Keeping the Memory Alive

Memorial race held to honor
late dirt bike racer Howard

Plans under way for 2011 event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BEDFORD, Ky. (January 2011) – In a couple of months, it will have been three years since Nick Howard died in a car accident. To remember him and keep his dream of dirt bike racing alive, his parents have established the Nick Howard Memorial Race.
Debbie Howard, Nick’s mother, said her son began riding when he was 6 years old. “We had three older children who also had dirt bikes. But Nick took off on it immediately.”

Nick Howard

Photo provided

Nick Howard, who
died in April 2008,
had ridden dirt bikes
since age 6 and was
going to make a
career out of it.

Nick had traveled all over to race “from one side of the United States to the other side,” she said. “He planned on making his career out of it.”
But that dream ended on April 9, 2008, when Nick was involved in an automobile accident with three friends. “It was during fall break and they had been riding all day. They were five miles from home,” said Debbie Howard. They were going fishing, and when the driver looked down to change the radio station, the vehicle hit a tree. Nick died immediately.
“We wanted to do something each year to remember Nick,” she said. “He was so well known in the motocross community.”
An outgoing personality with lots of friends, he “loved the sport,” said Howard. Her son won numerous awards, probably the biggest in 2002 by placing first in the National Amateur Motocross Championship held in Pontiac, Mich.
The Nick Howard Memorial Race was held Sept. 25 with 22 different classes at Nikota Motorsports Park in Bedford, Ky. Two pit bikes were given away and approximately 140 racers came from all over the country to compete. Next year’s date has already been set for Sept. 24, 2011, and the Howards are hard at work on the details.
Cleveland Howard Jr., Nick’s father, used to race a long time ago, he said. Along with his wife and another couple, Tom and Mindy Matthews IV, Cleveland Howard said the land the track sits on was “purchased for our kids to have a place to ride.”
After Howard and Matthews attended the first-ever FCA race in Indiana, the idea of establishing a track close to home seemed to be “a good idea,” said Howard. About six years ago, both couples decided to jointly purchase 50 acres to develop into a track.
For now it is a practice track, with four mud runs a year and a test-n-tune in early April. “We want to eventually establish camping grounds as well,” said Howard. “It’s a work in progress.”
When it came to dirt biking, “The sport gave 100 percent to Nick, and he gave back 150 percent.”

• For more information on the Nick Howard Memorial Race or Nikota Motor-sport Park, contact Debbie or Cleveland Howard Jr. at (502) 268-5399, (502) 525-1167 or visit www.NickotaMotorSports.com. The track will re-open, weather permitting, in March 2011.

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