From serious orthopedic traction to serious motorcycle traction

From serious orthopedic traction to serious motorcycle tractionBruce Auld, a former Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent, is writing the history of Burroughs High School. The articles that are being published are excerpts from his upcoming book, exclusive to The News Review. A son of Ridgecrest, born and raised, Nick Burson graduated from Burroughs in 2003. Nick and wife Maddy were featured on “House Hunter,” documenting their search for their first home together in Ridgecrest, once again, putting Ridgecrest “on the map”. Nick attended Cerro Coso twice, first in pre-school and after graduating from Burroughs as a college student. Nick participated in numerous IWV youth sports programs, despite a broken femur that would sideline most riders, Nick was destined to ride.

Nick first raced a motorcycle at age four at the fairgrounds. It had training wheels. By fifth grade (age ten), Nick won a series of races in Lancaster. Each win earned him a ticket for a drawing for a new motorcycle. He won it! Already a pro rider in middle school, Nick had several sponsors for gear and parts.

Attending James Monroe Middle School, he took an after-school ride on a path previously familiar to him, yet altered by a recent heavy rain. A fractured femur took Nick to Loma Linda Medical Center for three weeks of traction, followed by eight weeks at home in a full body cast. Sierra Sands allowed Mom, Alison, to work from home during Nick’s convalescence, thanks to a forward-thinking superintendent.

Most desert racers start as a motocross competitor, as did Nick, later advancing to desert racing. Nick has garnered a “man cave” full of trophies:

•Seven United States Desert Racer Championships

•Seven District 37 Championships

•Two District 37 Big Six Grand Prix Championships

•Tecate Hare Scrambles Championship

•Laughlin Hare Scrambles Championship

•Elsinore Harvey Musquin Grand Prix Championship

•Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada Best in the Desert Championship

In the 80-year history of District 37 racing, Nick ranks second in races finished

Nick travelled by road to Argentina, representing the United States in the International Six Day Enduro.

For years, Dad Dave Burson was Nick’s pit crew and chief mechanic. Dave was himself was a motorcycle enthusiast, enjoying hundreds of “take your son to work days.” In 2012, Nick was privileged to be signed by the Ron Purvines Race team. Then he had a pit crew, mechanic and boss that supported him in living his dream as a professional desert motorcycle racer, fulltime. And when Nick won races, bonuses came. Nick remains part of the Ron Purvine racing family. (Alison Burson)

I interviewed Nick on November 5, 2021 and asked him to describe the difference between riding Baja and the Las Vegas to Reno. He said, “There are a lot of differences, but some similarities to racing Vegas to Reno and Baja. At Baja you get to pre-run the course and spend time practicing what you are going to race. At Vegas to Reno, you are not allowed to pre-run. That is the main difference. The race terrain is very similar. Both are very long races and a true test to man and machine.” I think the Baja Burros would agree with Nick that, racing dirt bikes will teach you a lot about yourself, when you are out in middle of nowhere and adversity strikes you, you have no options but to figure it out and overcome it.”

Nick married the love of his life, Madelynn Forrest, previously of Rancho Cucamonga in November 2015. In January 2019, the family doubled with twin boys, Brody David and Bryce Jarred. Nick continues to ride and race, but no longer on the circuit. He has been a product consultant for the Kawasaki and Husqvarna motorsport lines.

Nick was a frequent motivational guest speaker on SSUSD middle school campuses, doing demonstrations, talking about nutrition, training techniques, safety and much more.

Nick works as a Test Management Specialist on the China Lake desert ranges. I wonder how he gets to work and what routes he thinks are best.

To my knowledge, I have only known three world class desert racers. All are fine and gracious gentlemen. Derrick, Kem and Nick.

I was curious about how the mothers felt about their son’s desert racing. Here is Nick’s Mom, Alison’s assessment,“It’s a crazy sport. Motocross is much more fun to watch, because you can see them on a track. In desert racing, they leave and you know based on their skill level about when to expect them back. And then you wait. When they don’t come back, the anxiety level increases ten-fold. Most of the time it was a bike failure, however, there are few times that isn’t the case. It can be nerve racking. The starts are ridiculous. Exciting, but mostly you can see nothing but dust!” Next: A different, but no less challenging elite bike riding competition and a national champion.

Courtesy Photo: Nick Burson on one of many championship rides.

Story First Published: 2021-11-19