HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Every day for the past 14 years, Kelly Towsend has heard the sound of the gate drop, the pedals start spinning, and the wheels start turning.
“That’s a great sound,” she said with a laugh. To her, though, they are more than sounds. They’re a reminder of a calling and a passion shared by the BMX riders in and around Hampton- and they all share that passion at Hampton BMX.
The track has been around for over 30 years, and welcomes riders as young as 2 and currently as experienced (shall we say) as 68. “I’m usually out here 4 nights a week,” said Martin Casey, who caught the racing bug after watching his children race, “(I) practice on Monday, Tuesday, race on Thursday evenings and Saturday evenings.”
Thursdays and Saturdays are race nights at Hampton BMX, and those events can attract riders from all up and down the east coast. “We started it because of the heat in the middle of the summer,” said Towsend, “‘Oh It’s too hot! So, let’s start racing nights.’
“Well everybody fell in love with it. So that’s our thing: Saturday night at Hamton BMX under the lights.”
Towsend’s son, Andrew Towsend, is the no. 1-ranked amateur BMX rider in the country, but Kelly shares what makes the track a special place goes beyond just racing. It’s a community and a family.
“It’s a typical cliche, ‘A family that plays together stays together,’ but that’s truly what this is about out here,” she said.