A 50-50 mixture of perspiration and dust has left an outline along Nathaniel (Bubsy) Tasha’s face. Every part that wasn’t covered by protective equipment, and some that were, have been dirtied by flying dust and smoke.
The 14-year-old from Falmouth leads with his left side to better hear the question thrown his way. It’s tough to hear over the screaming motorcyle engines that pass by at unreliable intervals.
Bubsy, who’s been called Bubsy forever and for no particular reason other than it being a nickname that stuck well as a younger kid, smiles once he clearly hears the question.
“Why do you enjoy riding motorcross so much?” is the query.
The expression that accompanies his answer would be the same that you’d expect to see on a 4-year-old when asked if he’d like to have some ice cream. The smile is big and 100 percent genuine. “I don’t know. I like adrenaline, I guess,” he says with a grin.
Tasha’s answer is one-part statement, one-part question, delivered in a way that only a teenager can. To see him ride, however, it’s clear that there’s no question that he enjoys the adrenaline. He enjoys it quite a bit, and when he’s competing anywhere in the United States, it’s clear that he’s being fed lots and lots of it.
Off to the side, while working on a leaky gasket on one of his son’s eight motorcyles, Kabraul M. Tasha shakes his head and laughs. He knows that his son loves the rush that he gets when he’s out on one of those bikes, and if adrenaline is a drug, it’s one that his son is taking on a nearly daily basis.
The pursuit of speed is certainly more than just a hobby. Bubsy says he’d really like to join the professional ranks of motocross riders some day, but for now he’s happy to be a part-timer who rides, and competes, when it’s warm. The rest of the year his focus is on another fast-paced sport, ice hockey.
Bubsy will be attending Boston College High School next year, his first high school year, and hopes to play for the BC High freshman team. He’s played on several high level youth teams throughout his days in Falmouth Youth Hockey and spends his time that is not at the Wareham MX track during the summertime at the Falmouth Ice Arena, working out or working on game skills.
There isn’t a whole lot of time for much other than his sports right now. The 14-year-old won the championship in the Super-mini Division at the New England Classic on June 28. He’s also an alternate for the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championships, which will be held at the end of the month. In the qualifying race for the Loretta Lynn, he took ninth place in a large field, with the top seven riders earning berths. Although his son has yet to be admitted into the field, Kabraul Tasha said that Bubsy will most likely get into field, which will be competed at in Tennessee.
To get into that field he earned a spot in the qualifying rounds with a superb showing in Pennsylvania a few weeks back. He’s also had plenty of success in the past racing in off-road competitions. As a 13-year-old he took first place in the J. Day Off Road Big Wheel Championships.
“He’s been riding his whole life, and racing off and on. He used to run in the Pee Wee scrambles, and he’d clean up and win, but then he wouldn’t compete for a couple of weeks at a time. It wasn’t something he took too seriously,” Kabraul Tasha said. “Now, he’s taking it more seriously and he’s a competitor. He’s hanging with kids that have raced their whole lives.”
That competitive spirit has Bubsy wanting to get better and better, and he is. “It’s crazy, because [the competition is] all real good, and it’s tough. It’s fun, though,” Bubsy said.
The freshman-to-be has been pretty lucky on the track. Not only has he brought home plenty of trophies, but he’s remained healthy in a sport that can be dangerous. Kabraul said that his wife, Julie A. Tasha, loves to see her son compete, but has a hard time watching the races.
“I think that she likes it, but she doesn’t like watching me,” Bubsy said with a laugh.
“He’s been lucky. He’s knocked himself silly a couple of times, but nothing too serious,” Kabraul said.
With a bottle of water chugged down, and his bike refilled with petrol, it’s back out on the track to continue preparing for the next big race. His friends may be at the beach, but there’s nowhere else that the 14-year-old would rather be than winding around the track, jumping high into the air and speeding up the straightaways.
Before heading back out, he unloads a collection of dirt and sand from one of his boots. The helmet goes back on, and the motor is started. “This is the beach,” he said. “We’ve got the sand; there’s water over there (pointing at a cranberry bog); this is the beach.”