WASHOUGAL — It was a painful and lucky break.
When 13-year-old Antonio Atiyoot broke his foot on a motocross track in his native Thailand, he never dreamed the injury would allow him to ride in the United States just eight months later.
Yet, there was Atiyoot launching off the jumps this week at Washougal Motocross Park.
Saturday’s Washougal MX National has brought hundreds of pro and amateur riders to Clark County. Each has a unique story that has led them to Washougal.
But few can match Atiyoot’s for its improbability.
Motocross is an emerging sport in Thailand. Atiyoot is a two-time national champion for his age and is coached by Chaiyan Romphan, a top-ranked Asian rider in the 250cc class.
But the sport has its perils. Atiyoot broke his foot while riding in December.
How could an injury open a door of opportunity? Enter Mel McCormick.
The Cle Elum resident has remained involved in the sport since he began racing in the 1980s. But McCormick was purely on a sightseeing trip when he visited Thailand over the New Year holiday.
A friend had offered a place to stay. One night, that friend asked if they could pay someone a visit.