Young riders get a leg up to big time Pirongia whiz kid Jacob Beattie rides in front of thousands
Eight-year-old Pirongia whiz kid Jacob Beattie is still on cloud nine after riding in front of 21,000 noisy fans at the inaugural S-X Open Auckland supercross.
It was an opportunity too good to miss and 10 young Kiwi riders, including Jacob, accepted the challenge on Saturday night.
Mt Smart Stadium was packed almost to capacity for the event.
While those in attendance were thrilled to be there to witness the inimitable spectacle of international supercross action, it was perhaps the youngsters who had signed up to accept the 2018 KTM Junior Supercross Challenge who expressed the most joy.
Jacob said he loved the experience of participating in the exhibition race, especially riding “over the table tops” because he loves to jump, cheered on by the appreciative crowd.
“It was a great day, despite us kids only getting the one practice in instead of two because of the weather.
“The track was full of water, so they canned the practice sessions for the night to give them time to pump off all the water. The mud was really slippery for our little bikes, with so many kids coming off in the mud. But it was a great night, and an amazing opportunity for us kids.”
Jacob said the best part of the day off his bike was meeting all the other big riders, and hanging out with all his friends watching the races.
He now wants to be a famous motocross rider when he grows up. His favourite riders at the supercross were Ronnie Mack, “cos he does funny jumps, and is fun, and Chad Reid, because he won”.
For the first time in New Zealand, KTM was able to offer the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge (KJSC), a unique opportunity for aspiring young riders to experience the life of a professional supercross rider for a day.
They were each provided with a factory-prepared KTM 50SX bike for the day, equipped with KTM PowerParts. The riders were given a KTM PowerWear Pack to keep, which included riding jersey, pants, gloves and goggles.
“Looking through images from the night, we can see everyone was really caught up in the experience and they loved every minute,” said KTM events coordinator Kyle Blunden.
“For these young riders to go out and ride on this track in front of such a large crowd is something they will no doubt remember forever.
“This KTM Junior Supercross Challenge is something that was started in the United States many years ago and even men who became senior champions, riders such as multi-time American supercross champion Ryan Dungey, have expressed just how much it meant to them when they were this age.”
Dungey is one of the many who credit KJSC for his introduction to top level supercross racing and he went on to win the US Supercross Championships as a 250cc rider in 2009, before winning the 450cc title four times for KTM, in 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He retired at the top, hanging up his helmet at the end of the 2017 season.
American KTM rider Dakota Alix won the senior SX2 (250cc) class on Saturday night, finishing ahead of fellow KTM rider Ryan Marmont, from Australia, with Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke completing the SX2 podium.
Australian Chad Reed won the SX1 class at Mt Smart Stadium, ahead of Australia’s Hayden Mellross and Scotland’s Dean Wilson.
The excitement was obvious when these young KTM riders were asked to pose for a photo at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday. Jacob Beattie (No. 10) of Pirongia is pictured centre.
Pirongia’s Jacob Beattie pictured participating in the Kiwi Kids exhibition race at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.