Young bike rider has a big heart

2019-11-12 06:00
Ethan Williamson won the TRP Motosport South Africa National Motocross 50cc Junior title (six to nine) last month.

Ethan Williamson won the TRP Motosport South Africa National Motocross 50cc Junior title (six to nine) last month.

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While being called Africa’s best 50cc rider might be the most prestigious title yet worn by Ethan Williamson (8), the one given to him by his two-year-old sister Reagan is by far the cutest: Beep-Beep.

In September, Ethan won two out of his three rounds while competing in the Federation International Motorcycle (FIM) of Africa Nations held at the Donnybrook racetrack in Harare, Zimbabwe – taking the overall win for the day.

On Saturday 26 October, the United Herzlia School learner walked away with the TRP Motosport South Africa (MSA) National Motocross 50cc Junior title (six to nine years) at Terra Topia in Johannesburg. A week later, he earned his Western Province colours after winning both heats in the Western Cape Regional Championship held at his home track at Zone 7 in Cape Town.

Quite a track record for someone who has only raced for two years. But Ethan says he couldn’t have done it without the support of his family: his parents, Warren and Calista, and his two siblings, Reagan and Oliver (4).

“They travel around the country to be with me. I have put in a lot of time with my Dad helping me. Finally the hard work has worked,” he says.

According to Calista, Ethan has a knack for riding anything with two wheels. “He rode a peddle bike when he was two and a half. After seeing his dad watch motocross on TV, Ethan begged him for a bike.”

Following six months of solid pleading, Ethan got his first motorcycle for his fifth birthday. In motocross, however, natural talent will only take you so far. He practices two to three times a week at Zone 7 where he is coached predominantly by his father.

“Ethan is very driven and competitive. He wants to win and he wants to learn the correct technique.

“But we feel he is still a young kid who needs to do kid things, so we encourage him to play soccer, cricket, and the drums. He also loves his trials bicycle and mountain bike,” says Warren.

When competing in motocross competitions, Ethan rides a KTM sx 50cc – a modified 50cc motocross bike which runs on auto clutch – and is fully kitted out in Leatt Protectives safety gear.

“Motocross is an extremely dangerous sport and I sometimes struggle to watch him race. As parents, we are very strict when it comes to safety,” says Calista.

Next year Ethan wants to focus on honing his skills as he moves into the 65cc class. He hopes to finish in the top eight nationally with the view to compete in the championship the following year.

His dream is to one day ride for Red Bull KTM, both locally and internationally.

“In the short-term, I would like to represent South Africa at the World Championships in 2021/2022 and then race the European Championship before turning professional,” Ethan says.

Although delighted with his achievements, his parents say they are even prouder of the young man he is growing up to be.

“Ethan is very gracious in defeat and humble in victory. He spends a lot of time talking and encouraging the young riders entering the sport,” says Calista.

V Follow Ethan’s race progress on Instagram, ethan171williamson.

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