Okeechobee’s Carter Clay qualifies for national race

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee’s Carter Clay has earned a ticket to The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship race happening in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. on July 29-Aug. 3.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Ashley Clay
Carter Clay with his ticket to The 2019 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship.

Carter, who is nine years old, has already qualified for the national tournament two previous times in his young career. He’ll be attempting to win it for the first time this year, but Carter already has a few titles on his resume.

In 2017 he took home the titles at the Florida State Championship and at the James Stewart Spring National.

Carter’s mom, Ashley Clay, says she feels pride in watching her son work hard to achieve his goals.

“When you as a parent help your child train day in and day out seven days a week missing family functions just to get that last bit of riding in, it’s very rewarding to get that ticket,” said Mrs. Clay. “A lot of people don’t understand just how valuable that ticket is. Hard work, sweat, thousands of miles traveled, sleepless nights and early mornings were a part of earning it. To see your child work so hard to achieve something is a huge accomplishment for the entire family. We as parents can only help so much. He is the one who has to push hard and ride the races.”

Just qualifying for the national motocross race is a feat in and of itself.

To do so you must place in the top eight at an area qualifier which moves you on to the regional qualifier. Once there you must place in the top six in a field of the best 65 riders from different states in your region. There are eight regions total.

Only the country’s best 42 riders per class earn a ticket to the national tournament in Hurricane Mills.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/WFO Productions
Carter Clay gets some air during a motocross race.

Carter’s father, Russell Clay, also competed in motocross growing up and was able to qualify for nationals once in his career. Russell gave up his career in motocross to help his son Carter achieve his goals in the sport.

“Carter loves how many friends the motocross community has given him,” said Mrs. Clay on Carter’s love of the sport. “No matter where or what state we travel to, he always has a buddy around. They all help one another out and support each other. He likes the drive motocross gives him.”

To help prepare for the national race, Carter will participate in a training program located in Tallassee, Ala., at Monster Mountain MX Park.

The program will include physical training, motocross training and mental coaching to help him prepare for the national race. Carter has ambitions of being a pro racer one day and this program proves he already trains like one.

The Clay family is selling a Carter Clay candle to help cover the costs to the national tournament. The candle features a cartoon of Carter on his bike and is available to purchase at Okeechobee Feed. You can also sponsor Carter by contacting Ashley Clay at ashp08@gmail.com.

The young racer has already attracted support from Okeechobee and the motocross community, including Fox Racing, Dunlop, Mxtire.com, ProCircuit, 180 Decals, Cobra Motorcycles, MotoSeat, Sic Wicks, WW Motocross Ranch, ProTaper, Innovative Accessories, the Hoover Family and Kris Mccracken.

“We just want to thank everyone from our small town community who support us and help Carter achieve his goals,” said Mrs. Clay of support from the Okeechobee community. “My husband was born and raised in this town and it feels wonderful to be able to represent such a small town in so many huge ways.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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