Fenton Youngster Wins State Motocross Championship

Maxx Lasco Captures the AMA District 14 State Championship in his Motocross Division

Fenton, MI — October 25, 2023

We want to introduce you to a young man who goes by the moniker of “Maxx Speed.” We have been following the motocross exploits of this Michigan AMA District 14 rider for a few years. Officially, Maxx Lasco is a 12-year-old who just clinched the State Championship in the 85cc Jr 9-11 Class. But that is only half of the story. How he got there is the really interesting part.

Maxx Speed (133) / Lasco Press Photo

It might be a stretch to call a pre-teen a young man. However, after you sit down and talk to Maxx, you soon learn this kid has a good grasp on the realities of life at a young age.

AMA District 14

The American Motorcyclist Association is a national organization that sanctions motorcycle events all over the country. Both amateur and professional. District 14 encompasses all of the lower and a portion of the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Motocross racing is a big part of the AMA’s oversight. Boys and girls can start competing at the age of four, with divisions separated by age and engine sizes of the bikes raced. It is a highly family-interactive sport that takes time and incurs some expense. But, if you want your kids up off the couch, immersed in a positive environment, away from the prevalent drug culture that captures those with too much time on their hands, then motocross is worth considering.

The AMA District 14 website has a contact page with a listing of people who would love to tell you how to get involved in the action.

Family is Everything in the World of Motocross

Maxx comes from a family with strong community, automotive, and motorsport ties. Family patriarch Phil Lasco has roots in the Fenton area that include founding Lasco Ford, now in its fourth decade of service to Michigan residents. He races sports cars and is a former SCCA National Champion.

Maxx’s parents are also accomplished athletes. His Father, Matt Lasco, is Vice President of the Lasco Auto Group. Lasco Ford sponsors District 14 events across the state. Matt has raced motocross competitively on a national scale, posting wins and earning an invitation to the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Championship in 2014.

Mom, Jamie Lasco, is the owner of CrossFit Fenton and, as a CrossFit athlete, is ranked 39th in the North America East region and 118th in the world for her age group in 2023.

But, the story here is about Maxx. You might think with those kinds of genes, Maxx would be a natural athlete. Anyone who has children knows that they develop their own personalities and don’t always want to follow in Mom or Dad’s footsteps.

Maxx began riding a motocross bike at the age of four. He has competed in area, regional, and national events over the years. He will tell you he did not take it very seriously. It was all about the fun, going to the tracks, being with family and friends.

Riding motorcycles through the woods, over bumps and jumps, is a lot of fun. Dad, Matt, owns some property in the Fenton area that he has developed into a motocross practice track. While not a public facility, the family rides there regularly. Friends and fellow District 14 riders are invited to work on their skills and techniques at the track.

Motorcross can be a dangerous sport when the engines grow in size with the athletes and the challenges on the track get bigger. Maxx has experienced some setbacks relative to that subject. “I have never broken a bone, thankfully. The worst crash I had was coming off the bike, landing hard, and messing up my shoulder. That was about five years ago. It took a while to rehab from that and get strength back into my upper body.”

We asked what was more difficult. Rehabbing his body or his thought process relative to accidents and injuries. “No one likes getting hurt, and it is hard to put those things out of your mind. Yes, I rode timidly for a while until I was able to block it out and just concentrate on putting together good-quality laps.”

Maxx says the injury thing was “Inside my head.”

Two of Maxx’s friends have gained national recognition as young upcoming motocross prospects. Parker Beckington has qualified for the trip to Loretta Lynn’s for the past three years. The same is true for Joseph Vicari. In addition, Joey competed in a 65cc exhibition event held during the first round of the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs at Charlotte this September.

Both riders are younger than Maxx and practice with him on a regular basis.

We wanted to know if there was some peer pressure associated with his riding with guys that were consistently outperforming him. “A little bit.” What Maxx left unsaid was; that riding with and against those guys helped him realize what he needed to improve on.

Maxx does credit Joey with helping him to step up his game. Following Joey around the course, he began to hit jumps that he would previously back off from. His confidence began to grow, and his speed began to pick up with it. Maxx got the fear, anxiety, doubt, or whatever the mental block he was struggling with out of his head.

