John Choate Joins Growing Chronic MX Amateur Motocross Team
Chronic MX’s amateur motocross team continues to grow, recently adding talented veteran motocross champion John Choate to it’s roster. Choate is competing in the 2012 Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross Nationals next week. Choate qualified for the prestigious event by beating hundreds of other veteran motocross racers across the country, all hoping for a coveted spot on the starting gate at ‘The Ranch’. Choate finished 5th overall at Loretta’s South East regionals in Millcreek, Alabama…solidifying his qualifying spot at the upcoming amateur nationals.
Motocross has been in the Choate family since the sixties. John’s father raced ‘scrambles’ back in the days when the sport of motocross had yet to be discovered. Like most motocross champions, John started riding at a very young age. By age seven, John was ripping around the backyard on his mini bike, equipped with a lawn mower engine. “Believe it or not, I actually rode that thing around the school yard!” Choate laughed. Inheriting the #22 from his father, John finished 3rd in his very first race at Hollywood Speedway in the 1970′s. Soon afterwards, the family was driving all across the state of Florida competing in motocross events at venues such as Hyatt Cycle Park in Pompano Beach. John is a natural, and quickly began winning his motocross races. ’Oldschool’ MX racers from the good old days of Florida’s thriving Motocross scene in the 70′s and 80′s are most likely familiar with the name John Choate.
At age 15, John continued to prove his talent…by moving from the Mini A class, to the 125 class, to the 250 class, to the 500′s…all in one year! Though he never turned pro, John was a regular on the podium at the prestigious Florida Winter AM’s and the Florida Mini Olympics. In 1983, John raced his first Loretta Lynn national, finishing second place in the 250 B first moto. Motocross legend, Jeff Stanton, happened to be racing against Choate that day, as well as several other legendary names. In 1984, John graduated to the A class. Unfortunately, several injuries, combined with mounting travel expenses steered the talented motocross rider into road racing. John’s talent on a motorcycle quickly shifted to winning races on asphalt, earning him a spot on the notorious Dutchman Racing Team. The team won the AMA National Endurance Championship. Afterwards, John rode for the dominant Team Factory Honda. “I remember getting a phone call from Factory Honda for a spot in the 600 Super Sport Class! It was one of the best days of my life… I took that spot away from Jean-Michele Bayle” John exclaimed. A sweet shot of John railing the corkscrew at Laguna Seca Speedway hangs in John’s garage, along with all of John’s other prized memorabilia from his racing days.
Like most dirt bike enthusiasts, John somehow found his way back into motocross racing. In 1994 John raced the +25 class at Florida’s Winter AM’s , his first big motocross race since his departure from the sport… and won. He took first overall that year at Gatorback too, and earned 2nd overall in the Mini O’s. “He’s just a natural on a motorcycle” said his Dad, as we discussed his first place victory. He later won first place at Muddy Creek’s ‘Masters of MX’ race.
As a veteran motocross rider, John now rides mostly for fun. He still has racing in his blood though. When he is not working long shifts at Cycle Gear in Gastonia, North Carolina, the like-able rider can usually be found shredding laps at his home track of TNT in South Carolina. Sporting his new Yamaha YZ 450f, John decided it would be fun to make another run at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals this year, almost 30 years since his first race there in 1983. He will be racing in the +45 vet class. Team Chronic MX is proud to sponsor John and have him as a member of our growing, diverse, amateur motocross team. We wish John the best of luck and hope to see him earn a coveted podium spot at the Loretta 2012 nationals. Chronic MX will be reporting race results, recaps, photos and videos all week long, from the 2012 Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals. Stay tuned to http://www.facebook.com/ChronicMotoX . Cheers, Chronic MX.