SNOWSHOE, W.Va. — Racing is a family affair for the Brown family, and Rachel, 17, proved it by receiving a diploma from Grand National Cross Country Racing.
Brown, a South Stokes graduate, traveled with her brother and father to the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort here on June 25 for a cross country racing competition and walked away with an accomplishment of her own, a Grand National Cross Country Racing diploma.
According to Brown, the diploma stands for team work and family values, adding that it symbolizes the translation of the perseverance that one has to exhibit during racing over to one’s everyday life.
Brown said that the diplomas were earned from a wide range of ages, from kindergarten through college; in addition, recipients either had to be racers themselves or have a family member who is a racer.
Brown herself isn’t a racer; however her father is a longtime racer, as well as her 13-year-old brother, Adam, who races on 85cc and 125cc motorbikes.
Both her father and brother competed in the race at Snowshoe Mountain, with her brother beating out a large pack of competitors to win the trail rider category for ages 7 to 15.
“It’s a huge honor to even compete in the race, so it’s crazy that he placed first,” Brown said of her brother’s accomplishment.
Brown said that her father attempted to complete the race, but was unable to due to the treacherous conditions of the track, which included going through woods, farm land and ski slopes.
Brown explained that due to the fact that she was receiving a diploma, she was able to stand alongside her brother when he accepted his first place honor at the podium. Brown added that this is the second year in a row that her brother has won the race, but she was unable to be in attendance last year.
“It was nice to see the glow on his face and say that his sister was at the podium with him,” Brown said of her brother’s reaction to her diploma.
Aside from being by her brother’s side when he accepted his first place honor, Brown plays an active part in her brother’s success by pulling double duty as both a pit crew member and his biggest fan.
“We’re not the brother and sister that fights all the time, we’re four years apart so we get to see each other grow,” Brown said of the dynamics of her relationship with her brother.
Brown explained that she rides alongside her brother on a bike and points out the best routes to take, carries spare parts, tools and even videos the race so that he can review his performance to analyze ways that he could improve his racing.
As for life after accepting her diploma, Brown is set to attend N.C. State University, majoring in agriculture technology and business.
Since Adam is only 13 and plans to keep racing, Rachel says she expects to stay close to the track.
“I plan to be around with Grand National Cross Country Racing for a while,” Brown said.