A little dust never killed nobody

Sophomore shares passion for dirt biking

Story by Lauren Maynard, staff writer

He’s had his crashes. He’s got a list of broken bones. His hands are delicately painted with scars of all shapes and sizes. He says a little prayer and puts his helmet on without any hesitation. The fumes from the exhaust have become so familiar it soothes him. The hum of the bike keeps him sane. He waits for the race to start, for the blow of the gun, then he grips it, rips it and throws it into full throttle. Sophomore Darren Mooney has participated in dirt biking his entire life and doesn’t plan on ever slowing down, let alone stopping.

“I began competitive dirt biking when I was just 4 years old,” Mooney said. “My dad raced as a boy, and when I became old enough, he introduced the sport to me, and I fell in love.”

In Mooney’s mind, dirt biking is no different than any other sport or pastime; it requires a serious amount of skill to do it efficiently as well as safely.

“It starts with my diet, I try not to eat too many foods that would dehydrate my body,” Mooney said. “After school everyday, I ride my regular bike anywhere from three and a half to seven miles. Afterwards comes the non-stop training on my dirt bike, depending on the upcoming race depends on which trail I practice on that week before.”

Not only does this sport require an abundance of physical and mental preparation, but the endless support of Mooney’s family.

“My dad is all for it, considering he rode as a kid. He also enjoys me riding because it is a great way that we bond and spend time together,” Mooney said. “My mom on the other hand doesn’t like the long list of dangers that come with my sport, but nevertheless, she is still one of my biggest fans.”

Along with the sport itself being dangerous, the possible injuries go on endlessly.

“There is a high chance of injury when racing dirt bikes,” Mooney said. “But it is just another part of the sport, and it adds to the thrill.”

Due to the profusion of dangers and hours of preparations, competitive dirt bike racing requires an ampleness of dedication and desire.

“The main force behind the drive of my passion is the thrill of racing and the feeling I get when I pass someone and make it to the top,” Mooney said. “I just fell in love with the feeling, and after my first race, I knew I had found something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Darren Mooney poses with his dirt bike on a course he uses to practice for competition
Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer
Darren Mooney poses with his dirt bike on a course he uses to practice for competition