A YOUNGSTER from Great Sutton showcased his skills in front of thousands of fans – and rubbed shoulders with some of the best dirtbike riders in the world.
Aaron Woodward, nine, revved into action at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool for the Merseyside leg of the British Supercross Championships. Competing in the junior 65 class against riders several years older on Friday, he qualified for the final in eighth place.
He had to settle for an 11th-placed finish in Saturday’s final – but the experience of racing in front of a crowd of 3,000 is one he will never forget.
Proud dad Steve said: “We never expected him to get to the final. He went for the experience and was riding against guys much older than he was.
“The fact he qualified was a surprise, especially as he had only had three days on a brand new bike after three months off.”
Supercross is a high-speed sport which sees off-road motorcycles race on artificial tracks consisting of steep jumps and obstacles. The weekend’s two-day extravaganza attracted riders from all over the world, from youngsters like Aaron to adult world championship riders from America and Canada.
Aaron has been riding bikes since he was a toddler and Steve, himself a motocross rider, spotted a natural gift in his son.
With the support of Aaron’s mum, Wendy, Steve contacted Ellesmere Port-based professional supercross rider Lee Jones for advice – and he soon took Aaron under his wing.
“Lee has been fantastic,” said Steve. “He has taught Aaron from a young age and he says he’s never seen a lad look so smooth and naturally talented.”
Usually an outdoor motocross rider, Aaron took on some extra help before moving indoors for the supercross discipline.
“He got advice from another pro, Danny Thomas, because indoors is slower than outdoors,” said Steve. “Usually he goes round everything full-throttle and it is scary, but he always looks in control.
“But he even took to the new style of riding instantly. His final mentor was Danny Tollett, of DMC Suspension in Great Sutton.
“The advice Aaron gets from these big names in biking keeps him ahead of the game.”
At the ECHO Arena at the weekend, Aaron was able to mix with his heroes from world supercross in the paddock as he prepared his own bike, a KTM 65, for action.
Steve added: “He absolutely loved it. But it just fired him up and he wants to get to that level now. He currently rides for Red Dragons in Northwich but he wants to be the best in Ellesmere Port.”