Pedal power rules at BMX track

Motocross: A boy's love of racing led his family into the track business.

Arundel At Play

Recreation and local sports in Anne Arundel County

August 17, 2005|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When they're 2 years old, most children are dealing with the complexities of things such as walking and talking. Eric Posey was doing those things, too, but also working hard at learning how to ride a bicycle.

Chuck Posey noticed how much his son enjoyed being on the bicycle, something he was discussing with a business client a few years later. The man asked Posey whether he had thought about bringing then-5-year-old Eric to a local BMX track to see that kind of bicycle racing.

That conversation changed the lives of the Poseys, who eventually became a force for building and operating a BMX track in Anne Arundel County.

BMX is the shortened name for bicycle motocross, the racing of nonmotorized bikes over jumps and berms on a dirt course, and it was a sport that at age 5 Eric Posey quickly fell in love with. Chuck Posey first took his son to a BMX track in Columbia - it's now a grocery store.

But that track closed about 10 years ago, forcing the Poseys to go to Pennsylvania tracks in York and Lebanon. Chuck and Cathy Posey and their family wanted to find something closer to their Millersville home, and soon became a driving force in getting a BMX track built locally.

"I had never even heard of [BMX]," said Chuck Posey, an accountant. "But the first time I went to track, I was amazed. My son always enjoyed his bike and ... he just loved BMX."

It took about five years to build a track that has been in operation for about four years. Posey said that finding a place to put the track became the biggest issue as the county's Department of Recreation and Parks was willing to let the project take shape.

They finally found room at Severn-Danza Athletic Park - where the agency leases them land for $1 a year.

The track is 1,200 feet long and shaped, in Posey's words, "like a horseshoe inside of a horseshoe." It's a four-turn track with a series of "technical obstacles" for the biker.

Posey helped create Chesapeake BMX Inc., a nonprofit organization about seven years old with a membership of about 350 and strong volunteer corps that makes the races happen on Sundays from mid-April through late November.

Posey said that about a dozen people are needed to run the facilities on race days, not including the concession stands, and they've built a strong group that enjoys putting on the races. He said he spends 10 to 12 hours each week making everything happen at the track and with the club.

Cathy Posey is one of the regular volunteers who enjoys helping and creating a family-like atmosphere. She's there to watch Eric race and her husband help run the track. Their daughter, Brandie, is a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia who also volunteers and has shot footage used in a commercial.

"A lot of people really look forward to it," Cathy Posey said. "We're all there supporting each other. It's like we're one big family, and it's a family activity."

Chuck Posey said the track draws riders as young as 4 and as old as 50, with a number of father-and-child teams.

The races take 45 to 50 seconds, and riders are split into groups based on age and ability.

Posey and Chesapeake BMX are hosting the state championship races next month and are looking to make changesl.

The biggest would be the installation of lights - "the same kind of lights seen at football fields" - with a target date of April. Posey said they'll then move the races from Sunday afternoons to Friday nights, mainly to try to eliminate dealing with the heat.

Rich Ludlow is one of the regular track officials. He brings his son every Sunday and is a big fan of the sport and what the Posey family has done.

"It's a good thing for the kids," said Ludlow, a Silver Spring resident. "Every child I know that races here enjoys it. The [Poseys] have done a good job with this track."

Eric Posey, the person who indirectly started the drive to get a BMX track built in Anne Arundel County, now is 18 and just graduated from Severna Park High. He isn't racing as much in years past but still helps out every weekend at the track and loves the sport.

Eric enjoys watching how much children fall in love with BMX the way he did.

"It's fun to see how much the kids like it, and how much I used to be like that, imitating the older riders," he said. "In [BMX] you can do it all on your own. You win the race by yourself and you lose the race all by yourself."

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