Maxx Lasco / Lasco Press Photo

Maxx has always dreamed of going to Loretta’s. That might have been out of reach a few years ago. But now, he was starting to believe it might be possible. He continued to voice that desire to his parents, and they said ok, let’s see if we can give you the tools to work towards that goal.

Maxx spent some time over the winter at the Georgia Practice Facility (GPF), working with trainers who focus on the skills needed to advance to higher levels in the sport. He said, “I got my butt kicked every single day.” He came back with a better realization of what he would have to do to compete with these kids who all had the same goal as him.

It was a good chance to reflect. When Mom and Dad asked if he wanted to keep at it and that doing so would require more work. Maxx had now bought in!

A trip last fall to the Thor Mini-O’s, a national event held Thanksgiving week in Gainsville, Florida, that draws some of the best riders in the country, was another eye-opener. Maxx said he did not ride well and admitted to being intimidated by the magnitude of the event.

What to do? Work harder, get stronger, make more Speed!

The Challenges of Youth Sporting Competitions

The only participation trophies you get in motocross racing are a dirty uniform, tired muscles, and a taste of all the dirt you ate from riding behind the guys who ultimately beat you to the checkered flag. However, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from the experience.

The AMA explains it this way on their website.

“Motocross racing is a great sport. It teaches discipline, maturity, the importance of preparation, goal setting, and the satisfaction that comes from reaching your goals, as well as dealing with the disappointment of working hard but coming up short. Motocross differs from a lot of sports because, unlike team sports like baseball, football, soccer, etc. Motocross is an individual sport. This can be helpful in teaching young people personal responsibility.”

“As in any sport that involves young people, there are parents who sometimes push too hard for success. It is the classic “Little League Parent Syndrome.” However, pushing your child too hard in motorsports can result in your rider and possibly other riders getting injured. Motocross is not as easy as the pro riders make it look. There are skills that will develop only with time and practice.”

“It is a good idea to step back occasionally and look at racing through your child’s eyes. Remember that the most important thing in racing is to have fun and to spend time with family.”

Maxx acknowledges that his parents have been very supportive of his racing endeavors. Kudos to Matt and Jamie for allowing their son to develop in his own time.

Building a Successful Season

After his experience at the GPF, it would have been easy for Maxx to pack it in and say, I’m just going to have fun and not worry about the results so much. No way, he said, I am going to do what is necessary to be a top rider.

A State Championship is an indication that Maxx is on the right track. How did he achieve that? More work. Maxx talks about how going to CrossFit Fenton on a regular basis has helped to improve his strength, stamina, and cardio. Seeing how those things paid off on the track, Maxx now feels he has better control of his bike and feels more comfortable on the seat.

Confidence builds confidence. The State Championship consists of nine events where you race two motos, and the combined results determine the overall winner of the race.

Maxx was unable to make the first race in the series. In the Polka Dots at Midland, he placed second overall with a pair of second-place finishes in the two motos. The next week at Cadillac, Michigan, he won both motos to take the overall race win. That started a streak of five straight overall first-place finishes.

In the Bulldogs at Millington, Maxx was leading when he crashed and got passed by one of the top competitors in the class. He came off the track hurt and upset with himself despite finishing second. Why did he go down? He saw the other rider advancing on him and lost concentration.

In the final race of the Championship season, he entered with a huge lead in the points. Maxx rode smart, protecting his advantage, and finished second in Moto One. In Moto Two, near the end of the race, Maxx was running third and had the title well in hand. Then disaster struck. Maxx made a mistake, lost control, came off the bike, and landed face-first on the incline of a jump. When he got back to his bike, the handlebars were askew, but it could still run.

In previous years that kind of crash might have resulted in a bad ending. Maxx got back on the bike, gutted it out, and held the third position to lock up the Championship. When Maxx talks about it, you can see his face actually glow. He proved something to himself, another huge confidence boost.

Maxx competed in Loretta Lynn area qualifiers and advanced to the regionals in 2023. His dream journey ended there. He realized that the higher the ladder you climb, the tougher the tasks get. How did that sit in his head?

No worries! “I learned a lot and now realize what I need to do. With another winter at GPF, continuing to work on my overall fitness and bike control skills, I know that I can beat those guys. Maxx sees the goal of riding in the Amateur National Championship at Loretta’s as attainable and has learned that to achieve something, you not only have to work hard to get it, but you have to believe you can.

No doubt this “Young Man” will get the job done.

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