10-year-old is already a racing ‘elite’

Joey Vicari was all smiles after qualifying for the Monster Energy American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Amateur National Motocross Championship. Photo courtesy of the Vicari family.

Motocross is his sport

By Don Rush

What do you do when you’re 10 years old and your family lives on what once was a 25-acre farm in Oxford? If you’re Joey Vicari you practice motocross, of course. Earlier this month Joey was one of 20,000 riders who attempted to qualify at the Monster Energy American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Amateur National Motocross Championship and only 42 racers per class qualified. Joey was one of them.

The Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship took place at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, from Aug. 1, through Aug 6.

Joey was one of 42 kids in the entire nation to qualify in his two classes to the National Championship and the only kid from Michigan in his class,” said his mother Jaclyn. “He raced the 65cc 7-9 limited and the 65cc 7-9 class. He finished 6th overall in the nation in the 3 moto format for the 65cc 7-9 limited and 8th overall in the 65cc 7-9, class which makes him the top 1% of his sport.

I love the sound of all 42 bikes in the gate and the adrenaline rush on the startling line. I love jumping through the air. I love racing with my friends and then playing with them after the race is over. I really love winning, too,” he said.

But, it’s not all motocrossing for Joey as he is going into the fourth grade with Seton Home Studies.

Joey Vicari in action earlier this month. Photo by Mad Moose Media, courtesy of the Vicari family.

The hardest part of homeschooling is trying to get homework done at the training facilities when he can hear other riders out on the track doing their training and all he can think about is riding. We try to work very hard in the fall and early winter to accomplish as much of our school year as possible so that by the time we head south and start his busy training schedule and racing schedule, we only have to do a little bit each and every day,” Jaclyn said. “We also do year-round schooling, so we don’t take much of a summer break. We take a few weeks off throughout the entire year based on his racing and training schedule. The other hard part of homeschooling is homeschooling on the road in our RV. We are a family of five, so to keep the RV quiet and give everyone their own space can get a little complicated at times. I’m not only homeschooling him, but his siblings as well.”

Joey’s dad is Joey Dominic Vacari and Joey is the oldest of three children, Isabella, 8 and Dominic, 5.

Joey trains from Metamora, to down past the Mason Dixon line.

We spent five weeks with Matt Crown at a training facility near the Florida-Georgia state line for an annual boot camp,” Jaclyn said. “The riders start their morning at 7 a.m. in the gym with a warm up and stretching. They ride from 8 till noon, take an hour lunch break, ride for two more hours, take an hour break, and then finish their day with one hour of gym time working on cardio and strength training.”

According to Jaclyn, Joey became interested in the sport because his father used to ride dirt bikes.

As a young child Joey was always on two wheels, so we bought him a dirt bike for his fourth birthday and he rode in circles on it for hours at a time,” she said. “We didn’t know much about the sport of motocross until we took him to a local dirt bike track a few years later and he instantly fell in love with it. Joey is new to this sport, as his first race ever was May 30, 2020. Joey is extremely intense, competitive, and loves to ride. He truly is happiest when he is on his bike. The sport has introduced us to many of his friends from all over the country and the parents and families in this crazy sport really come together and support one another.”

When he is not on a dirtbike Joey enjoys golf, fishing, and hunting. And what of his dreams and aspirations?

I want to win Loretta Lynn’s one year and to become a factory sponsored professional rider,” he said. 

Joey’s next race is this Labor Day weeked in Millington, at BAJA Acres for the BAJA Brawl.  This is a national caliber event which brings in riders from all over the country.

And, what about the rest of the family, what do they like to do? “His sister rides horses and his little brother is following in his footsteps. His dad still goes out and rides with him when he can but he’s way faster than his dad already and Daddy can’t keep up any longer,” Jaclyn said. “Daddy rides to continue to learn the sport, but most importantly is Joey’s mechanic now!”

Joey Vicari (front left) with his dirt bike and his family. Up front are siblings Isabella and Dominic. In back are his mom and dad, Jacyle and Dominic. Photo courtesy of the Vicari family.

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