Carson City's Aron Harvey is arguably the top non-factory amateur motocross rider in his class in the nation right now.
There's no question that Harvey is the top rider in his division in the Western United States, bar none, non-factory or factory team riders. At least based on the results at the recent Northwest Regional qualifier for the American Motorcycle Association's prestigious Loretta Lynn's national event to be held later this summer in Tennessee.
Harvey didn't just win three of the four classes he raced in at the qualifier at Honey Lake in Northern California, he blew away the competition. Racers from all over the West competed, but Harvey admitted it was most sweet that he was able to finish ahead of the large contingent of Southern California racers.
In his other class, Harvey also would have won, but sustained a flat tire in one of his motos and had to settle for second. Harvey will also compete in the National Motorsports Association Nationals in Oklahoma right before Loretta Lynn's.
But this summer won't be his first exposure to national events. Harvey competed at Loretta Lynn's for the first time last year. This past spring, he competed at two national events in Texas and at the World Mini Grand Prix at Las Vegas Motorspeedway. At all of the events, Harvey earned several top five finishes, including his first ever podium finish when he took third at Las Vegas.
The 18-year-old Harvey, a 2005 Carson High graduate, has stayed busy with his motorcycle racing and helping his father, Ron, in his construction business. He said he would like to take some classes at Western Nevada Community College, but right now racing is his priority.
There are 22,000 riders who try to qualify for Loretta Lynn's and only the top four in each class in the regional qualifiers make it. Harvey has three motocross bikes while many of his competitors own at least six.
"That works for me," said Harvey about having three bikes. "Most of the guys have six bikes at least. We do need more, but we're making it work so far."
Going up against riders who are part of factory teams sponsored by companies like Yamaha obviously isn't easy. Those riders have every part imaginable at a moment's notice, but the real difference is shown at the start.
"You can't even hear my bike at the nationals," said Harvey comparing the power of his bike to those of factory riders. "It's ridiculous. But it's all good. I'm not complaining."
Harvey said he doesn't need to be on a factory team, but would like to have more factory sponsorship.
"I know I've got to do something," said Harvey about continuing his success to earn factory support. "It would be awesome to have full factory support. I'm just trying to get some support."
But Harvey is appreciative of his sponsors which includes Reno's Michaels Power Sports, which loans him one of his bikes he returns at the end of the year. There's also his parents Ron and Debra Harvey, his grandfather Ken Harvey, Carson City's McCoys Off Road, which does his race tech suspension, Dirt Digits, Acerbis, Motorex oil, Hinson Clutch Components, Pro Circuit, Sun Line ARC, Renthal, Spyoptic goggles, Thor Racing gear and Sanchez Racing.
Harvey admitted that his lack of factory sponsorship may be due to the fact that he's from Northern Nevada. "I think a little bit of it is," he said.
At Honey Lake, Harvey won the 125 and 250 B stock and 250 B modified divisions and took second in the 125 B modified class only because of the flat tire. "It was pretty fun, though," Harvey said. "It was good practice I guess."
The Southern California riders had a hard time accepting Harvey's performance. "We got protested," Harvey said. "They tried to get us DQed.
"It was funny. They were all complaining. They said this was my track and I raced there all the time."
The truth of the matter was Harvey had only raced there once in the last year while the Southern California riders had the track to themselves prior to the event. "They didn't need to be talking," he said.
At the two national events in Texas, Harvey competed in 125 and 250 B stock, 250 and 125 B Modified and 250 open. He had four top five finishes at the two events.
At Las Vegas, he won won of the qualifiers to advance to a main event and ended up taking fourth in the 450 4 stroke and third in the 250 B modified.
"It was my first podium in any nationals," said Harvey about his third place finish. "It was pretty cool."
Harvey didn't have as much luck last year at Loretta Lynn's. With poor starting positions, he struggled to finish his races and sustained a broken wrist. "It was really a great experience," Harvey said. "I was glad I went."
"I just want to finish up this time," Harvey also said about this year at Loretta Lynn's. "Top five would be pretty good.
"I think I can do better, but I'll hope for top five. Just to finish will be pretty cool."
If Harvey has a top five finish at Loretta Lynn's, he'll have to turn pro. When asked if he'll eventually turn pro, Harvey matter-of-factly said, "We'll turn pro after Loretta's."