Taking the Lead
Avon Sixth Grader Thrives in National BMX Competitions
Writer / Heather Chastain
Photography provided by USA BMX
An 11-year-old boy is competing nationally as a bicycle motocross (BMX) racer. Sixth grader Wyatt Clark, and his family, spend most weekends travelling across the country competing.
“It consumes our life,” laughed his mom Alisha. “It’s fun though. We’d rather be racing.”
The family of four, including Wyatt’s 8-year-old brother, travel in their R.V. to the races. Wyatt has travelled to 27 states and Canada pursuing his BMX passion.
“It’s a lot of training and a lot of hard work, but I like the thrill of going fast,” Wyatt says. Even though he has been riding BMX for five years, he joined the team Race Inc. two years ago.
Wyatt even has a trainer at Marian University who helps him with his form and technique.
“We’re super lucky to have Marian here,” says his dad Jeremy. “Their collegiate team has won five National Championships in the last five years.”
Wyatt and his trainer spend most days during the week training at Major Taylor Velodrome.
A typical BMX track is 1,100-1,300 feet and racers spend less than a minute on the track. Most races are 30-45 seconds, but Wyatt says you can do more during that time on the track than you might think. “I like going through the air and jumping and pushing myself to try new stuff when I’m out there,” he says.
However, it’s not just the racing he enjoys, but the comradery of the others on his team.
“I really like socializing after the races,” Wyatt says. “Everyone camps in their R.V. We race after and ride with friends. I’ve made friends from all over the world racing.
Including a boy from Australia. He and his family came up to Avon last summer and the boys spent some time together.
Wyatt is considered an expert racer. That means he has won at least 30 races. Wyatt has won considerably more races and will maintain his expert title until he’s 18 years-old. At that point you can choose to go professional, which is what Wyatt plans to do.
“I want to go to Marian [to college] and then race in the Olympics,” he says.
Most recently, Wyatt qualified for the World’s race. He was one of 32 kids in his age group to represent the USA.
His mom says the competition is fierce out on the track, but everyone displays good sportsmanship and acts like good role models to the younger racers.
BMX racing can also be dangerous.
“He doesn’t hit the ground very often,” Jeremy says.
However, in August, a fluke accident sent Wyatt to the emergency room. He was practicing a new line he wanted to try out on the track and fell, breaking his arm. His mom says she doesn’t worry when he’s out there even though she knows the risks.
“I don’t get too concerned. I just say a little prayer,” she says.
Despite the 12-week setback, Wyatt says he can’t wait to get back on his bike and get back to gym class.
“At his four-week checkup when they put him in a shorter cast, he asked the doctor for a release note to run the mile at school. She said no,” Alisha laughs.
Wyatt attends Kingsway Christian School. Along with gym class, he says he also enjoys science, math and Bible class. He hopes to one day be an E.R. physician or an engineer.