The long line of motocross bikes and riders that snaked through Polk County Wednesday evening offered testament to the lives impacted by Clayton Sain.
Friends and family, all gathered to remember a life lost too soon.
The Tryon teen-ager died Tuesday from injuries suffered in a accident Saturday at Muddy Creek Speedway in Blountville, Tenn. A regular competitor at tracks throughout the area, the 16-year-old Sain was practicing for a race when he was injured. He was transported to a nearby hospital, but never recovered.
His bike remained in Tennessee until Wednesday, when a group of Sain’s friends journeyed to retrieve it and returned it to his home, where they assembled to remember a life so well lived.
“Clayton Sain was bigger than life,” said Tisha Stott, whose son, Brilee, called Sain his best friend. “When you saw Clayton, you just smiled. Clayton never seemed to have a bad day. He never seemed to be sad.
“There aren’t enough words to describe Clayton Sain. He was just the best.”
The local motocross community is a close-knit group, bonded by their love for the sport and the hours many spend practicing together as well as traveling to and from competitions. Sain was one of several Polk County teen-agers who have been racing side-by-side for years, and many of those young men were part of that solemn procession Wednesday that eventually ended in Sain’s yard.
“Insane Sain, they all called him,” Stott said. “He was so close with all of them. He just had a big heart and a big love for life.”
And that passion touched all who knew him.
“Clayton was always smiling,” said Michaelbrooke Reid, a close friend. “He was like a brother to our friend group. His laugh was contagious.
“Anyone who met him fell in love instantly.”
Frankie Mullinax encountered Sain through his work at Creative Motorsports in Forest City. Sain frequented the shop weekly, Mullinax said, and the business often planned to attend events where Sain was competing.
“Clayton Sain was a special kid,” Mullinax said. “Great Christian values, polite, considerate and always full of life. The kid had an infectious smile and attitude that would brighten anyone’s day.
“Clayton Sain holds a special place in my heart. ”He was just a good kid.”
“He loved the Lord. He was a great believer in God,” Stott said. “Even on Clayton’s bar pad at his last race, it said ‘The Lord is my shepherd’.”
As a competitor, Sain enjoyed success. Earlier this month he earned the King of the Classic award at the Mad Skills Motocross Vurb Classic, that honor given to the rider who wins the most motos during the three-day event. A number of leading riders from across the country traveled to Simpsonville, S.C. to take part in the Classic, but Sain proved the best all-around of all.
“Talent was insanely deep, as deep as it gets,” said Jeff Simpson of Vurbmoto in a post-event vlog. “All these big names, kid coming out of nowhere, beats our hired gun. . . what more do you say?”
“He could ride a dirt bike like no other,” Stott said. “When he was on a bike, he was something fierce. He gave it everything he had. He gave life everything he had.”
Sain is survived by his parents, Jason and Carla, and five siblings, Madolyn, Olivia, Josiah, Phoebe and Andrew.
“He was just an incredible kid, and it’s a huge loss,” Stott said. “It’s a huge hole that he leaves behind.”