Father back to racing with son

Published 9:17 am Friday, July 6, 2012

Jeff Dodson talks to his son Tyler Dodson at the start gate of the race during the Red Bull Pro Motocross Nationals in Budds Creek, Md., June 17. -- SUBMITTED

FRANKLIN���Jeff Dodson thought he might never ride a motorcycle again.

The 37-year-old Franklin Power and Light engineer in November broke his neck and back during an accident in a training run for the upcoming Middle Atlantic Motocross Association.

“I didn’t know if I would walk again, let alone race,” the Courtland resident said. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to do it again.”

Dodson missed most of the season but was able to come back in time for a race he and his son Tyler had made a Father’s Day tradition since the 13-year-old rode his first motorcycle seven years ago.

“I was happy to be there but nervous about coming back,” Dodson said about this year’s Red Bull Pro Motocross Nationals in Budds Creek, Md.

In the duo’s only race of the season, Tyler finished fifth out of 15 competitors in his class while his father finished 15th out of 30.

“It was so fun to get back on the bike and ride with him,” Tyler said.

In 2008, the only season in which the two could afford to run the whole circuit, Tyler, at age 9, finished fourth in the points, while his father finished second overall.

Dodson, who raced professionally in a lower division of NASCAR and even owned a team until 2003, noticed the interest his son had in motorcycles around 2005. Tyler had his first motorcycle at 6.

“He didn’t know how to ride a bicycle without training wheels when I bought him a motorcycle,” Dodson said. “I taught him how to ride and he took to it.”