TIMONIUM — Motorcycle racing doesn't stop when the weather turns cold.
It moves indoors to the Maryland State Fairgrounds here every fall for several Saturday nights in October and November.
The Timonium Indoors Short Track Series, sponsored by the Optimist Club of Cockeysville and the Baltimore County Trail Riders, brings together motorcycle competitors from all types of racing.
Camel-Pro riders like Rodney Ferris of Monkton, Baltimore County, use indoor racing to stay in shape. Greg Boutwell of Hampstead does it for the competition, while others, like Ian Riley of Mount Airy, do it for fun.
Motorcycle racing is not new to Riley. He has been riding bikes in motocross competition since he was 5 years old.
His early startcan be attributed to his father. After all, what do you expect the son of the owner of Fredericktown Yamaha in Frederick to do?
Riley started in the 80-cubic-centimeter class in 1978, and by 1981, he reached the expert level at the ripe old age of 8. He raced in the Mid-Atlantic Motocross Association until he was 17.
For the past four years, Riley has been attending college during the week and racing on weekends in the 250-cubic-centimeter expert class. He expects to graduate in June from Salisbury State University in Wicomico County with a marketing degree.
For the past three years, Riley has finished among the top 10 in points in District 7 competition outdoors. Last year, he finished second in points at Trail-Way Speedway in Hanover, Pa. This year, his season started with a major injury.
"I separated my shoulder the week before the first point race," he said. "I was ata disadvantage right from the start."
But the injury did not keepIan from riding. He raced the following week with his shoulder heavily bandaged. Because he wanted to race for points, he didn't follow his doctor's order to stay off the bike for awhile. It was six weeks before he fully recovered from his injury.
Riley came back from hisinjury to finish with one of his best years. Despite a slow start, he finished fifth in District 7 points and fourth at Trail-Way.
In addition to the 250 Expert class, Riley raced in a couple of 500 Pro races this year at Atlanta Supercross and Budds Creek in Charles County. At Budds Creek, Riley finished second to Silver Run's Tim Schemelyun.
Riley attended the indoor series once last year and liked what he saw. This year, some of the outdoor riders he competes against urged him to give it a try.
Last weekend, Riley came home from school for the weekend and entered his first indoor event.
There is nocomparison between motocross and indoor racing. About the only common denominator is the motorcycle.
Motocross takes place on long courses with high jumps and is a test of endurance. Indoor racing is done on a short course -- less than one-tenth of a mile -- laid out on flat concrete.
In indoor racing, each rider is given a practice lapand a lap under the electric eye. The fastest qualifiers make it into the heat event, while the slower riders go to the consolation. Because this was Riley's first time on the short, flat concrete track, his time placed him in the consolation.
Adapting to indoor racing was quite a challenge.
"I had the bike for a while," Ian said of the250 Yamaha bike. "So I thought I'd bring it out and race it for a while."
A lot of the experience Riley had accumulated over 13 years could not be used.
"There are a lot of techniques that are different here," he said. "There is no front brake, and that is hard to get used too. You have to learn to use the compression back pressure of the engine to brake you in the turns.
"In motocross racing, you spend a lot of your time in the air. This makes suspension very important. For indoor racing, the bike needs to be set up right for cornering."
In the consolation, Ian's chain came off, and he never finished. Although he didn't qualify, Riley said he enjoyed his first indoor race and will return for future races.
"I had a great time. It wasa good way to change things up," he said. "I did motocross all season, and it was tense with all the point races. It was fun to do something different. I'll try again next week if I am caught up on my studies."
Riley's father, his major sponsor, has missed only two races since Ian been racing. Besides Fredericktown Yamaha, sponsors includeScott USA and Answer Products/Tucker Rocky.
The 21-year-old college senior plans to continue motocross racing after and is thinking about turning pro soon.
Please send your ideas to Carroll motor sports, The Carroll County Sun, 15 East Main St., Westminster, Md. 21157-5052. FAX: 876-0233.