Grand Lake’s Riley Bender joins Law Tigers, BRP race team
Riley Bender might not be old enough to drive a car yet but he is already making a name for himself in the racing world, albeit on two wheels.
The 12-year-old Grand Lake boy was recently selected as a new member for the Law Tigers / BRP amateur offroad racing team for the 2019 season. Over the next several months, from early March through November, Bender will race at a series of events across multiple states as part of the Rocky Mountain Enduro Circuit. He will compete in 13 races in all as part of a team of five featuring young athletes from Colorado and New Mexico.
“It is really cool,” Bender said with a grin. “It is nice to be riding at this level.”
Bender’s first race of the year will be held during the weekend of March 9 and 10 in north Texas. He will continue to race at more locations in Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming along with several stops in Colorado including Craig and Meeker. The races will all be restart and reliability enduro motorcycle races, two distinct types of enduro racing.
Restart enduro racing features a single racer leaving from a specified location on a cross country loop course. Riders must complete the course within a specific time interval before restarting the course. A reliability enduro race features a long course with a series of timed skills trials at specific locations along the way.
Bender was selected by the Law Tigers / BRP racing team after a successful season last year that saw the preteen bring home three separate racing championships: the WEBE Ironman Mini Class, the WEBE 85cc 7-11 year old class and the Colorado Off Road Championship Series 85cc 7-11 year old class. Those wins followed another Ironman Mini Class championship in 2017.
“Riley’s performance, attitude and work ethic make him a perfect fit for the team,” stated Rob Swan, team manager for the Law Tiger / BRP amateurs. “We are thrilled to have him racing with us for the 2019 season.”
While Bender will be one of five members of the Law Tigers / BRP amateur team he will compete in each event as an individual.
Bender came to the racing world at an early age. His parents, who both ride motorcycles themselves, got him into the sport. According to Bender he was less than three years old the first time he rode a motorcycle. He started off racing snowmobiles but quickly shifted his focus to dirt bikes. For the last several years he has focused entirely on motocross; His entrance into the enduro offroad racing world is more recent though, only in the last three years.
“I just like to be free and go out and ride my dirt bike,” he said matter-of-factly. “It is fun. My dad brought me to a race. I liked it. We kept doing it.”
Bender said the trails up Highway 125 were his favorite place in Grand County to ride. He also enjoys riding at the track just north of US Highway 40 and Windy Gap. He currently rides a Kawasaki 85cc KX.
While Bender may spend plenty of time during summer months riding, up to seven hours on some days, he likes to spend his winters snowmobiling, snowboarding and focusing more on fun and school. The Gifted and Talented student said he has not been on a bike since November though he will be heading to a training camp with the Law Tigers team in February.
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A photo of a frosty Lake Granby from longtime Granby resident Penny Hamilton will be featured on the 2022 Grand County Names and Numbers phone book.