Young riders get a leg up to big time Piron­gia whiz kid Ja­cob Beat­tie rides in front of thou­sands

Te Awamutu Courier - - News - BY COLIN THORSEN and ANDY McGECHAN

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.

Photo / Andy McGechan, Bike­sportNZ.com

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.

Photo / Sup­plied

Piron­gia’s Ja­cob Beat­tie pic­tured par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Kiwi Kids ex­hi­bi­tion race at Mt Smart Sta­dium on Satur­day night.

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