Getting a helping hand: LeRoy racer receives a kind gesture from a pair of strangers

Published 9:45 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

Ian Miller of LeRoy wasn’t expecting anything in particular when he recently received a huge boost to his motocross passion from a complete stranger. Now he’s looking at things in a very positive light.

Miller was camping near Millville for a race, which he does on a regular basis, when the two men camping next to him began to show interest in his riding. Miller was riding a bike from 2013 that had seen its better days when Vern Lompray and Brock Lanham, both of the Twin Cities, stepped up and offered some big help. Lompray, who runs a business called Polish and Touch, bought Miller new racing gear and Lanham, who runs a business called Twin Cities Clean Works, gave Miller a new bike in exchange for his old bike.

Miller, who is 17-years old, couldn’t believe the gesture and it’s given him new motivation to push as hard as he can in motocross.

Ian Miller of LeRoy has had a great summer in the 250C and 450C in the Millville Super Series. The bike on the right was given to Miller as a ‘Pay it Forward’ gift. Rocky Hulne/

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“I’m on a budget here and I’m kind of being held back and they wanted to help me out with this new bike. I’d really love to prove myself as I’m running their name on my stuff. I’d really like to get a championship or two on the bike that they gave me,” Miller said. “I’d love to do the same thing for somebody and help someone out like that. It was so surreal. It was somebody that you randomly met and you camp next to them and at the end I came home with a brand new dirt bike. I really realized that there are still good people in the world. People with money aren’t bad people and they’re not all snobs.”

Miller began riding his first bike in the alley behind his house at the age of six when his dad got him started in the sport. He would spend hours going back in forth in that alley way until he competed in his first official race at a track in Spring Grove at the age of 10. Miller won that race and he was racing in Millville by age 14.

“My dad never really raced, but he always had bikes and it was something we could do together,” Miller said. “Winning that first race made me realize I could probably do this. Winning right off the bat leaves kind of a good taste in your mouth.”

After a couple of tough years of grinding it out against strong competition in Millville, Miller is earning his place this summer. At this point in the season he is one of thee top riders in the Millville Super Series as he is in second place in 250C, Open C and 14-24C.

“I’m starting to put more work on it,” Miller said. “I hit a peak there for awhile and I kind of realized if I want to get better, I have to start working harder at this. I started going into the weight room and when I would ride on off-weekends, I would really practice instead of just messing around and having fun. It’s a big thing to have fun, but I also focused on hitting all of my marks.”

While Miller doesn’t know of any riders close to his age in LeRoy, he has learned to look up to some of the riders he sees on a regular basis in his races.

“I look up to a lot of the local pros,” Miller said. “I don’t always look at the biggest and most famous guys. I always like a rider who really has fun with it and they aren’t complaining about this or that. There’s a bunch of people I look up to and I don’t really like to pick favorites.”

Miller said getting his new bike is allowing him to compete at a much higher level and he’s extremely thankful for the gift. He also added that his family and friends have given him a ton of support and kept him going on the track.

As the support continues, Miller’s ability has improved and he’s looking to get better every time he takes to the track.

“Millville has one of the biggest tracks. It’s rough, it’s hard and it’s where all of the best people around here go,” Miller said. “At the start, I was getting beat. I’m just starting to do well in the Class I started in. It takes awhile to learn how to race there. You have to get used to how rough things get and how long the race days get.”