Austin Watling’s motorcycle isn’t the only thing that revs up when he’s getting set for a motocross race.
“When you’re sitting at the (starting) gate, your heart is really pumping,” said the 16-year-old.
“I wear a heart monitor on my watch, and mine has reached between 200 and 210 (beats per minute). Everyone tells me mine is high.”
Watling has been riding from the age of four and is following in the footsteps of his parents, who are both motorcycle enthusiasts.
It appears the additional adrenaline he produces has benefits.
Watling had three podium finishes, including a win on a 250 cc. bike, at the Rockstar Energy Drink Amateur Motocross Nationals in Walton, Ont. in mid-August, and a third place finish earlier this season at the U.S. National Amateur Motocross Championships in Tennessee.
It was his first time at the nationals south of the border, and he was astounded by the enormity of the event, which is held on the 59-acre Loretta Lynn ranch southwest of Nashville.
“It was overwhelming to say the least,” he said. “Everyone you hear about, all the top guys, are there. It was a good experience.”
Training with Jay Thompson at the Brigden-area based MX Schools and racing this season on the new Amateur Motocross Ontario series, Watling is content with his season, which wraps up in early October at Gopher Dunes near Tillsonburg.
He’s also thankful it’s been an injury-free campaign to date. He has broken his tibia (lower leg) and femur (thighbone) as a result of spills in the past.
After attending SCITS for one semester last year, he now studies online in hopes of turning his passion into a profession.
“I’m hoping to go pro,” said Watling. “That’s my goal.”