Carson Valley has produced an extraordinary line of athletes who have made big names for themselves on motorcycles.
Dustin Miller … Matt Buyten … Adam Jones … Ty Tremaine … Mike Mason, for example, have combined to win more than a dozen medals at the X Games. And that’s just scratching the surface of the many riders who have spent countless hours riding in this corner of western Nevada.
That is just part of the motivation Robert Taylor had in mind when he retired in 2000 after more than 14 years in the U.S. Army and moved to Carson Valley. He started Testa Motorsports, which has evolved as a business and team involved in a wide range — off-road vehicles, watercraft, snowmobiles, street bikes and dirt bikes — for all ages.
Team Testa now features 44 motorsports competitors who range in age from 5 to 45. Taylor wanted to share with others the experiences he had grown up with racing quads.
“I started a business because it’s a passion of mine,” he said. “This is where I wanted to plant my feet after I retired from the military. Carson Valley is a well known for motocross … we (Robert and his wife, Jackie) love this community and we just want to participate and help out as many kids as we can.”
Mason has won four X Games Speed & Style competitions since 2012.
Team Testa has members not only from Carson Valley, but Reno, Fallon, Fernley and as far south as Bishop, Calif. The team also sponsors such pros as Kelly Bell, Chris Blose and Aaron Siminoe.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a kid who’s on a 50 beginner or Chris Blose, who rides AMA pro motocross,” Taylor said. “It’s a passion of mine. I like to help out.”
Ashleigh Trapanese, 17 and a junior at Spanish Springs High School, ranks No. 1 among women in Northern Nevada. Collin McHamey, a 17-year-old junior at Churchill County High School in Fallon, made an 80-mile trip to Minden to be photographed with his teammates.
“A lot of people underestimate this sport; it takes a lot of hard work and dedication,” said McHamey, who has a third-place finish at the Dodge Amateur Nationals to his credit. “This (Testa Motorsports) has been good support for me. The team makes it more sociable and fun.”
Among the team’s young competitors are T.J. Taylor, 14, a Carson Valley Middle School eighth grader whose goal is to race at the Loretta Lynn Motocross National Championship from July 26-Aug. 1 in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
Tovin, 11, and Declan Kahabka, 9, even donated 20 percent of the earnings this week from their Scoot It 775 sporting goods business toward the Mammoth fundraiser.
Lux Turner, 9, has been racing since age 4 and been a past qualifier for the Loretta Lynn national event. Lala Turner, 8, has been racing since she was 3 and her goal is “to be better than her brother.”
Though this may be lregarded as an individual sport, Taylor takes pride in the name — Team Testa.
“When you get to the track, we’re all a team,” he said. “We’ve got a very, very tight team. A bunch of good students, and most of them are students.”
While team includes members of all ages, when it comes to coaching, Taylor pointed out that everyone helps each other out.
“If we see something that needs to be changed,” he said. “It may be a 6-year-old telling a 10-year-old, ‘You need to go into a corner this way or that way.’ It’s just like a family.”
The Taylor family was in the Sacramento area this week for the 47th annual Hangtown Motocross Classic, which was the opening round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Thousands of spectators annually attend the event at the Prairie City OHV Park, which leads Taylor to ponder the potential of what a track could offer the local community, in addition to providing a site to ride in Carson Valley.
“A track in this area would be very beneficial to Douglas County,” he said. “If it’s done right here — this race (Hangtown) will bring in $15 to $20 million into Folsom, Calif. — a town like Gardnerville and Minden, with all the land available, it would take the county, the board of commissioners and everything to get it approved. But if they do it, it would be a huge benefit.”
No doubt, Taylor can think of no better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than to watch racing.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I live for it.”