Young and racing
In what is considered by most people as a fun and family oriented sport, over 200 motorcyclists enter motocross races every Thursday in Portland.
The Cordell brothers of Scappoose are among them.
Ryder and Sawyer Cordell compete every week in the Wylder Promotions Thursday Night Motocross series at Portland International Raceway. The brothers are top contenders for a division championship at the track. With eight events remaining on a 21-race schedule that concludes Sept. 26, they're both in good position to possibly win a division title.
Ryder Cordell, who celebrated his eighth birthday on July 20, has had an absolutely fabulous year riding his 2019 Cobra 50cc motorcycle.
Ryder — an appropriate name for a cyclist — has basically been unbeatable. He's won all 11 races on the 1.5-mile dirt course that has jumps, sharp hairpin turns and some straightaway sections with speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
Ryder is atop PIR's 50cc Junior Division point standings with 55 points, well ahead of second-place rider Ethan Cultan of Washougal, Washington, who has 27 points.
Sawyer Cordell, 9, has notched 11 top-five finishes, including six wins on his 2019 KTM 65cc motorcycle. He is ranked second in the 65cc Junior Division behind Kylon Belles of Vancouver, Wash., with 45 points.
The brothers both took first place in the last race July 18 at PIR.
They'll compete again in the next event, which is on Aug. 1, at 6 p.m.
This is the Cordells' third year of motocross racing. Their parents, Ron and Kristen, bought motorcycles for them a few years ago so they could start racing. The two 2019 motorcycles the Cordells purchased this year came at a combined cost of nearly $10,000.
"The boys saved up their money for a couple years, and they paid for half the price of their first motorcycles that we bought three years ago," said Ron Cordell, 42, a firefighter who works for Columbia River Fire and Rescue. "They saved money that they received from Christmas gifts, birthday presents and the tooth fairy.
"It's a lot of work coming out here every week, especially during the school year, but it's much easier during the summer months. They're both doing pretty good. I'm really proud of them. They're both improving, and I think that they're ready to move up to a different experience level, such as the Intermediate Division."
The Cordell boys also compete in the Pac West Motocross Series, a form of motorsports that includes traveling to tracks located in Sandy, Eugene and Albany in addition to Washington race tracks in Woodland, Washougal, Bremerton and McCleary.
The brothers also compete at Ridge Motorsports Park in Lakewood, Wash. (near Olympia), and they're front-runners in the division standings at that track as well.
"I enjoy competing in motocross, and I just do fist bumps to celebrate after winning a race," said Ryder, an incoming third grader at Otto Petersen Elementary in Scappoose. "The Ridge track is my favorite because it has lots of jumps that I can do pretty good."
Sawyer is in first place in the 65cc Junior Division with 259 points and will likely win the Pac West championship.
Last year, Sawyer also won two Thursday Night Motocross titles as he captured the 50cc Junior Division and the 65cc Beginner Division championships.
Ryder is also atop the standings in the Pac West Series 50 cc Junior Division (243 points), and he is likely to win the championship. In addition, Ryder leads the 50cc Junior Division in the Washougal Classic 7 Series with 88 points. It's very likely that Ryder will win a total of three division titles this year — an impressive accomplishment for an 8-year-old.
Sawyer is ranked second in the 65cc Junior Division in the Washougal Series at 86 points, trailing first-place rider Byron Homan (100 points) of Redmond.
Sawyer is in first place in the Pac West 65cc Junior Division with 259 points, and he'll likely win the series championship.
Last year, Sawyer took second place in the 50cc Junior Division in both the Washougal Series and the Pac West Series.
"It's lots of fun, and I enjoy racing here every Thursday," said Sawyer, an incoming fourth grader at Grant Watts Elementary School in Scappoose. "It was exciting to win a championship last year, and my goal is to win another championship this year. My favorite track is the The Ridge, too."
The Cordells own a total of six motocross bikes. The boys rode the older bikes when they started their motocross career in 2017. The boys also practice often and ride trails on property of a family friend in Scappoose.
A number of relatives also attend the motocross races, including the Cordell brothers' uncle, Ernie Gendron, of Columbia City. He is a mechanic who works on the motorcycles whenever they need repairs or required maintenance. Other relatives who attend the races to watch Sawyer and Ryder compete include their aunts, uncles and grandparents.
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