Area riders hit Motokazie at the Fair

Published 10:48 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nate Kohnke races out of a turn in the Pro class heats Tuesday night during the Motokazie Supercross at the grandstands of the Mower County Fair. -- Eric Johnson/

The first time Nate Kohnke ever raced his dirt bike, it was at the Mower County Fair.

On Tuesday Kohnke was in that position again, only he had 12 years of experience at his disposal.

The Austin native fought off two near falls and passed Logan Marzahn of Waterville on the last turn to take second place in the nightcap of the 450B and he also took second in the opening race in the same event.

Grady Pyburn of Blooming Prairie takes an early lead in the 450C heat race Tuesday night during the Motokazie Supercross show at the Mower County Fair.

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Kohnke, who is 19, was chasing Marzahn throughout the second race and the two went back and forth before Kohnke took the lead for good down the stretch.

“You’ve just got to drive and push yourself to the end, because you know there’s something waiting for you,” Kohnke said. “The last lap was a blast, me and Logan had a lot of fun and it came down to the last corner. Riding with someone like that pushes you to go to the next level.”

Kohnke was almost out of the race within the first few laps as he had to perform a balancing act just to stay on his bike.

“It’s a lot of experience and I’ve been riding for a long time,” Kohnke said. “You can get way too tensed up with yourself and you’ve just got to calm yourself in a split second. You don’t have much time out there to think about what you’re doing. It just comes naturally.”

As Kohnke was taking advantage of his experience, Grady Pyburn a 22-year old from the Austin area who graduated from Blooming Prairie High School, was learning some valuable lessons.

Pyburn, who has raced for three years, suffered two falls and didn’t finish in either of his races in the 250C, but he took third and eighth in the 450C, which he had rarely competed in before Tuesday.

Pyburn was in third place in the opening 250C race before he fell while landing on the biggest jump of the course. Pyburn suffered a bruised tailbone, but wasn’t about to give up.

“I don’t usually have a lot of people coming to watch but being in my hometown, I had a lot of people watching,” Pyburn said. “I knew I couldn’t just come out and do three laps and waste their time. I wanted to put on a good show. Actually starting the bike and putting my leg over the bike hurt. Riding it wasn’t too bad, but it was really sore to sit down.”

Hunter Yocom, of Austin, catches air during the 85cc heat races of the Motokazie Supercross show at the Mower County Fair Tuesday night.

Pyburn faced some more adversity in his second 250C race as he had to wait for his bike until right before his race began. That’s because Pyburn lent his bike out to Jacob Andrist of Hayfield, who was asking for a spare tire.

“He’s a good kid. He’d do it for me,” Pyburn said.

In Pyburn’s second 450C race he was in third place again, before having to slow down with a technical issue. Despite being slowed down and bruised, Pyburn is still pleased with where he performed in the 450C.

“I feel pretty good about (third). I got the start and I haven’t gotten very many starts this year. It really kind of paid off for me,” he said. “I haven’t raced too much this summer and I’ve had a couple of good finishes and a couple of really bad finishes, but this is my first one where I didn’t finish in the 250 class.”

Last year Pyburn missed racing in the Mower County Fair due to a broken collar bone, but he didn’t let it slow him down. He’s also not likely to let Tuesday’s falls slow him down either.

“It’s a really fun sport, but it’s also really expensive and it makes it hard to come to work on Mondays because you’re always sore,” Pyburn said.

Hunter Yocom, a 14-year old from Austin, was third in both of his races in the 85CC.