Hewitt native to compete for the 343 in Supercross

Kara Yorio The Record

There will be a special homecoming and meaningful tribute for Supercross rookie Luke Renzland this weekend.

“I’m very excited to come home,” the 20-year-old Hewitt native said. “I’m going to be able to see my family, all of my cousins, aunts and uncles. Besides from that, growing up in that local community, there’s going to be hundreds of people from my school and from my local area that I grew up racing. I’m going to get to see all these faces I haven’t seen in years. I’m definitely looking forward to going to the hometown and seeing all my old friends.”

Hewitt's Luke Renzland wears No. 343 to honor 9/11's fallen firefighters. Photo Ryne Swanberg

Hewitt’s Luke Renzland wears No. 343 to honor 9/11’s fallen firefighters. Photo Ryne Swanberg

He is also looking forward to competing in North Jersey wearing his chosen race number.

“A special part of the race for me is that I’m running No. 343 to represent the 343 fallen firefighters in the 9/11 tragedy,” said Renzland, who was in elementary school in 2001. “So it’s going to be pretty special to run that number up there and be able to support the family and friends that suffered from those events on 9/11.”

It is the number he has worn since turning pro last year. In Supercross, riders earn the single and double digit numbers based on points earned the season before. As a rookie, Renzland had to pick a three-digit number to begin his career.

“My first choice was to go with 343 to represent firefighters from 9/11 and tip my hat to all the heroes from the country and be able to support everyone who lost friends on that day,” said Renzland, who didn’t lose a family member or friend in the terror attacks but saw the impact regularly while living in North Jersey.

“Just walking down the street, you’ll see someone every day that was affected by 9/11,” he said.

Renzland moved to Florida at 18 for training purposes, but his family still lives in Hewitt.

During the competition, Renzland won’t hear the cheering, though, or much of anything else despite the incredible level of noise and apparent chaos of the event.

“There’s so much going on in your head, you really don’t focus on all the noise and all the calamity going on around you,” he said. “It’s just you and your own thoughts basically.

Renzland made his Monster Energy/AMA Supercross debut in February at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He is ranked 13th overall in the season points standings going into the second annual Supercross at MetLife Stadium.

The sport is more than riding around on some dirt, according to Renzland.

“It takes a ton of focus and a ton of fitness,” he said. “It’s one of the most physically demanding sports, that’s the thing a lot of people don’t understand. They think you’re just sitting on a bike just twisting the throttle like driving a car, but it’s the complete opposite.”

Each race may seem short at 10 to 20 minutes, but it is an intense 10 to 20 minutes, he said.

“Your heart rate is basically maxed out the entire time,” Renzland said. “So picture yourself getting on a treadmill in the gym, ramping it up to the fastest you could possibly run and keeping that going for 20 minutes. That’s what we have to go through on the bike every day, so fitness is a huge key to the sport, and it’s a seven-day-a-week job.”

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