Hillclimbing is family affair for Diercks, Curtis
HAGER CITY - Hager City resident Zach Diercks won the 2011 AMA Hillclimb Championship Aug. 13-14 for ATV 2 Strokes in Dayton, Ohio.
Diercks, 18, had a time of 10.518 to place first in his second trip to the championship. Diercks first championship competition came two years ago in New Ulm, Minn.
"I didn't think I had the best time until I got down the hill," Diercks said.
Diercks beat out 24 other riders at nationals.
Diercks placed fifth two years ago at nationals and has been riding competitively for just three years. Diercks' brother, Carson Curtis, also competes and placed 10th in the 250 cc class and 16th in the 600 cc class.
The family traveled to Dayton for the competition because that's where nationals will be held for the next five years.
Hillclimbing is a timed competition where riders try to reach the top of a hill in the fastest time. Riders encounter jumps, rough paths and rocks along the way, which heightens the possibility for a crash.
"It was kind of rough," Zach said. "You had to pick the right lane and not hit any rocks."
Hillclimbing has become a family activity with members fixing dirt bikes and ATVs after races constantly. Several modifications must be made to ready a bike for competition. The back wheel is extended eight inches to prevent the rider from flipping and many other adjustments are made to the engine.
"There's nothing stock on them," Zach said.
Zach rides a Yamaha Banshee in competition and preparing the ATV requires a lot of time and a lot of money, Zach's father, Joel said.
The cost of modifications can run between $5,000 and $6,000, not to mention the cost of the ATV or bike.
"You're constantly working on them," Joel said. "Between every race you've got to do something."
The sport allows the family to spend a lot of time together traveling to competitions on the weekend or making repairs to the bikes. The season runs from May through September and races are held in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. Zach and Carson ride in the District 23 circuit and accumulate points throughout the season.
The hills average around 300 feet in distance and have ruts and rocks riders have to avoid.