After Caden Anderson won his first quad series championship last summer, the Morris Bye Elementary School fifth-grader is poised to continue his success in motocross at the national level.
Anderson, 11, who lives in Coon Rapids with parents Beth and Cory and younger brother Tucker, plans to expand his racing schedule this season to include more national level races. He won the 2011 Minnesota District 23 Amateur Riders’ Motorcycle Association’s (ARMCA) Quad 90cc CTV Pro 8-15 division title and began 2012 with a season opening win in Cambridge April 1.
That race came two weeks after hitting the road for two national level races over spring break in March in Arizona and Georgia.
Caden was one of eight Profile Performance-sponsored riders, based in Baxter, to compete in Arizona and his family joined him in Georgia. He is also sponsored by Motowoz Suspension, Quad Central Motorsports and Forms and Systems of Minnesota.
The World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) race in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., was the most grueling racing he’s done so far as riders competed in two, 45-minute races. After the clock reaches 45 minutes riders have two laps left to push for that final spot.
Anderson was late to the starting gate because of some miscommunication with race officials.
“They all take off from the starting gate at the same time and wear a transponder to keep track of laps,” said Cory Anderson, Caden’s father.
It was that transponder that was covered up at the starting line which caught the attention of race officials and delayed Caden’s start. “So he caught back up to [the leaders] and crashed,” Cory Anderson said. “He got back on and caught back up to them again, but his chain snapped and finished third in his 70cc class for his first national podium finish.”
After traveling cross-country with his sponsors, Anderson competed in Washington, Ga., in what was some of his most frustrating racing yet.
He competed in the standard 30-minute race followed by two final laps to determine a winner among the fastest 20 riders in the country. He was leading the race when his seat fell off on the final lap. The incident tamed his aggressiveness on the track so he couldn’t take big risks on jumps and settled for a fourth-place finish.
His favorite Minnesota track offers plenty of speed. The Mazeppa course is made for speed with long straightaways where riders can run the throttle wide open and take advantage of relatively easy jumps.
Cory recalled riding around the family’s property up north when Caden was still a newborn and sat him down on his first snowmobile at 16 months old.
“He’s always had a passion to ride and race,” Cory said as he stored an older snowmobile in a corner of the garage.
Caden’s first snowmobile was an Artic Cat ZR20. “We would ride around a little bit and watched motocross [racing] on TV whenever we could,” he said. “We had three acres and he would follow me around and we would put on 60 miles a day. He never got off or complained about it. He seemed to always love it.”
Last summer Caden raced in some 25 races en route to the state title. This year Caden’s scheduled plans include 17 dates in Minnesota and four out-of-state races, the two he already has competed in plus a race in Illinois and of course Loretta Lynn’s in Tennessee.
“We’re not chasing the championship [in Minnesota] this year,” Cory said. “We’re going to have fun racing and learning and the goal is to get as many national series races in and really prove that he’s the best.”
Cory grew up riding and raced as an amateur level in motocross (two-wheels) and snowmobiles into his 20s around Aitkin and Mille Lacs. “I did it for fun but when my wife said she was pregnant, I put it all away and that ended racing for me,” Cory said.
When Caden began racing the family used a motor home, but switched to a ‘99 Chevy Tahoe with a snowmobile trailer and since signing the sponsorship with Profile Performance, he’s been able to use its hauler to move around to different races.
In addition to riding, he plays football and hockey in Coon Rapids. His Squirt B hockey team reached the district finals where it lost to Centennial.
One obvious question that rises from motor sports racing is the injury level and fear factor that is involved in what amounts to a high-contact sport.
Caden found out the physical toll last summer when he broke his hand during a race in Illinois. “He did really well during practice and went for a triple (a term used for leaping over three jumps at once) during the race and compound fractured his hand,” Cory said. “He started moving it around and said it didn’t hurt but I said, ‘Nope. We’re going to the doctor.’”
“I hit the step-up and landed sideways. I fell off and I don’t know what happened,” Caden said.
After skipping one weekend of racing Caden was back in the seat with a cast and finished second the following weekend. “He had two fingers to use and as soon as the cast came off he was racing at the Minnesota national race in Milleville,” Cory said as his son was a little apprehensive to test the freshly-healed hand.
Now Caden is giving advice to his younger brother Tucker, who began racing last year.
“I gave him a few pointers,” Caden said.
Tucker raced in the 50cc group last year. The two don’t race competitively against each other, but run around the two practice tracks in Staples and Mazeppa a lot.
Caden hopes to reach the professional ranks one day, like his favorite rider Chad Weinen, who autographed then handed him the Pro ATV trophy after Caden won the Spring Creek national race in Milleville last summer.