- Special Sections
- Public Notices
“He’s tougher than a pine knot.”
That’s John Boots’ assessment of his grandson, Colston, 11, who lives with his family in their Harbor Point home in Carrollton.
Colston Boots, a sixth-grader at Carroll County Middle School, is a rising star on the dirt-bike racing circuit, competing in – and winning – competitions on tracks throughout Kentuckiana.
On Monday, sitting among shelves filled with trophies and walls adorned with plaques in Colston’s bedroom, his dad, Josh, said when his son turned 5, he offered to buy him either a dirt bike or a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle.
The bike won, hands down.
“Once I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!” Colston recalled. “I didn’t say anything for three minutes.”
His first trip around a dirt track sealed Colston’s fate.
He began earning his roomful of awards when he startedriding that CRF Honda 50 cc in 2006. His first plaque was for taking third place that year in the Kentucky State Championship Series.
Josh said he didn’t know anything about dirt-bike racing when Colston started competing, and admits, “When he started out, I was too hard on him.”
Over the years, both father and son have hit their stride. “We really had a lot of fun with it this year,” Josh said. “The main goal, it doesn’t matter where he finishes, as long as he rode to his potential and gives 100 percent.”
Colston knows that if he doesn’t feel he can give his all in a particular race, he can tell his dad he doesn’t want to race that weekend.
The open communication between them “saves us a lot of money and time, and me getting mad,” Josh said.
Racing isn’t cheap. On any given weekend, Josh will spend about $300 for fuel, gate fees, race fees, food and other necessities. “That’s if you don’t break something” on the bike, he added. Repairs, of course, bring additional costs.
They get a lot of support from Grandpa John, who has chipped in during times when money has been tight. Colston also is sponsored by Yamaha of Carrollton, and father and son are hoping Colston will land a big-name sponsor or two at the Nov. 19 awards banquet he’ll be attending as champion of the Horseshoe Bend MX Park’s Fall Series.
“As an amateur, he can’t win money [and sponsors] can’t give him money,” Josh said. “But they can sell us supplies at cost. That helps a whole lot.”
Colston has graduated through a series of bikes since the Honda 50. He has raced a Cobra 50 and a KTM 65, and is now riding a Yamaha YZ 85.
When the circuit starts up again next year, he’ll be racing against kids as old as 15, Josh said. “He’ll really have a challenge. All the kids will be way bigger and way stronger” than Colston.
But, he knows his son well. “He rides fairly smart, and the majority of it is self-taught,” Josh said, adding that so far, Colston hasn’t been to any racing camps or received professional training. “He has a gift. He improves every time he rides. He learns a lot from watching people on TV or on the track.”
So far, Colston has only had a few serious accidents, but no serious injuries. While training in the yard, Colston once wrapped his bike around a tree. Josh pointed to the bent wheel rim that hangs in his room as a reminder – a different sort of trophy.
The scariest incident for both of them was during a race on Sept. 14, 2008, when Hurricane Ike blew through the Bluegrass State. At the same time Colston made a jump up a hill on the track, the wind knocked down the top of a huge tree nearby. The tree missed Colston, but its two main branches landed on either end of the bike, smashing it to the ground.
Josh said Colston was thrown over the handlebars on impact. He was stunned, but not injured. “Somebody was looking out for him.”
But each time, Colston gets right back on. “Any time he has a bad crash, he’s timid for a couple of races until he gets it back,” Josh said.
“It takes a lot of guts,” Colston admits.
The Nickota Motorsports track in Bedford is his favorite place to ride, and one of its namesakes – Nick Howard, No. 228 – was one of his heroes.
Howard, a talented dirt-bike racer, was killed in an automobile crash in 2008.
“He had just gotten his pro license,” Josh recalled. “He was a good kid. He had a bright, bright future on a bike.”
“He was the best, besides Andrew Short, on D-Track,” Colston added.
Other heroes are Travis Patrana, a professional racer and stunt rider, and James “Bubba” Stewart, who, Colston said, “is the best of the best.”
With eight championship wins to his credit, Colston isn’t doing too bad himself and shows no sign of slowing down.
Riding “is an adrenaline rush. Every time I try a new jump, if I don’t land it right, I try harder. If I do, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ it feels so good,” Colston said. “It’s just been a thrill for me, for my whole life, ever since I was 5.”
And throughout his career, his dad and grandfather will be there for him.
“As long as he wants to ride, I’ll support him,” Josh said.