MORGANTOWN — Motocross is a sport that’s been trending upward in recent years, attracting a new generation of thrill-seekers to the world of extreme sports. One such thrill-seeker is Aerian Weaver, a Morgantown native who took his love for off-road racing and is looking to turn it into a career after receiving his license to compete on the professional circuit.
What makes Weaver’s situation more unusual than for others is that his road to compete at the pro level has had more than a few bumps, but one thing is for sure: Weaver has motocross in his blood.
“I’ve been riding my whole life, and I always wanted to race. I actually didn’t get started racing until I was in high school. I was about 15,” he said. “I started racing at the lowest class and it just took off from there. I started moving up over the years, and finally to pro.”
Now 23, Weaver’s introduction into the sport came later than most riders who start very young, but his father, Randy Weaver, said he knew early on that his son had a special skill.
“When he was a little kid, he could do a hill climb riding on his back tire, he just had a natural ability,” he said. “I’ve been riding my entire life and I can’t do that kind of move on flat ground, so I knew there was something there. When he said he wanted to go professional, I told him, ‘Let’s give it a shot.’ ”
Even with the success that Weaver has had in such a short time, the journey hasn’t been without its detours. Weaver broke his femur racing at Doublin Gap Motocross Park, in Shippensburg, Pa., and put himself of out commission for four months.
“I was going through rehab and basically learning to walk again,” he said. “It was scary for a little while because my first race back was a Pro-Am at the same track I broke my leg. Honestly, after I started again, it only took me a month to get back into the swing of things.”
Weaver attributed the quick recovery to the old adage of never forgetting how to ride a bike, saying, “Once you’ve got it, you got it. You never really lose it.”
What also sets Weaver apart from many professional competitors is the financial aspect of motocross and also the limited ability to race year-round in the Northeast.
As his father explained, his son is what’s called a privateer, which means the rider is without major sponsors and, for the most part, pays his own way through the circuits. As for being positioned in West Virginia, exposure to these circuits doesn’t come without some extensive travel and races that are close to home come with not-so-accommodating winter weather.
“Living where we are, it’s hard because it’s seasonal here,” his father said. “Riders in states like Texas and California get to ride all year long. It really makes the competition that much stronger.”
For all his dedication to becoming a professional, one of the biggest moments for the young Weaver, is coming June 16, just 12 miles away.
Weaver will compete for a spot in the 42nd annual High Point National race, in Mount Morris, Pa.
A qualifying time in the opening circuit would secure a chance for Weaver to land in the winner’s circle. What a fitting tribute that would be to the Weavers on Father’s Day weekend.
Wherever he finishes, Weaver knows this opportunity couldn’t exist without the support of his father and mother, Deborah.
“They are the reason I can do this,” Weaver said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.”