MECHANICSVILLE — As spectators scanned the various corners and jumps at Budds Creek Motocross Park on Saturday, one kept her focus on a single rider.
From under the trees on a hill near the finish line, Kelsey Dieterman's eyes followed Alex Martin's bike around every bend. Clenching her fists and holding her breath every time he soared through the air, Dieterman's gaze never wavered.
She was nervous for Martin, her boyfriend, who never had won a race. But as he tore around the track, she began to realize he finally would. Martin crossed the finish line first in the Budds Creek National's opening 250 class moto race, followed closely by his younger brother, Jeremy.
"I've been waiting for them to both to get on the podium," Dieterman said shortly before watching the brothers embrace after the race.
Alex Martin was the only brother to finish in the top three overall after both motos concluded, but it was a special moment for the brothers nonetheless.
"We have a good relationship," Martin said. "We run, bike, ride together almost every day."
The day was a family affair for some fans, too.
Sitting around the dinner table Friday night, Robert Wagner and his daughter, Leanna, decided to attend the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event after finding out her weekend softball tournament had been canceled.
Robert Wagner said he has been coming to the track for the races for the past 25 years, and he wanted to keep the tradition alive. He usually attends with a group of about 20 friends, and this time had the chance to bring his daughter for the first time.
He woke her up at 5 a.m., and the two made the three-hour drive from Waynesboro, Va., to southern Maryland. They were among thousands of motocross fans who braved rainy weather to watch the races Saturday.
"This is a sport that is family-oriented," said Daniel Rucker, who raced in the series until last year. "It's not just a father and son doing it. Mom's got to be involved because it does take a lot of your time for weekends on the road."
Saturday was the first time Rucker, 25, had watched the event from the other side of the fence since he retired. A string of concussions and joint injuries forced Rucker to give up riding professionally, but he came out to one of the tracks he grew up around to support his former competitors.
The Point of Rocks resident said Budds Creek is one of the tracks that area riders come to as a kid to watch their idols. The Southern Maryland motocross park is one of the oldest in the series.
"It's a really good track setup," Rucker said. "It's probably one of the better ones that's on the circuit because of the elevation change, the soil and the atmosphere, as far as the fan base."
Spectators said the crowd was thinner than usual because of the weather forecast, but the rain held off for the early races. Lining the fences and cluttering the hills with lawn chairs, fans watched as the 40 riders in each race zipped across the expansive track, which took more than two minutes for even the fastest riders to complete. After 30 minutes of racing, the riders had two more laps before the finish.
The track was muddy from the start and worsened as the day wore on, but the riders did their best to overcome the elements.
"We were just soaked a little bit," said Marvin Musquin, who finished first overall after winning the second 250 class moto. "It was a decent day for how the weather was going to be. It's really bad right now; we got lucky."
Shortly after Musquin finished, the steady rain turned to a downpour as a thunderstorm rolled through the area. Race officials announced the postponement of the day's final race — the second moto for the 450 class — and encouraged fans to seek cover until the storm passed.
A tornado warning and flash-flood waring were issued for the area as the worst of the storm hit Budds Creek, and after more than an hourlong delay, the 450 class riders returned to the soupy track to finish the afternoon.
"They are definitely die-hard fans," Rucker said. "We are out here in the rain and thunderstorms, and a lot of people aren't going to leave because they want to watch their guy go around in the mud and play.
"It's one of those things where I don't know if any other sport is like that. You go to a Redskins game when they are [stinking] and it's muddy and it's rainy, a lot of guys leave."