6-year-old makes podium at national arenacross event

Published 11:13 am Friday, February 16, 2024

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The sport of arenacross attracts competitors from all ages, including one Stanly 6-year-old who overcame major injuries from a crash to qualify for the podium at a recent national event.

Noah Forte walked across the podium at the AMA Arenacross National Championships Jan. 27 in Gutherie, Oklahoma with a third-place finish in two categories: the 50cc air-cooled limited division and Micro 2 (4-8) limited.

The day was made sweeter when his father, Aleck, also took third place in the 30+veteran division.

It was Jan. 31, 2023, practicing for the AMA Loretta Lynn’s National Championships in Florida, when Noah went out  early in the morning. On his first lap of practice, he tried to keep up with a group of bigger kids who passed him, and he hit a clink of dirt, throwing him off the bike. Another dirt bike made contact with him and he suffered a broken femur and clavicle.

Noah’s mother, Brittany, said injuries in arenacross are common like any sport, but not to his extent. His being transported via ambulance to UF Health Florida is something she said she will never forget.

“My husband has competed in this sport, and being in serious injuries before himself, I have always been well aware of the risks that come with the sport, as does Noah,” Brittany said. “I can’t imagine a life where I take away something he not only is so truly passionate about but also so incredibly gifted at just because of an injury. It sure hasn’t stopped him from believing in himself.”

Noah’s mother said her son made clear his intentions to one day be a professional dirt bike racer, even to the doctors and nurses who took care of him after the accident.

“When (the doctors were) asking if he was going to get on the dirt bike again, he said, ‘Well, yeah. I can’t be a champion on the couch,’ ” Brittany said. “His determination and striving to be the best he can be despite what he has been through is something from which we can all learn.”

Noah had two rods inserted into the bone marrow of his femur, from the top of his leg just below the hip down to the knee. The hardest part of his recovery, she said, was being unable to get around for the first four weeks. As soon as he could, he was up and active. He had to have x-rays every four weeks until he healed.

“He always had the best attitude about the situation, he would always assure us that accidents happen and it’s okay, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up,” Brittany said.

He got back on the bike with rods in place, then two months later the rods were taken out. After waiting for the incisions to be removed, he was released.

Noah’s father, Brittany said, does not get to race as much because of the family’s business.

“These days making sure Noah is getting time on the bike and getting gate drops in is our main priority,” she said.

On reaching the podium, Noah said he, “felt like I’ve been wanting to do it my whole life. Thanks to my daddy for always working on my bikes.”

Seeing his son on the podium, Aleck said, “was a dream come true. After everything he has been through, it was surreal.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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