Growing up in Parkton, 2014 Hereford High graduate Trevor Betsill played all the recreational sports of football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse and ice hockey, but when he got to high school, it was wrestling that he chose to compete in for the Bulls.
He had an ulterior motive for that decision.
He wanted to get stronger and build stamina for his true passion — motocross racing.
“It’s great training and I love wrestling,” said Betsill, who wrestled his first two years on junior varsity and his junior year on varsity.
His senior year on the mat ended when he broke his shoulder while practicing on his own bike.
“He needed some emergency surgery and needed a mental plate in shoulder,” said his mom, Dani Betsill.
The injury temporarily shattered his quest to join the United States Marine Corps.
“His goal was to be a Marine since he was 5 years old,” Dani said. “Senior year, he started talking to a recruiter and he submitted and they rejected it the first time in because of the injury to the shoulder. Now, we are in an appeal process to that. We are hoping in the fall with the letter from the surgeon saying he is OK, with no restrictions, that they think he should be able to get in.”
Injuries on the bike are one of the reasons his mom became a part-time emergency medical technician.
“It’s not just my kids that get hurt,” she said. “It’s any kid and they don’t always have a lot of help. I run out there on the track when somebody gets hurt. They get worried when I run out there.”
Trevor takes his broken bones as part of the consequences of a tough sport and even has a competition with his brother Blake, a 2012 Hereford graduate for the most broken bones.
Trevor leads Blake, 11-10, but he’s more excited about winning races and competing in as many as possible.
“We just call him the Energizer Bunny,” said his mom, noting he won two championships last season in the 250 B Class and 450 B Class and captured five race titles.
The 250 bike is lighter and easier to handle while the 450 has more power and is heavier.
Betsill usually races both classes at his races and he normally races three out of four weekends a month from March through October.
“He races two motos for each class and he usually races three classes so he races six times,” said his mom. “Some of his races, he finishes, and he goes right back into staging for the next race, then you go into the gate and you race again.”
His dad, Brett, is his mechanic, in case he encounters any problems with the bike.
“He trained himself to do that,” Betsill said.
When he’s not fixing bikes, his dad is an electrical engineer for Microcom Design Inc. where Betsill has worked since he was 16.
Unlike some of the riders, who have many sponsors, Betsill has a few in Action Motor Sports, 100% Goggles, Answer Gear and Gunpowder Racing, the latter being family and extended family who donate to his cause.
“It gets pricey,” said his mom.
But Betsill took some of the pressure off his parents with his graduation present request.
“For graduation, he got new mufflers ... I mean, exhaust, I always say the wrong thing,” his mother said.
“They have a lot more top-end power,” Betsill said.
Betsill started riding at 6, following brothers Blake and 2010 Hereford High graduate Harrison.
He had his first competitive race at 13 and has been advancing upwards ever since.
“It was just something cool,” he said. It was just something about riding dirt bikes. It was just an adrenaline rush. There is nothing like it. I played football, lacrosse, soccer, baseball when I was a kid.”
In fact, his dad was the commissioner in the Hereford recreation football program.
But Betsill gave up football and lacrosse for wrestling and motocross in high school.
He also gave up a lot of his weekend social life, which he admitted was the toughest part of being a rider who has to travel to tracks that are often an hour or more ride away from his home.
“Friday afternoon, I would get home, come to the barn and start doing work, load up and wouldn’t see anybody til Monday at school,” said Betsill, noting the closest track was 35 minutes away in Hanover.
His mom and dad usually travel with him in a trailer with a big tent to the races that are mostly held on Sunday after Saturday practices.
The physical challenge of riding is something he conquers on a weekly basis.
“Most people think you are just sitting on a bike and you just throttle, but I can barely go out right now and do a 20-minute moto as hard as I can, but I could go out and run six or seven miles, no problem, or go ride a bike 12-15 miles, no problem,” he said.
Another challenge for the riders, there are usually about 40 at the starting gate for each race, is the mental one.
“It’s really mental,” he said. ‘It’s just you versus 39 other riders and having that mental attitude, that I know I can beat these kids. You always compare yourself to other people.”
He started racing in Class C, which is for newer riders, but advanced to Class B after the 2012 season.
He’s on pace to advance to Class A based on cumulative points this season.
He needs 16 points total and currently has 13.5 points, including a win in a Mason Dixon Riding Association race in Seaford, Del., in early June.
Moving up in class is another goal.
“I would love to, but there are guys who are just so talented and go that much faster,” he said.
Beyond that, does he have pro aspirations?
“Traveling the country racing dirt bikes would be the dream, but I don’t see it happening. That would be cool though,” he said.
For now, he just going to enjoy the ride because he certainly has the itch for it all the time.
“He wakes up with it and goes to bed with it,” his mom said.