In the April issue of Racer X Illustrated, we ran an interview with Mathew Dalton, whose organization, Autism MX, raises autism awareness through motocross while giving autistic kids the opportunity to ride motorcycles in a safe and controlled environment. Since then, Dalton has increased his efforts in the form of his AMX Autism Awareness Boots, which he hopes will help raise autism awareness on a national stage. We’re always happy to help spread the word when it comes to good people using motocross to support good causes, which is why we got back in touch with Dalton to learn more about his new project.
Racer X: Tell us a little bit about your organization, Autism MX.
Mathew Dalton: Autism MX is a non-profit foundation based in Temecula, CA, that focuses on Autism Awareness via motocross. AMX holds Day Camps for Autistic kids, that are designed to give Autistic kids and their families the motocross experience firsthand. Pala Raceway has been gracious enough to support us and help AMX host the day camps at their track. Autistic kids ride 50-70cc dirt bikes and quads on the pee wee tracks. We just did a camp in May and a mother cried when she saw her little boy riding all by himself. That makes it all worth it. Autistic kids, for the most part, have poor social skills and enjoy more personal activities. Motocross fits perfectly, the movement and the focus required to keep it on the track seem to be a good fit for a lot of these kids. Everyone is the same under a helmet.
I understand you’re working on a new deal to get some special boots on some athletes this summer.
Yeah, we started out with doing our own Autism MX graphic kits. I like to say our AMX bikes are rolling, roosting autism awareness billboards. From there we moved to neck brace and boot graphics. I talked to Alpinestars and we came up with the AMX Autism Awareness Boots by covering Tech 10s with our AMX puzzle piece graphics (puzzle pieces are the international symbol for autism). Alpinestars hooked us up with some tech 10s and we went from there.
The Autism MX boots.
How as it been going from there? Have you been successful?
Yeah, very successful, Matt Buyten and Ben LaMay both jumped right on board with the project! Buyten, as you know, is the defending X Games step-up gold medalist, and LaMay rides for Rock River Racing. Their Tech 10s will be covered in Autism MX Puzzle Piece Graphics, and the boots look sick! LaMay is wearing them in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series this summer and Buyten will be wearing them at X Games. Both those guys are really good guys, I can’t thank them enough. It’s huge for these guys to use their celebrity to help support autism awareness.
What is it you are trying to accomplish by getting these boots on these athletes?
It’s all about autism awareness, plain and simple. Experts estimate that 1 out of 88 children will be diagnosed with some form of autism. It occurs in boys at a higher rate. It’s a worldwide epidemic; we have ideas of what causes autism but nothing solid enough to say, ‘Here is the cause’.
Mathew Dalton pictured above.
When my son Ryan was diagnosed I had never heard the word, autism, and I had no idea what it meant, what I could do for my son or how it would affect his life. Honestly, I never thought I would say Ryan is going to go riding with his brother and dad, but I do now, and it’s a dream come true. To have both my sons riding dirt bikes with their dad is awesome! If AMX can help other families, then mission accomplished.
We can always use volunteers to help at our day camps, and the more riders we get running the Autism MX graphic kits the better. We are working on a 2012-2013 AMX day camp series right now, starting off at Barona Oaks and moving north each month. We need donations, and whatever people can do to help us out is great. Cash is king, but CRF50s or little quads are a huge help as well.
What’d we miss?
I’d like to thank Pala Raceway, FLY, One Industries, Kenda, LE MX, Alpinestars, Split Graphics, Fun Bike Center, Factory Backing, Cahuilla, Optic, A’ME Grips, Race Tech, Ride MX, Temecula Cycles, Rocket, PAX, Braking and Kal-Gard Lubricants.