Grade 9 student Alex Gatt has been riding dirtbikes since he was three, and now he’s taking his motocross racing to the next level at the Future West Motocross in Chilliwack on Nov. 23 and 24.
“The last couple years, I’ve been on medium-sized bikes and I think every year I’ve been on the podium (after each race). My most important competitions (before this) were the B.C. Championships, I got second in those last year and the year before,” said Gatt, 14. “I’ve been doing the South Series which are small championships, which are good to put on your rider’s resume. I won the B.C. Championship and the Supermini this year.”
Aside from placing well in these competitions, Gatt has also been noted as an admirable racer with his acceptance of a good sportsmanship award which will “pay for him to compete next year in the series.”
Gatt said this competition in Chilliwack is different than what he’s used to because the series’ tracks are “pretty tight.” Switching to a bigger-sized bike, he feels confident he’ll do well at this arena, which he noted is the largest motocross venue in the province.
“I’ve never really liked the take-out mentality, (in this series) you’re kind of forced to take other riders out, and I try and stay clean,” said Gatt. “ Arenacross is really how you get your name out there. And this past year I’ve had a good year and have become more aggressive so I think I’ll do well.”
With two parents that also race motocross themselves, it is no surprise that Gatt chose to follow in their footsteps. His mother, Amanda Stewart, said she actually started to learn to ride dirtbikes at the same time her son was learning.
“My parents have always encouraged me to keep going with it, and on my third birthday my dad got me my first bike,” said Gatt. “I took it the first day I got it. My dad’s always been there, I don’t think he’s ever missed a race that I’ve been in.”
Gatt has been very committed to his sport, constantly practicing and trying to better his race times. He said if the weather is “above nine (degrees), (he’ll) be riding once or twice a week.”
“We also have our own track that we try and ride as much as we can, it’s kind of hard in the summer though once it gets hot,” said Gatt.
He also noted there are other benefits in picking up motocross, aside from winning races, such as learning mechanical skills and time management. Stewart said it’s also great bonding time for her family.
“My dad has always tried to get me to fix my bike — I’m not a huge fan of mechanics but I can definitely do anything I need to,” said Gatt. “My dad has done this his entire life, when he was starting he didn’t have as much support as I did.”
As for why he is so driven to stick with this sport?
“I just love the competition, I love getting the win — it’s kind of just the rush, you forget about everything when you’re out on the track. My mom has asked me if I like it, and that if I didn’t then we won’t do it. But I love it, I don’t have the thought in my mind of ever quitting.”
Gatt said in the future, he hopes to compete professionally in the sport. He said ideally he’d like to start competing in U.S. races as well, but noted that their cost of registration and fees is much higher.
“When you’re 16 or 17, you can start going intermediate pro-level in Canada. Usually it’s just to test your feet, but a lot of kids that are really fast can go up into that pro-level. So that’s where I’d like to be in the next couple years,” said Gatt. “So right now I’m just focusing on working hard and winning some championships.”
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