ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Jacob Visnic may have been down, but he surely wasn't out.
Prior to Round 5 of the Mountain Dew ATV Motocross Tour, the 12-year-old St. Clairsville resident crashed while practicing for the Built Ford Tough Briarcliff ATV Nationals at Briarcliff MX in Nashport, Ohio, injuring a shoulder. At the time, he was leading both the 90 Auto Jr. (8-11) and 70 Auto (6-11) divisions on the 9-stop, 4-wheeler tour, which races every other weekend from late March to mid-August. He would miss four weeks while recovering.
Last weekend during the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC RedBud ATV National in Buchanan, Mich., he showed no signs of injury - or rust - when he captured both motos (4-lap races) in each division at Red Bud MX. In doing so, he secured the national title in the 70 Auto (6-11) with one round remaining.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Jacob Visnic holds up his first-place trophy after winning Round 8 of the Mountain Dew ATV Motocross Tour at RedBud MX in Buchanan, Mich., on July 26-27. With the victory in the 70 Auto (6-11), he also captured the national championship. He will seek a second title next weekend in the 90 Auto Jr. (8-11).
"It feels pretty good," Visnic, who attends Shadyside schools where his mother works, beamed of being a national champion. "I worked really hard after the injury to get better really quick, and I'm 100 percent and very confident right now."
Visnic has four first-place finishes, a second and third. He has reached the three-place podium in six of the seven stops. His 166 points are 17 ahead of Grant Landis, of Manheim, Pa.
Speaking of Landis, he holds a slim 4-point edge over Visnic in the 90 Auto Jr. (8-11) class entering the tour's final stop, which will be held Aug. 9-10 during Can-Am ATV Dirt Days at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tn.
"We don't have to beat him," Visnic's father, Rob, explained. "But we at least have to be right behind him. The ATV takes seven of your best nine rounds to get the final points.
"Mr. Landis can win, as long as Jacob is second," Rob Visnic stressed. "We don't have to beat him, just stay on his tail, but hopefully we go for the win."
When asked if there was a rivalry of sorts building between him and Landis, Jacob replied, "I wouldn't say rivalry, just some good racing. We're friends off the track, but on the track we're opponents."
When asked what it will take to get past Landis in two weeks, Jacob said, "pull the hole shot and just check out. Once I get the lead, there's no looking back."
According to Rob Visnic, the top riders are turning laps in the neighborhood of 2-minutes, 10-seconds.
As is the case of all good competitors, no matter what the sport, winning a national championship does not get accomplished by one person.
"I would like to thank Hetrick Racing for these amazing motors, Brandon especially. He does all the motors for us. I would also like to thank Max's Tires, my mom, my dad and my sister."