Racing toward his dreams
Barnstead's Mike Hague, Jr. has high aspirations in motocross
|MIKE HAGUE, JR. of Barnstead poses on his motocross bike on the track that he built on his family’s land in Barnstead. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
July 25, 2011BARNSTEAD — Often, kids latch onto something that interests them, stick with it for a few months or a year, then move on to the next thing to strike their fancy.
That's not the case for Mike Hague, Jr. of Barnstead.
"Ever since I threw my leg over a dirt bike, I knew what I wanted to do," Hague said. "I had a passion."
Hague's parents recall that when he was a little kid, he had a pedal bike that looked like a dirt bike, but by the time he was four, he had the real thing (under plenty of supervision) and more than a decade later, he's still riding.
Anyone who's ever been to the Hague home in Barnstead would likely be able to tell just what the youngster's passion is. There's the motorcycles and engines all over the garage, the trailer, specially built by the racer himself, with five bikes inside. And then there's the track.
Wanting a place to ride and practice on a daily basis, Hague and his buddy, Eddie Hoyt, decided a few years back to clear some trees and build a track on the Hague family property.
"We built jumps out of barrels and from there it just escalated and got bigger and bigger," Hague said.
Hoyt and Hague cleared tons of trees and built the track from hand, starting with hand-held clippers before moving on to bigger equipment.
"Then I got a chainsaw for Christmas," Hague said.
The track features numerous jumps and turns for the young motocross racer to practice on and he does so every day, chasing his dream of becoming a professional motocross racer.
Hague races regularly at Winchester Motor Park in Winchester, but also races at parks in Maine as well. And he does well, as he has piles of trophies lining his wall, quite a few for first place finishes.
His finishes at Winchester allowed him to move on to the regionals in Pennsylvania and he continues to climb the ladder toward the next level of racing. While he's classified as an amateur, he is hoping that by next year he will be put in the expert group.
Hague races mostly on a Honda CRF and has raced with a 250 engine in the 450 class and has routinely won races that way, often against people two, three or even five years older than the 15-year-old.
"People that have been racing longer than me, I pretty much stomped them," Hague said.
But it's not all about racing, for Hague. There's a lot more to it than just getting on the bike and racing around the track. For many people, when the hard work part of the dream is revealed, it is the place where folks jump off. Hague didn't.
He runs and works out every day to keep in shape in addition to working for his parents' on their berry farm. He practices on his track every day and is constantly making improvements or changes to the track as well.
"You've got to be in shape," he said. "Cardio plays a big role, especially at the 45-minute mark (of a race)."
Hague estimates that he rides about two hours a day in addition to his workouts and his work. But it's all important.
The work helps him pay for his entrance fees to the races and for the trips to the tracks all over the Northeast. And it helps keep the bikes running too.
However, Hague doesn't rely on an expensive mechanic to do those kind of jobs. Instead, he does it himself.
"I work on everything myself," Hague said. "I like building my bikes, it's fun."
Hague also designed the trailer that hauls his bikes, making it big enough to carry five bikes, while also including an area for him to change and a place to store all the tools and other equipment necessary. He also transformed an ordinary golf cart into a vehicle to transport he and others around the tracks on race day.
And while he enjoys every aspect of motocross, it is on the track where Hague truly excels, as the trophies and plaques show.
"In order to go fast, you have to take risks," Hague said, revealing a scar on his arm from a practice crash just a few days earlier. "The faster you go, the harder you fall."
Of course, parents are always concerned when their kids are into something that can be dangerous, but Mike's parents, Sue and Mike Sr., are supportive of his choices.
Sue Hague said that they allowed him to build the track on their property because they knew where he was. If he was out racing or practicing on the track, he wasn't out somewhere getting in trouble. Additionally, it allows the Hagues to spend many family weekends together, watching and supporting the teenager at his various races.
"It's the best family weekends ever to spend with your child," Sue Hague said, noting that the competitions are great places to meet wonderful people and everyone supports everyone even though they may be racing against each other on the track.
"It brings tears to our eyes every time he wins," she said. "Yes, his dad, too."
Hague is determined to make a career out of motocross and is more than willing to put in the hard work that it takes to make that dream come true.
"I definitely work for it," he said. "I do whatever it takes to get it done."
And he watches James "Bubba" Stewart on television and says where the motocross star is now is where he wants to eventually be.
"I want this to be my career," he said. "My goal is to be like James Stewart. I want to be the fastest person on the planet."
And if hard work and dedication has anything to do with it, there's no doubt Hague is on his way to his dreams.
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