocross Association track of the year award in 2004.

On Sunday afternoon, the near 100-degree temperatures and incessant wind made the award-winning track a dry and dusty place.

Chad Zulian of Craig said the dust and wind made the track a tough place to ride.

"You just have to concentrate on what you're doing," Zulian said.

This weekend's races were Zulian's first at his home track this season. The 25-year-old Craig native got back in town last week after spending two months racing in Canada, Michigan and California.

He said it rained most of the time he was in Canada, so it was mostly "mud racing."

In California, Zulian took first in the qualifying round, but he had bike trouble and wasn't able to finish the finals.

This weekend, Zulian raced in the 250 cc A, the 125 cc A, the 250 B, the plus 25 and the open professional divisions. He raced a total of 16 times.

On Sunday afternoon, Zulian won three of the four races he competed in, a turnaround from Sunday morning when he finished ninth and seventh.

In the open pro race, Zulian took first despite having Matt Karlsen of Denver a few feet behind him for most of the race. "I could hear him behind me," Zulian said. "I just tried to stay in my own line."

Zulian and Karlsen bumped into each other in the 125 A race earlier in the afternoon, sending Zulian off the track en route to a third-place finish.

Zulian said after the last race Sunday -- which he didn't finish because of bike trouble -- he was happy with his overall performance.

"I felt good," Zulian said. "That was the most races I've done in two days."

Gary Zulian, Chad's father and one of the event's organizers, said attendance was down this weekend from the competition last month.

Usually, about 450 competitors come to the track. But Gary Zulian estimated fewer than 400 came out this weekend. He said rising gas prices are the major reason for the drop off.

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