Motocross racing and medicine intersect Thursday when elite riders from the Hangtown Motocross Classic host about 70 young patients from UC Davis Children's Hospital for a special behind-the-scenes look at their sport.
"This is something the series has talked about for some time," said Hangtown spokesman David Plag. "About three or four of our young riders actually have been patients at that hospital, so they're very committed to trying to give back."
Located on Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, UC Davis Children's Hospital will have extra staff on hand this weekend to handle any emergencies for young riders participating in Hangtown, Plag said.
Hundreds of riders - both professional and amateur - take part in the Hangtown races at Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area near Rancho Cordova. Hangtown annually attracts more than 20,000 fans.
On Thursday, several elite riders will visit the hospital during an afternoon break from training. Then at 5 p.m., the kids and their families will get a VIP tour of the track and watch the racers practice.
Most of the top riders will particpate including Ryan Dungey, Davi Millsaps, Brett Metcalfe, Justin Brayton, Jake Weimer and Ashley Fiolek.
In particular, local star Kasie Creson of Byron wanted to participate, noted Brandon Short, spokesman for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series.
"Kasie's mother is a cancer survivor and she has an idea of what these kids and their families are going through," Short said. "She's been through a lot over the past year and she wants to be an advocate and source of support for these kids and their families.
"Every rider in the series has endured his or her own bout with adversity, be it a serious injury, illness or the challenges which face us all," he added. "Their never-give-up attitude and commitment to achieving a dream will be an inspiration to kids facing their own difficult issues."
The 44th annual Hangtown Classic will be held Saturday at Prairie City. Opening ceremonies start at 12:30 p.m. For tickets and more details, click on www.hangtownmx.com.