6-year-old Levi Brace to race in motocross nationals
Brace has been racing motocross for a year and a half
At just 6 years old, Levi Brace’s life has been centered around bikes longer than he can remember. Starting with his first birthday, he began zooming around on a Strider bike, getting the feel for balancing on a bike before he could even pedal. He was also watching his father, Tom, race snow bikes during the winter at the same time and was hooked.
Now, Levi has successfully qualified for the 2021 AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship in his age group. The 40th annual event will be held at country singer Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, from Aug. 2 to 7.
“It’s been a full enjoyment, but also have a little bit of fear watching your child do some amazing things on a powered machine,” Tom said. “But it’s really been a lot of enjoyment being able to watch him accomplish the kind of goals he’s wanted to do and become a very confident person through motocross.”
The amateur event is the world’s largest amateur motocross event, and it’s been the stepping stone for several high-profile motocross racers, such as Ricky Carmichael and James “Bubba” Stewart. Tom said that Levi is most excited to race at the same event as some of his favorite motocross racers.
Levi started at the age of 2 riding an electric dirt bike with training wheels on it and worked his way up until he began racing dirt bikes last year. At nationals, he’ll be racing in the 51cc shaft drive limited class for riders between the ages of 4 and 6.
Levi and Tom sat down at the beginning of the year and discussed going to nationals as a goal for the upcoming season. But in order to get there, Levi first had to progress through area and regional qualifiers. Levi moved onto the regional qualifiers after trips to Mesquite, Nevada, and Delta, Utah, but regionals were much more stressful.
A top-four finish in regionals would have punched Levi’s ticket to Tennessee, but he came up just short, winding up in fifth place. They then headed to Fox Raceway in Pala, California, for another chance at it. Levi ended up securing a fourth-place finish over the two-day event, ensuring that he would achieve his goal of going to nationals.
“Out of the two races, they combine your score from race one and race two for your overall position, so even if you do well on race day one, race day two you still have to race well also to get a good overall position,” Tom said. “So, it can be a stressful day in between those two races to determine the overall.”
Despite the stress of whether or not Levi would qualify, Tom is proud to watch his son make his dreams a reality at just 6 years old.
“We feel completely fulfilled because it’s just watching your child achieve something that is a dream for many people, including myself in the past,” he said. “It’s really cool to see your own child be able to accomplish that at such a young age.”
But beyond nationals, Tom has also noticed a change in his son. Previously, Tom would watch his son want to be in a pack with other kids or hanging out in the back watching others when it came to activities like soccer. Now, he’s seen Levi become more confident and more outgoing ever since he started racing motocross a year and a half ago.
“It’s been really amazing to watch Levi develop his confidence, not just on a dirt bike, but in general,” Tom said. “Since he’s been doing motocross, now when he does other activities, he’s upfront, he’s taking charge. He’s really found that confidence to be upfront and kind of – I wouldn’t say be a leader, but at least be upfront and help him do other activities with his friends and classmates.”
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