Ride Train Race: Giving back to the community through youth development

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RTR Academy training session for the MX Inland Championships on 13 June 2022.
Front Row: Ulrich Sterley, Lourens Erasmus, Hanro Jacobs, Rayden Woolls, Tommy Whotherspoon, Cooper Harvey. [Middle:]
Hendrico Barwise, Qhamani Thu, Liam Sterley [Back:] Zoe Botha, Travis Wills, Ger-drie de Beer, Luan du Plessis, Dad Cam with youngest rider Cody Wills.
RTR Academy training session for the MX Inland Championships on 13 June 2022. Front Row: Ulrich Sterley, Lourens Erasmus, Hanro Jacobs, Rayden Woolls, Tommy Whotherspoon, Cooper Harvey. [Middle:] Hendrico Barwise, Qhamani Thu, Liam Sterley [Back:] Zoe Botha, Travis Wills, Ger-drie de Beer, Luan du Plessis, Dad Cam with youngest rider Cody Wills.
Dean Woolls

Two former motocross champions, Tony Riddell and Ryan Hunt are using their combined experience to introduce youngsters to the thrill of off-road motorcycling and motocross by offering training programmes that encourage both boys and girls to get into this exciting sport.

The pair founded Ride Train Race to give back to the sport and the motocross and off-road riding communities. Along the way, they are helping kids to have fun, stay safe, and even compete in the Inland, regional and national Championships. 

Between them, Riddell and Hunt have won multiple championships, and, with support from leading brands such as Tork Craft and Motul, they are currently focusing on helping young RTR riders achieve their own goals. 

Riddell and Hunt are committed to making the sport more inclusive, and as such, their training programmes are intended for both boys and girls aged 3 to 16, using bikes with engine capacities between 50cc and 125cc. The young riders can choose their own bike brand, and as members of RTR, they get great value from their monthly training package fees, including four training sessions per week. 

rtr academy, bikes, motorsport, young rider
Qhamani ‘Q’ Thu on the track.

To expand their reach and engage with more young riders, RTR also works with other well-known pro riders such as Hippocrates "Taki" Bogiages from the Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Team to coach some sessions at various tracks nationwide. 

In addition to receiving training, students get logistical support at races and events. The RTR offering has already attracted 80 riders with 35 actively racing - National MX, Regionals, Inland series, GXCC, Madalas, and Enduro - across South Africa. Recently, young riders from neighbouring Botswana have joined the academy choosing to travel to South Africa for training. 

Riddell and Hunt say that it is extremely rewarding to see how well their efforts to give back have been received, both by young riders and their parents. "We're excited to see our young mentees develop and progress in their riding ability," they add. 

Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean, says: "We're delighted to have the opportunity to help nurture riding enthusiasts, whether they are future world champions or weekend warriors, as well as the trainers who are making it happen.". 

Some young riders' comments illustrate what makes Ride Train Race so special. 

rtr academy, bikes, motorsport, young rider
Qhamani ‘Q’ Thu part of Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Team and student of RTR.

Katelyn Pretorius (12), currently 7th in National Cross-Country and 9th in GXCC, says: "Making friends with kids who have the same interests, improving ourselves, and motivating each other to become better riders is what I enjoy most about being part of the RTR academy." 

8-year-old Qhamani' Q' Thu, currently racing in WOMSA Inlands, MSA Regionals, and Nationals, commented: "Dirt biking needs a lot of concentration and dedication, so be brave, stay calm and enjoy the sport." 

Rayden Woolls, bikes, motorsport, young rider
Rayden Woolls out on the track

9-year-old Rayden Woolls described his best moment this year as "…being chosen to represent South Africa once again in the 2022 FIM Africa MXOAN (Motocross of African Nations) event". Rayden is currently leading the MSA Free State and MSA Northern Regions Regional Championships and placed third in the MSA National Championship.  

motorsport, young rider, zoe botha, bikes
Zoe Botha part of the Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul team and student of RTR

Zoe Jae Botha (14), a participant in the WOMSA Inlands, MSA Regionals, and Nationals, has the last word with this advice for any child wanting to take up the sport, "Start joining the racing community at a young age and don't give up when it gets hard!"

Parents who are interested in having their children join Ride Train Race may send them a direct message via their Instagram page.


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