Burns earns scholarship

JUNIOR dirt track motorbike racer Brandon Burns was awarded the Griffith Leagues Club Junior Sporting Scholarship Award for 2013 to rev up his promising career.

The eight-year-old speed-demon, who has been clocked at 98.7km/h, impressed at every competition last year and will tip his $1000 winnings into upgrades to his motorcycle to keep his momentum going.

In the 2013 under-9 competitions Brandon entered he took second place at the Victorian Titles, 12th at the Australian Junior Dirt Track Championship, 13th at the Australian Junior Long Track Championships and ranked fourth in the Riverina Interclub Challenge after starting the year ninth.

Amongst upgrades to Brandon's riding gear and his bike's pistons, the youngster will use a portion of his stipend for lessons from Australian Dirt Bike Champion Paul Caslick and three-time Speedway Champion Jason Crump.

Brandon said he had been looking forward to the lessons since July.

"It's really hard to slide and I want to learn and Paul Caslick and Jason Crump are very good at it," Brandon said.

"I've been riding motorbikes for a year, but I wasn't so good when I first started, but I was riding my motorbike every day and I have had lots of practice and have become very good.

"I want to win the Australian Title and ride motorbikes for the rest of my life because I love competing against other people and going fast."

Brandon's mother Michelle, who tells her son to ride his motorbike like he stole it before every race, said Brandon lives and breathes riding.

"Of course you worry because a lot of these boys are very little but it makes you smile when you can see the excitement in their face this is what he lives for," Mrs Burns said.

"He's been riding competitively since April last year when I decided he was big enough and now he's on the bike every day.

"A lot of the money will go towards getting his suspension for his KTM85CC, the bike he can start riding from July when he turns nine, as well as the coaching.

"Any child that gets a placing in the competitions Brandon goes to will always thank Paul Casslick, he obviously has such a natural knack for teaching the kids and we're excited for Brandon to get some time with him."

Mrs Burns said she had learned not to worry herself with Brandon's safety after he demonstrated he was in control of his bike.

"He's in control of the machine and if he's not comfortable with something he knows to back off," she said.

"He's come off twice at practice days and they've been big tumbles but he's got straight back up.

"He has the Rolls-Royce of protective gear including back and neck braces, which has only been improved since we got the 2014 kit with some of the winnings."

Chairman of the Leagues Club Sports Committee Joe Sergi said the field of candidates was very impressive but Brandon got the nod for his stellar 2013.

"He's rated above his age in his sport which makes him a good contender and he looks like being a rider of the future," Mr Sergi said.

"It was a hard decision for the committee to pick one winner from five very strong applicants, but Brandon is certainly deserving of the award.

"Hopefully the rest of the applicants apply next year because they were all up and coming in their respective sports."

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