Riders with a cause: BMX track raises $1,000 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Riders with a cause: BMX track raises $1,000

Gary Kank

With a full moon shining down from the heavens Tuesday, hoards of BMX riders turned out at the South Tahoe BMX track to ride for a great cause in the first Mike Hart Memorial Full Moon Madness.

“We planned the event as a full moon race because that’s what Mike’s personality was like,” South Tahoe BMX founder Lauren Thomaselli said. “(Last) night’s race was a reflection of his spirit and his legacy.”

Hart, a South Tahoe BMX pioneer, lost his bout with cancer in 1999.

“I knew if and when we got a track here in Tahoe, I’d hold this event,” Thomaselli said. “It’s been a vision of mine since he passed.”

Thomaselli’s vision produced awesome results Tuesday as 85 riders of all ages and walks of life converged on the track for a night of racing, remembrance and raising funds.

The night was highlighted by a few events that Thomaselli deemed as Mike Hart-oriented, a “big air” jumping contest and a mountain-cross event that featured riders racing the course on mountain bikes.

The vibrant night also saw Hart’s kids ride the ceremonial first lap of the night in honor of their father.

“You could tell Mike’s spirit was present,” Thomaselli said. “The energy was so high.”

With help from title sponsor Laine Photo Labs and United Rentals, which donated the portable lights, all the money collected from the $10 entry fee was able to go to the newly created South Lake Tahoe BMX Scholarship Fund.

“We definitely exceeded our goal,” Thomaselli said. “With a few added contributions we were able to raise more than $1,000.”

The money raised will be placed into an account at Bank of America and will go toward helping kids who don’t have the opportunity to get involved with BMX because of financial reasons.

“The money will help kids get memberships and equipment,” Thomaselli said. “We can now easily eliminate the chance of someone not participating because of financial reasons.”

The the first wave of scholarship recipients will be awarded in the Spring of 2002.

Thomaselli said they will look to target two potential groups, those without financial means and at-risk youth.

“There are some kids out there that have maybe made some bad decisions that could really benefit from a sport like BMX that’s positive and will not only keep their interest, but keep them occupied,” she said.

With the full moon race featuring competitive heats in all divisions, not only was it a good night on the track, but the kids all felt good about why they were racing.

“It was a good night all around,” Thomaselli said. “The kids realized they could go out and play and also benefit others at the same time.”

For race results, see Scoreboard on Page 2B.

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