4th-Grader Jockeys Cycle To Racing Renown

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At only 10, Amber Owings has already set an ambitious goal for herself.

"I want to be the No. 1 woman in motocross," the Julia Randall elementary school fourth-grader said.

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Amber Owings, 10, flies over a jump at the USA Team Motocross Championships held Nov. 27-30 at Cycle Ranch near San Antonio, Texas. Owings hopes someday to become the top woman racer in the world.

Her father, Gary, is among the family members to recognize that the youngster has long focused on a motocross racing career.

"Since she first got on a cycle as a 7-year-old, she's wanted to be the best woman racer," he said.

Amber remembers her racing passions as having their roots near the family's former home in Ocala, Fla.

"I saw a little Honda XR-50 in a shop and wanted it so bad," she said. Eventually, she accumulated enough money in her personal savings to purchase the cycle.

After months of practice, Amber made her racing debut at a motocross event held at Hard Rock Cycle Park in Oklahoma.

There, a second-place finish in her age/cc group was all the motivation the youngster needed to eagerly delve into a racing career.

Amber took a nice-size step toward realizing her ambition of being the number-one racer in the world at the Third Annual USA Team Motocross Championships held Nov. 27 to 30 near San Antonio, Texas. There, she teamed with Ryan Eppers to finish second in the 65cc competition. In the 7- to 9-year old solo championships, she was seventh.

Along with her superb efforts in San Antonio, Amber has racked up a long list of other racing accomplishments that has stamped her one of the most promising young racers in the United States.

Among her achievements is a first place finish in the 7-9-year-old competition at the Altex Computer Championship Pro-Am held last month. She was also first at the WMX Western Pro-Am contested last April and won both the 65 cc stock and 65 cc open division at the 2002 Motocross World Winter Series.

In all, Amber has accumulated 26 first-place finishes in motocross competition and is a five-time champion in both American Motocross Association and Women's Motocross League events.

The trophies and plaques she's earned are enough to cover an entire wall in the family's Payson home. Her racing endeavors have also allowed her to travel the United States visiting places most youngsters her age would never have the opportunity to see.

During the course of about a three-year-racing career, she's also had to overcome a series of injuries that would dampen the enthusiasm of most pre-teens.

Among the maladies are a broken leg and nose and a torn Achilles tendon.

The broken leg, suffered during a 2002 Florida Series race, relegated her to the sidelines for only a couple of months.

The injuries, she says, are all a part of learning to become a world class motocross racer.

In molding herself into an accomplished competitor, Amber has studied under some of the finest racing teachers in the world. Some of the racing academies she's attended include Florida schools taught by Dean Dyez, Jadd Knox, Travis Blackburn, Gary Allred and John Logan.

Her accomplishments on the motocross circuit are now beginning to pay dividends. Honda recently chose her, and five other young racers from around the country, to be a part of a "Honda Creating Champions" television commercial that aired on both Speedvision and ESPN-2.

The racers also were featured on a Honda advertising poster that has been distributed nationwide.

"That was fun doing the commercial and making the poster," Amber said.

With the long list of endeavors to her credit, Amber's immediate goal is to move up from the 65 cc class to 85 cc and qualify for the granddaddy of all women's racing events -- the Loretta Lynn Motocross championships to be held in August 2004 at Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

Amber's motocross deeds have also brought the youngster a measure of recognition among her classmates at JRE.

"They all know I race and they're always asking be about it," she said. "That's OK; I like to talk about racing."

Racing on the nation-wide circuit also carries with it a tremendous financial burden that could cripple a family budget. Thankfully, Amber has attracted several sponsors who have stepped up to provide the backing she needs. Among them are The Oxbow Saloon, Furry friends, Muler Electric, Highland Tractor Co., Back Street Salon, Rim Country Pet Salon, Bernie's Cycle and MX South Parts and Accessories.

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