Wilmington families join Team USA for international BMX tournament
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When it comes to racing in North Carolina, the names Petty and Earnhardt come to mind -- but a couple of Wilmington families are preparing for the race of a lifetime.
Believe it or not, it’s not a sport either family has been involved with for very long. It was only a few years ago that Natasha Moore’s family took their bicycles from the streets of Wilmington to a BMX track in Raleigh.
“You do it once and you say you’re not competitive but you’re competitive,” said Natasha Moore. “Once we were in, we were in, so our whole family bike races.”
Not long after that, she convinced the Saulter family to give it a try. It sparked a chain reaction: first, 8-year-old Gwendolyn fell in love with the sport.
“I like the turns,” Gwendolyn said. “You can cut down low in front of people. It feels like all the wind is up against you but when there’s no wind, you’re very fast.”
Then her mom Amanda Saulter got into the sport after seeing how much fun her kids and husband were having. It didn’t take long for her to rise through the ranks, too, placing among the top racers in the nation.
“It’s very fast-paced,” said Amanda. “There’s a lot of adrenaline. You’re constantly trying to watch what your other riders are doing, get around them the best you can, maneuver around...”
Now, the Saulters are joining Moore and her son to represent the United States in the BMX World’s Championships in France at the end of the month. It’s an impressive feat to accomplish in just a couple of years, especially in a male-dominated sport.
“Not only that, but starting as an older woman, not as a child, because a lot of racers have been doing it for years and years and I just started,” said Saulter. “I think it’s exciting to put the women out there in the sport and show that women can race BMX too. It’s not just men.”
Amanda Saulter will compete against more than 20 women in the 30-39 cruiser women’s race while her 8-year-old daughter competes against 67 other girls in her age group. Meanwhile, Natasha Moore is biking against 55 women in the 40 & over women’s race and her son, Maxwell, will face just as many bikers in his own race.
“It’s surreal. I’d say it’s extremely surreal,” said Moore. “We’re on Team USA. It’s pretty cool -- we have Team USA jerseys coming. It’s all really legit.”
It’s a feat not many accomplish as only the top eight in each age group have the option to attend. Still, Gwendolyn says her race to the top has only just begun.
“I want to be an Olympic BMX rider,” said the eight-year-old.
The World Championships will have to do for now.
As these two moms pack their bags and their bikes for the long plane ride, they have advice to put anyone on a track to success.
“Try something that you don’t think you can do,” said Moore. “I’m 48 years old. I’m not a spring chicken and I’m doing it and I’m doing it well. Just step outside your comfort zone.”
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