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Riding on his peaceful place

 

photo by Ryan Bergeron
Christian Berg rounds a corner during a heat race at the Greenbush Motocross Track on July 4. Racing in the 250B and Junior (16 and under) classes this year, he has racked up a motocross record of 20-0, covering 10 races.

photo by Ryan Bergeron
Christian Berg gets some air time during a Junior race at the Greenbush Motocross Track on July 4, finishing first in this heat race. Christian enjoys jumping high on his motocross bike off anything.

photo by Ryan Bergeron
Christian Berg of Greenbush gets off the starting line during a race at the Greenbush Motocross Track on July 4, finishing first in this race. Berg has implemented tactics into his racing to gain an edge over other riders, specifically his “holeshot,” referring to the rider who gets to the first corner and around it first.

On the track, Christian Berg gets his motocross bike up to about 50 miles per hour and, on jumps, between 30 and 35 miles per hour. He can get the bike up to 70 miles per hour— what is termed “wide open.” He has crashed riding in his yard, but has gotten back on that bike and kept going, crying from the pain as he continued riding around the yard.

“I think it just came so naturally for him, which is something you get on a bike and not want to get off,” his mom Danielle said. “It was something that if he crashed, he’d get back on… Just keep on going, even if there’s tears and he just wanted to still be on the bike. He was like you couldn’t peel him from it.”

Racing since the age of five, 15-year-old Greenbush-Middle River student and Greenbush native Christian Berg has racked up the accomplishments on a motocross bike. There, he has also found his peaceful place, one he hopes takes him to the professional level. Berg and his parents, Aric and Danielle, talked about his motocross run, including his start, accomplishments, enjoyments, difficulties, dreams, and the time invested.

Going back, Christian remembers his dad putting him on a bike when he was three.

“I just liked it ever since. It’s just my sport that I can ride and all that,” Christian said. “It’s just peaceful to me.”

Aric’s friend and Thief River Falls High School classmate, Tucker Hibbert, got Aric into dirt biking and he passed on this passion to his son Christian. In his racing biography sheet, Christian calls his dad, Aric, his best coach.

When the Berg family moved to the Twin Cities, they began dedicating time to wrestling at Apple Valley. They then had to make a decision between wrestling and motocross. They chose to go with the latter at that time.

“We went full force into motocross,” Aric said. “I mean, probably 80 to 100 races a season almost.”

Christian felt drawn to the sport by the opportunities it gave him: to jump into the air, hang out with friends, and ride the bike as fast as it goes. He also has enjoyed the peaceful feeling it gives him. His dad said Christian enjoys the competition as well— the same type of competitive energy he gets from now competing on the Gator Wrestling team.

“Right when you’re about to drop the gate and go, it’s like right before you go on to a wrestling match,” Aric said, “and he… loves that.”

It’s a world that he has learned to succeed within. As Danielle explained, Christian has implemented tactics into his racing to gain an edge over other riders, specifically his “holeshot,” referring to the rider who gets to the first corner and around it first. The rider who does this, most of the time, Aric said, wins the race, adding how it’s hard to pass people on a dirt bike track. Christian can calculate this holeshot without a holeshot device.

Aric said this is a mental thing, using wrestling to explain it.

“If you know, you’re like, ‘I’m going to beat this guy or get this guy,’ he’s got that now. Like it took him awhile to get to that point where, you know, okay, I’m going to win. You know, I can do this,” Aric said. “He believes in himself enough to be able to do it, to get the holeshot every time.”

In Christian’s first couple racing years, they didn’t know if it was for him— not being into the sport and not progressing within it like other individuals his age.

“Then we kept at it and at it and at it and then… he started coming around,” Aric said. “And then we hired a trainer and then we got serious.”

This included training in Texas and Florida, getting a trainer to live with them at one point, and competing in series racing. During his racing career, Christian has raced in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, North Dakota, and Florida. The Berg family would travel in an RV and have a 30-foot trailer for the dirt bikes.

“We’d get into a series and then… you’re with the same people,” Danielle said. “You’re just kind of going to the next race track and the next one… and you earn points.”

Moving up in those series rankings— that competitive side of the sport— became addicting.

His past racing accomplishments include: 2019 Northern Plains Champion in the 85cc open, 2017 Minnesota State Champion in both the 65cc 7-11 and 65cc 7-9, 2015 Minnesota State Champion District 23 in the 50cc premix 7-8, 2015 second place finish at the Minnesota District 23 Championship in the 65cc 7-9, a 2015 Motokazie Supercross Series Champion in the 65cc 7-9 and 50cc pre-mix 7-8, and a 2015 Motokazie Motocross Series Champion in the 50cc pre-mix 7-8 and 65cc 7-9. He became the only rider in history to earn four championships in a year with Motokazie.

Other accomplishments include: the 2015 Indoor Arena Cross 50cc Race Champion Liquid Nitro, the 2014 Indoor Supercross Series Champion in the 65cc 7-9 and 50cc, and the 2014 Supercross Series Champion in the 50cc.

Since moving up to Greenbush at the beginning of 2019, they haven’t been as serious or full-time into racing.

“We did it so full-time for so long and it’s kind of nice to step back and let him do it for fun,” Danielle said. “… Remember the joy of it too than just the next (race), the next race, but… it was sure a family thing where we went camping every weekend.”

The new motocross track in town did play a role in them moving to Greenbush. Aric and Danielle want to see more races come to Greenbush, to see the sport build, and to get more people involved in it. They also want people to not be afraid to ask others, including them, for help related to it.

“We’re always open to talking to people, giving information,” Danielle said.

After taking a couple years off from racing, 2022 represents their “first real year back,” Aric said. Racing in the 250B and Junior (16 and under) classes this year, Christian has racked up a motocross record of 20-0, covering 10 races.

“He’s kicking butt,” Aric said “… He’s like shredding it right now.”

To see the complete story, read the July 20 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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