- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BUCKINGHAM, Ill. (AP) - Derek Devine has probably spent more time with orthopedic surgeons than you have.

He’s endured broken arms and wrists four times on his left arm. He’s broken bones on his right arm twice. He’s also broken his collarbone twice. He’s lost track of how many times he’s gone in for a separated shoulder.

And despite those minor setbacks, Devine, 23, will probably have a smile on his face when you ask him about his back-to-back American Motorcycle Association Vintage Motocross Championships. Working with his father, Rick, a former rider and a talented cycle builder, Derek not only won the 2013 title, he won every race on the circuit. He came back last year and while he failed to pull off another clean sweep, he easily won the season point standings.

“I definitely turned some heads in my first two years. and I’d like to do it again,” he said Monday as he worked on one of the bikes at his home outside of Buckingham. He’s about ready to hit the road again, with more time to focus now that he’s wrapped up his associate degree at Kankakee Community College.

“It’s a lot of driving. We race twice in Ohio, and we go to Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky,” he said. “But we’ve gone further. I’ve raced in Florida and Alabama. And I went to school for this in Colorado.”

Derek got his first bike at 9, a little Honda trail riding model. His talent was revealed as he advanced to more serious machines and grew into his current 6-foot-2, 162-pound stature. He groomed his skills on a backyard motocross course - and in the gym.

“You might think that going out there with an engine on your bike sounds easy,” he said. “But on a motocross course, eight to 10 laps is equal to like pedaling as hard as you can on a stationary bike for 30 minutes. And you have to know how to make you muscles work.

A typical motocross course will offer multiple jumps, from three-foot moguls to 12-foot launch platforms. A rider has to be prepared to soar 40 to 50 feet and then hope that no one has fallen in his landing zone. Derek’s six-speed bike is usually in second, third or fourth gear and it’s always either accelerating, braking hard or sailing.

“We might only get up to 50 miles an hour or so, but it depends on the course,” he noted. “Every course is different and the dirt can feel different.”

The vintage division offers an unusual mix of bikes. Derek is riding a 1978 Maico, a German model that went out of business in the 1980s. The rules allow some modernization. For example, sensitive air shocks have replaced springs in the suspension. But these are definitely not contemporary bikes.

“This is where dad comes in handy. He knows how to fabricate things. He knows how to work on these bikes,” Derek said. He added that he does some of the more basic mechanical work and a southern California shop specializes in engine work.

As for the driving challenge, Derek noted that he needs to be aware of his competitors.

“We’re all a big family in the pits, but you have to know the personalities. I remember what numbers go with which mouths.”

As for the injuries, Derek noted that they have had no lasting effect. “I was lucky,” he said. “I got a lot of them while I was still growing.”

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Source: The (Kankakee) Daily Journal, http://bit.ly/1Fnsuvd

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Information from: The Daily Journal, http://www.daily-journal.com

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