High risk, higher fun: local 5th-grader has a need for speed

Published 9:24 pm Thursday, November 4, 2021

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After school activities for fifth-graders run the gamut. Some attend on-site after school care, some go to camp-like settings for special programs and some go home on the bus. Trent Ashley rides his motorcycle.

Most afternoons, depending on the weather, the soon to be 11-year old can be found riding his 65cc Honda at the 5 Points MX track in Pinetown, near his home in Old Ford.

Trent attends Washington Montessori Public Charter School, where his mom, Stacey, teaches. His dad, Jim, who runs his own home improvement business, is in charge of transporting Trent to the track, since he can’t legally ride on the street just yet.

His older brothers Hunter (18) and Mason (14) also rode, so Trent is continuing the family tradition, yet charting his own course.

“I remember watching my brothers and thinking how much fun it would be,” Trent said. “I got my first bike for Christmas when I was seven and have been riding ever since. I played t-ball and basketball when I was younger, but now it’s my only sport and I love it.”

An extreme sport to be sure. Both of Trent’s brothers stopped racing after multiple injuries to their legs, feet, and collarbones. Trent broke his elbow in the middle of a wipe out in a race and Jim knows there is potential for more.

“There’s no doubt he could get hurt and I worry about it every race,” he said. “However, kids can get hurt playing any sport and I’ll support him as long as he puts in the effort.”

Trent currently competes in the Coastal Carolina Motocross Series with an eye toward moving up to the more competitive American Motorcyclist Association. He has 25 races under his belt this year on tracks of a mile or more with 10 to 20 jumps of varying heights and tight corners to navigate as well. Most races are five laps and last 15-20 minutes, but some are longer.

“There’s a lot of strategy to it, not just hit the gas and go,” Trent said. “Each track is different and I have to get a feel for the right line and how fast to go in the corners. I don’t have time to worry about getting hurt, because the next jump is always coming up.”

Trent’s first bike was a 50cc. The next step is 85cc all the way to 450cc for the adult pros. Top speed for his current model is 30 miles an hour on the straightaways and 25 in the corners.

“He’s handled the speeds pretty well so far and he’s just about ready to move up,” Jim said. “We’ll probably run more AMA races next year.”

How much track time he sees is directly tied to his performance in school and his parents closely monitor his assignments.

“He knows he’s not going anywhere during the week until his work is done,” Jim said. “He also knows there are no races on weekends if he’s behind or his grades aren’t good.”

For his part, Trent is willing to do what it takes to keep moving up.

“I want to turn pro after I’m 16, so I want to race as much as possible. I learn something every time about when to pass in the corners, when to throw it wide open and how to approach the big jumps. The adrenaline rush is pretty fun too. High risk, higher fun, I guess.”