If you’re a competitive athlete from northern B.C., long road trips come with the territory. Sometimes the trip back is short, sometimes it’s long. It usually depends on how the athlete does.
Local motocross racer Lyndon Patenaude made two round trips to Washington State in a matter of days, one with a long and one with a short return trip. And, to top it off, Lyndon is only six years old.
Lyndon had made the trip to Washington State originally to practice his favourite sport, given that there is lots of snow up here still. There happened to be a race at the same time, so he entered that and beat 18 other competitors in his age category, four to six years old, to place first.
He then raced in the seven years old to nine years old class and finished 13th overall, which included a top-10 finish in the age category and 15th in the open.
Lyndon had a good weekend, packed everything up, and came back to Prince George. He wasn’t back in town for very long when his father, Trevor, got a call from some of the race organizers in Washington.
“They say ‘your kid ran really good, he should come back and try and qualify for the Loretta Lynn’s,’” says Trevor.
The Loretta Lynn’s is one of the premier amateur motocross championships in North America and it is held every year at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Tennessee. That meant for some scrambling as Trevor managed to get Lyndon his American Motorcycle Association and his international racing licence within three days.
But there was a hiccup. Lyndon’s regular bike was too big. The American Motorcycle Association doesn’t let kids in the four to six years old category race with the full size 50cc motorbikes, which is what Lyndon regularly rides.
However, he managed to borrow a KTM 50 mini, which does qualify, and Lyndon headed back to Washington State.
Lyndon got off to a good start in the qualifying race and was leading when his bike died. Mechanics tried to get it going for him, but to no avail, so Lyndon didn’t finish the race and didn’t qualify for the Loretta Lynn races.
“It was a bit of tough pill to swallow,” says Lyndon. “But that’s motocross. Sometimes things just don’t go your way.”
Next up for Lyndon is the South Series in Kamloops April 7-8. That will be a warm up for the North Series race April 28 in Quesnel, where he will defend his title.
Lyndon says training with his father, who used to ride motocross until an injury sidelined him last year, is fun, but hard. His favourite part of motocross racing?
“Being on the starting gates with my friends and racing,” he says.
And, in case you think motocross takes up a lot of Lyndon’s time, which it does, in the winter he also plays hockey, takes power skating, gymnastics, and tae kwon-do, and a shooting clinic.
Lyndon is also one of 10 local athletes sponsored by the Brink Group of Companies.
“I’m just proud being part of his team,” says John Brink of the Brink Group of Companies. “He’s doing major competitions on an international level. It shows that anything is possible.”
Brink says Lyndon is already a success story at seven years old.
“Can you imagine where this will take him,” he says. “He is an inspiration for others.”
Brink said he is “absolutely blown away” with the number of gifted athletes in the community. Until the company started its sponsorship program and seeking out athletes, Brink says he had no idea how many athletes from Prince George compete on provincial, national and international levels.
“We’ll continue to keep finding them and supporting them” he says.