Jack Bertrand feels the need – the need for speed.
The 10-year-old Algonquin Road Public School student is soon to enter Grade 6, but has already established himself as one of his age group’s leading motocross athletes.
He’s currently competing in the 2022 Walton TransCan Grand National Championship amateur races, which began Wednesday and concludes today, followed by pro events tomorrow.
Prior to heading south to participate in Canada’s largest amateur motocross event, Bertrand and his mother, Kari, met with Sudbury.com to discuss his fledgling hobby, which has the family hitting the road to visit tracks nearly every weekend of the season.
Their mainstay is the track at Runway Park in Sault Ste. Marie, though they travel throughout the province.
Outside the family’s Estaire home, approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Sudbury, is a short motocross track the 10-year-old does laps on as practice, which he excitedly did when Sudbury.com asked to see a demonstration of his skills.
“Going fast” is the most exciting part of the sport, he said, adding that he’d previously played hockey as a goalie, but that it doesn’t carry nearly the same kind of excitement.
Bertrand got his first bike when he was two-and-a-half years old and his parents found him a bike at a yardsale, and started racing competitively when he was seven.
Although his parents are both motocross enthusiasts, he said he enjoys the sport independently of them – a point his mother affirmed by noting she and her husband/Jack’s father, Bob, might have planted the seed and given him the opportunity, but it’s Jack who drives the ambition.
This weekend’s events at the Walton Raceway, approximately 90 kilometres north of London, is the biggest event Bertrand has taken part in, with the youngster earning just one of 42 qualifying positions in his classes and age group.
“The 2022 Grand National Championship at Walton Raceway is the event every motocross racer in Canada aims to compete in,” event director Brett Lee said in a media release.
“A win at the TransCan Amateur Grand National Championship gives a rider instant National notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
Bertrand spent the last three months qualifying to compete in this weekend’s TransCan event, which welcomes top finishers in regional qualifiers throughout the country.
This is the 30th anniversary of the Walton TransCan Grand National Championship.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.