And, 40 years later, one has sold his bike and doesn’t plan to do it again; the other is not sure.
The brothers are Wade and Randy Woodall. Wade, who lives in Houston, is 51; Randy, who lives in Calallen, is 54.
At the Rio Bravo motocross track in Houston Nov. 10, the pair clinched American Historic Racing Motocross Association championships. Wade took the Classic 125 expert title; Randy won the 500 novice class.
The numbers refer to the size of the engines, measured in cubic centimeters.
“These are vintage motorcycles we rode when we were growing up,” Wade says.
A favorite racing track, back then, was the High Chaparral, near State Highway 202 and the U.S. 181 Bypass. With Google Earth, the track still is visible.
If parents of their friends objected to their starting to ride at such an early age, the pair dismissed their concerns.
“We didn’t hang around those parents,” Wade remembers.
The Nov. 10 event was at the end of a series of races that began last March and ended nine months later, with stops in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Alabama, Virginia and two in Texas.
“We’d leave for a weekend race on a Thursday evening and drive all night to get to it. As soon as the race was over,” Wade said, “we’d get in the car and drive to the next one.”
While many adults in their 50s might object to being connected with the word “vintage,” both brothers are quick to point out that motocross racing makes more physical demands than any other sport, save soccer.
Races generally consist of two heats of two races each. Each race means around 20 minutes driving a heavy cycle as fast as possible over dirt tracks that often require the cycle to go airborne.
Wade rode cycles made in the 1970s but which were lovingly and painstakingly rebuilt from the tires up in Southern California.
“It’s an expensive hobby,” Randy says. “You can easily drop $10,000 or more on a single bike.
“But, I prefer to ride vintage bikes,” Randy says. “I’m old school.”
The older bikes, he says, are easier to handle and have more control because their shock absorbers travel only four inches compared to a foot or more on newer bikes.
“To me,” he adds, “they’re a lot more fun.”
In 2008, both brothers decided to compete for the national titles.
“I said, ‘if we’re going to do this thing, I’m going all out,’” Wade said.
He rode two motorcycles owned by his sponsor, Allan Pagan of Corpus Christi, who used to race with Wade in the 1980s.
Randy rode his own cycle.
Pagan, who no longer rides because of health issues, asked Wade, “You want to ride these things?”
“Sure,” Wade replied.
“So, I used Wade,” Pagan says, “to vicariously ride for me.”
Not without danger.
Certainly, it’s dangerous, Pagan says. “You rarely have fatalities but injuries are common.”
But Wade dismisses the threat. “There are so many things in life that are dangerous.”
On Nov. 10, after winning their national titles, the brothers apparently took separate paths.
“I quit,” Randy says. “I’d had enough. I sold my motorcycle while I was still at the race.”
He has bought a racing car to compete at the South Texas Speedway. “It’s like NASCAR on dirt,” he says. “It’s just Saturday night fun.”
Not so, Wade.
“I don’t know,” he admits. “I might race once or twice a year, but I have seven motorcycles in my garage. You start thinking…
“I’m just undecided. It would mean a lot of traveling.”
The appeal of motocross could be the tipping point.
“There’s nothing like it,” Wade says. “I can’t explain it.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.