Ethan Dingle has been on his bike since he was 3 years old.
He’s been in some big races since that start, but maybe not one as important as Sunday’s event at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris.
The 16-year-old junior at Mapletown High School will be revving his engine on his dirt bike and looking for a first-place finish in the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country series event.
Dingle is coming off his best finish on the tour, second place at the Black Sky event in Harpursville, N.Y. He sits in third place in the national standings for the 250C Schoolboy Class racers and has a good shot at the top spot if he performs well in this event and the tour’s final two stops.
Josh Vankirk of Amity, who is currently in second place, was injured in an accident last week. He is 10 points ahead of Dingle but can be passed with a strong finish. Dingle trails the leader, Ben Thomason of South Carolina, by 30 points.
“I’ve taken some spills,” he said, “but the worst that ever happened was I got the wind knocked out of me.”
Dingle has three top-5 finishes. Along with Harpursville, Dingle came in third place in the Camp Coker race in Society Hill, S.C.; and was fourth in the X-Factor Race in Peru, Ind.
“This is a pretty big race,” said Dingle. “I’ve been on the High Point course about 10 or 15 times.”
Dingle is friends with and sometimes practices with Ian Flynn, who is a year older, competes in a higher class than Dingle in dirt bike racing and is a former GNCC series winner. Flynn, of Greensboro, is expected to compete in the 4-Stroke A Lites Class at High Point this weekend. He ranks seventh in the class, 49 points from the leader.
Dingle rides a Yamaha and has sponsorships from the Morgantown Powersports, RD1 Outdoors, and the Bobtown Rod and Gun Club.
Dingle has competed across the country including stops in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. This is the second year in a row Dingle has been in the chase for a national title in this class.
“Depending on how the season goes, I might move up in class,” said Dingle. “This class is age 14 to 17. After this race, I’ll just practice more, trying to get better.”
Dingle we will race in the 10 a.m. event on Sunday at High Point. Other races will take place before and after his and a full slate is set for Saturday. Approximately, 600 racers are expected for the two-day event that features quad and bike racing.
Spectator passes run $20 for adults and $10 for children (ages 6-11). Children under 5 are admitted for free.
Each round of the GNCC series is televised on the NBC Sports Network and is streamed live on racerTV.com.