Jack Roach, 13, pictured with two awards he recently won in motorcycle racing. The youngster is raising money to sponsor future competitions. (Aaron Hinks photo)

South Surrey teen competitive on the track

Jack Roach, 13, making a name for himself in motorcycle racing

Despite being just 13 years old, Jack Roach is making a name for himself on the North American stage, racing around corners in a motorcycle that has the ability to exceed 170 km/h.

“My favourite part is going fast,” the young thrill-seeker told Peace Arch News last week.

Roach learned how to ride a motorcycle last August. At first, he struggled with changing gears, but now the youngster is smashing the competition and is ranked in the top three – for his age group – in North America.

The Roach family just returned from Atwater, Calif., where Roach finished first in the KAYO MiniHP MR125 Championship – a four-round series that began earlier this year. It was the family’s fifth trip to California for racing, and Roach has always come back with a top-five finish.

He’ll be heading to Calgary this weekend, and two weeks after that, he’ll return to the Golden State to race at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park in Rosamond.

His father, John Roach – a former professional racer in the United Kingdom – said he’s talked to two athletes who have raced the Willow Springs track and each offered the same piece of advice if a fall is inevitable.

“Let go of the bike because it could drag you off a side of a cliff,” John said.

“It’s going to be fun,” Roach quipped, adding that he will not let go of his bike because he’s not going to fall.

Roach said a key to his early success is “being like a sponge.”

“Get all advice from all people. Just take it in and you either take things in, or sometimes they give you the wrong advice and you say, ‘No, I’m good thanks.’”

Roach first found inspiration to give the sport a try after a visit to Europe.

“I was in England with my mum and I saw a bunch of bikes go by and I really wanted to try that. And then we went to Austria and there was a big valley and you could hear the bikes ripping down the valley. It sounded so nice, I would really love to do that.”

John said the sport is expensive; the fuel to travel to the competitions costs the family thousands of dollars.

To help with costs associated with this summer’s events, the Roach family will host a burger and beer fundraiser this Saturday (July 8) at Townhall Public House (3140 King George Blvd.), from 5-10 p.m.

Roach will have an awning set up in front of the restaurant and will display his bikes and achievements.

“South Surrey hasn’t seen a sport like this,” his dad said, adding those interested in learning more about the sport are welcome to attend.

Tickets ($20) can be purchased at the door, or arrangements can be made by emailing knightsbridgeinc@shaw.ca

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