WILLIAMSTOWN - Williamstown resident Thad Duvall has been racing dirt bikes since he was 7-years-old, and has seen his share of success.
In September, Duvall's racing career will reach new heights, as he has been selected to race in the International Six Day Enduro (ISDE). The ISDE is regarded as the "Olympics of Motorcycling" and will be taking place in Saxson, Germany. Antti Kallonen, the manager for Team USA, noticed Duvall's success in the XC1 pro class and selected him for the team.
Duvall, 22, is in his fourth year racing professionally in the XC1 class and expects a big challenge at the ISDE.
Williamstown resident Thad Duvall races at the Florida Gncc back in March in the first round of the season. He’s now looking forward to competing in Germany in September.
"It's a six-day event, and there are these special tests," Duvall said. "Some of the tests, you ride as hard as you can for 15-20 minutes. Whoever has the best time wins. There are medals for each test and for the top overall finishers. It's pretty intense."
Duvall has made some very impressive accomplishments throughout his career. In 2008, he won the XC2 Pro Lights championship. Also in 2008, he was selected to participate in a race in Japan. He placed third out of over 300 people.
Duvall turned his dream of becoming pro into a reality in 2007. It wasn't always easy, but over time Duvall has developed into a force to be reckoned with on the track.
"At the amateur ranks, I was at the top of my class," Duvall said. "When I turned pro, I struggled at first. But after a few races, I realized I could hang with 'em."
Every year, Duvall races all over the East coast, and has raced in 42 states across the country. He has also been to Mexico to watch a race.
"My dad raced for 12 years in the Pro Quads," Duvall said. "I started riding when I was two and a half years-old. I kind of grew up around it. I did some fair races as a kid. It's just something I've always enjoyed."
Duvall has learned a lot from fellow rider Charlie Mullins. Duvall said Mullins is somebody that he looks up to.
"He was a lot like me," Duvall said. "He came out of the minis and struggled. He won a championship from a race I was at. I know him pretty well, and he's taught me a lot."
Earlier this year, Duvall received a letter from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin congratulating him on being selected to the ISDE.
"I went out and saw it hanging from the mailbox. At first I was like 'What did I do? I'm in serious trouble,'" Duvall laughed. "It's a cool thing for my parents. They've devoted their lives to me and racing, so they like to see that kind of stuff. To me it's not a big deal. It's cool, but I'm a humble guy."
Duvall currently needs $10,000 to cover all expenses for the ISDE, and appreciates any donations that can be made. His address is 299 Night Hawk Rd. Williamstown, WV 26187. There will be a fund raiser dinner in August at the Williamstown Legion to help support Duvall. An official date has not been determined.
Duvall is grateful for the support of Shenandoah/Off-road Champions HONDA, River Church, EP BC Bicycle, Pro Circuit, SIDI, IMS, Cycra, Factory Connection, Troy Lee Designs, and all his other sponsors.