Cole Swindler of Kennewick and Kaden Beutler of Pasco both achieved career milestones when they qualified for the prestigious Rocky Mountain ATV/MC American Motorcyclist Association Amateur National Motocross Championships recently.
The duo both recorded top finishes in the Loretta Lynn Nationals Regional qualifier on June 6 at Washougal Motocross Park in southwest Washington.
Swindler took first place in three different race classifications to earn a trip to nationals.
Swindler, 15, won the 250 C Class, the 450 C Class and the 250 C (age 12-16) Limited Division.
Beutler, 17, rode his JMC Motorsports-sponsored 250 cc Honda motorcycle to victory in the 450 B Class, and he took fourth place in both the 450 B Limited Class and the 250 B Class.
Only the top four in each class qualified for nationals at the Washougal regional, which included over 400 riders from 25 states.
Beutler works at JMC Motorsports in Pasco, and he’s an Honors student and an incoming senior Chiawana High in Pasco.
Beutler has a workout schedule that he’s also benefited from tremendously while training at Galloways Sports & Fitness in Kennewick.
Swindler has enjoyed remarkable success recently while qualifying for Loretta Lynn’s a second consecutive year.
In 2014, Beutler won the California Classic Race and he took third at a national race in Texas.
Beutler, who has been competing in motocross since he was 4 years old, finished 13th last year in the 250 C Class at Loretta Lynn’s.
“It’s definitely a big deal to qualify for Loretta Lynn’s, especially since I wasn’t exactly sure that I would even make it,” said Beutler. “I’ve been competing hard like everyone else and I was just hoping to make it. I’ve been working my butt off the last two months in order to get here. It’s definitely a cool experience to be here and I’m sure glad that I have the opportunity to compete here. Last year I was hoping to get a top-10 finish, but things just didn’t work out that way for me. There’s so many variable situations that you have to be aware of and I’m just hoping to do the best I can and have a top finish.”
Swindler and Beutler will compete in their first race today.
Beutler’s 250 B Class race is at 9:30 a.m.
Swindler’s 250 C (12-16) limited Class race is at 3:30 p.m.
All the national events can be seen live on RacerTV.com.
“No matter who you are or where you are from, everyone wants to get here and it’s just the highlight of the season to make it here,” said Beutler. “It’s really a pretty cool experience and it’s actually the best event to participate in all year and I can’t wait until the first race (today).”
Beutler and Swindler both earned a spot in the AMA Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., that runs this week through Saturday.
The huge event includes over 1,200 cyclists, who compete in various age group classifications (ages 4 through 50 and over) and skill levels (beginner, intermediate, expert).
It’s recognized as the world’s largest amateur motocross race of the year.
“I’ve been trying to reach the Loretta Lynn Nationals ever since I first began racing dirt bikes at age 8,” said Swindler, who has competed in regionals the last six years. “I’ve been working so hard and I’m really excited because it’s a big accomplishment. I’m so happy that I finally made it to nationals for the first time ever and I think I’ll do pretty good there.”
Swindler’s goal is to become a professional and compete in the Peterson Cat Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series.
This 12-race series at tracks throughout the United States includes the Washougal National, which was held this past Saturday.
The next event in the series is Aug. 8 in New Berlin, N.Y.
Swindler races often while riding his Factory Connection sponsored 2014 KTM 250cc 2-stroke motorcycle in events at Washougal, Mountain View Motocross Park in Sandy, Ore., and also at the Horn Rapids ORV Park in Richland.
Swindler competed at Washougal July 4-5 in the Classic Series on the 1.5-mile hillside course and he notched four wins.
Swindler took the checkered flag twice in the 4-lap 250 BTH C/D Class moto’s, in addition to winning two moto’s in the age 12-15 Class.
“I hope to eventually become a pro rider and receive a factory sponsorship within the next couple of years,” said Swindler, whose favorite pro is Ken Roczen from Germany. “Motocross takes up lots of my time with training and practice, and I also enter races nearly every weekend.”
The top pro motocross riders reach the pinnacle of the sport when they’re rewarded with what’s known as a factory ride.
This enables them to receive full support from motorcycle manufacturers (KTM, Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki) while competing in events around the country.
Riders in the Classic Series compete for points, prizes and trophies, which will be awarded at the end of the season.
The seventh and final event in the series is Aug. 15 at Washougal.
Swindler is ranked fourth in the age 12-15 class with 80 points.
Washougal longtime public address announcer Brian Barnes is familiar with nearly every rider who competes at the track, and he’s been impressed with Swindler’s accomplishment.
“Cole is one of the fastest junior riders in the Northwest,” said Barnes. “He started riding 60 cc bikes and now he’s absolutely come into his own while riding the big bikes now. He’s definitely one of the most smoothest and most calculated and cunning riders on the track.
“Cole certainly has a bright future ahead of him in motocross and he’ll have a good shot at becoming a pro, but the key thing is, he’ll just have to stay healthy.”
Swindler will be a junior at Southridge High School in Kennewick.
He left July 22 on a long 2,240 mile road trip with his father Van and mother Vaunda to travel to Tennessee in their Chevrolet diesel pickup truck and trailer.
Kaden and his parents, Richard and Ina, left July 21 to travel to Tennessee.