Week after week, the name of Tim Schmelyun has been near the top of the winners' list at area speedways.
He is winning everywhere he races. The 30-year-old Silver Run native is the most dominant rider inarea motorcross racing.
He has won 190 of the 210 races he entered this year, with most of the wins coming at Trail-Way Speedway in Hanover, Pa.
Schmelyun is a true athlete. He has to be, in order to take the punishment a motorcross rider endures.
Neither a football player nor a boxer takes the physical punishment that a motorcross rider takes. In addition to strength, Schmelyun possesses the speed and style that can match any national pro in the nation.
"I still am sore every Monday morning when I go to work," said Schmelyun, a carpenter for J-5 Contractorin Mount Airy.
But instead of cutting back, he continues to ride as hard as he did when he first started 10 years ago.
"The only way to stay on top is to race as much as you can," he said.
So Schmelyun races every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, plus some afternoons. He races in four regions that cover the entire East Coast.
It's not unusual for Schmelyun to race 12 times in a weekend.
He hasdone so well that he has won three 1991 district championships and is about to clinch his fourth.
Motorcross racing is tough. The course can be more than 2 miles long and it may take several minutes to run one qualifying event, more for the feature event.
Not only is the course long, it has left and right turns, some so sharp the rider almost comes to a stop. Then there are jumps or hills ranging from 2-to 30-feet high that hurl the rider and his bike up to 15 feet in the air.
The toughest jumps are the back-to-back hills. Riders must hit them at the right speed so they can take off from one and come down on the far side of the second one.
If they aren't going fast enough, the rider usually hits the front part of the second hill too hard to finish the race. Schmelyun admits he thinks more about not making the jumps now than he did when he was younger.
Schmelyun is sponsored by Hanover Kawasaki of Hanover, Pa., and Pro Circuit, S & D Helmet Designs, Smith Goggles and AXO.
The Schmelyun name has been apart of the local racing scene since the 1950s. Tim's father, Rick Schmelyun Sr., was a top super modified driver who raced at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover and Dorsey Speedway in Howard County. Tim's brother, Rick Jr., followed in their father's footsteps and races super sprints on the central Pennsylvania sprint car circuit every week.
Timwanted to race sprint cars, but realized he would never have the financial resources to race on his own.
When he was 20, he ran a friend's dirt bike once and has been racing every weekend since.
Tim Schmelyun started in the novice class for rookie riders and within three months earned enough points to move up to the C Class. Before the year was over, he was riding in the expert class.
Not many riders make the expert class in their first year.
Schmelyun races a 1991 Kawasaki 500 in the Open A Pro Class and in the 25+ Pro-Expert Class.It has a water-cooled 500-cubic-centimeter, two-cycle engine and is equipped with 13-inch shocks that have 36 different adjustments.
He runs the same bike all year. It cost about $4,000, and he added about $500 of racing accessories.
"I have a practice bike and a race bike," said Schmelyun. "It is getting to the point where I am racing whichever one is together. The race bike is falling apart now."
Money plays an important part in motor sports. But it does not influence the outcome of motocross as much as it does other types of racing.
"It is not like dirt track racing, where the man with the most money goes the fastest and wins the most," said Schmelyun. "In motocrossracing, you can put all the money you want into it, and it still comes down to the rider. It takes the rider -- not the bike -- to win."
Schmelyun has shown that he is a winner.
He hopes to keep racing as long as he can, but knows it has to come to an end.
His wife,Kathy, is due to have their first baby any time now. They are looking forward to having a child that can carry on the family racing tradition.