The sound of engines revving as dirt bikes run up and down the hills is the first sign of The Sand Track.
This spot, 3 miles south of Manhattan, is a regional mecca for motocross fanatics.
The private track on Moehlman Road, managed by motocross rider and Manhattan resident Matt Ransom, attracts people near and far.
“Matt is the guy. He’s done really cool things with this place,” said Kevin Rogosch, rider of two years and Manhattan resident.
Rogosch is one of the track regulars and typically rides with his two sons. He rode with one of his sons, 8-year-old Logan, on Saturday morning.
Rogosch said motocross provides a bond for him and his sons that’s unmatched.
“It’s one of the things that I love about it,” he said. “Looking forward to going out weekend after weekend with the kids. It gives you something to look forward to. It’s one of the awesomest parts about it, travel the state as a family.”
The Rogosch family participates in the Kansas Motocross Championship Series, which has races in Topeka, Great Bend and Winfield, among other towns.
Ransom competes in races when he’s not maintaining the track, which he’s managed for almost three years.
“It’s kind of weird, but I enjoy building the track almost more sometimes than I like riding,” he said. “So building something new, trying it is always fun for the first time.”
In addition to a motocross courtse that has a few hills, The Sand Track offers a flat turn track for riders. The track does not host races as it is a practice track, Ransom said.
The Sand Track offers yearly and family memberships as well as day passes.
“We can tell you how that all works,” he said.
Ransom has been a part of the motocross world for 10 years. Originally from Easton, he moved to Manhattan to attend Kansas State University in 2009.
“My family had a farm all my life,” he said. “I had ATVs. I came to college, and ... didn’t have room for an ATV, so I ended up started riding bikes.”
While in school studying mechanical engineering, Ransom started working at Motorcycle Supply part-time. He decided to pursue a full-time job with the company, at 620 Fort Riley Blvd., instead of completing his degree, he said. He’s worked there for 10 years.
“Motorcycles are my passion,” Ransom said.
Ransom said he hosts an event every year at the track for riders to get together and spend time while participating in the sport.
This year, he hopes to host one in mid-June.
The motocross season lasts typically from May to late fall, Ransom said.
“But nice thing is out here, you know, if you get a nice 50-degree weather day, or 60 degrees, come out, and ride whenever,” he said.
Since the temperature was in the 50s on Saturday, Joel Lacer, who lives near Alma, decided to make the short trek over to ride.
Like Rogosch, Lacer rides with his two sons — Camlin and Dexter — often. He rode solo on Saturday, but Camlin watched his dad.
“It’s good fun,” Lacer said. “Meet a lot of neat people, especially going all over when you’re racing. You’re going all over the country. You meet people that you wouldn’t have had a chance to meet.”
For Lacer, motocross is a tradition that’s loved by three generations in his family. Lacer’s father rode and got him into the sport.
“For me, growing up, it kept me out of trouble. My dad would use it for leverage to keep good grades and stay out of trouble and all that,” he said.
Lacer then shared motocross with his sons, who enjoy the sport, too.
“Just bring our kids out here, keep them out of trouble on the track,” he said.
If interested in riding at The Sand Track, people can contact Ransom on The Sand Track’s Facebook page.